Tools of the trade

July 29, 2019
What's in the box?

Words: Joshua Fanning

Pictures: Brendan Homan

"Let me just pull up next to you"

Yellow and black mean danger in the natural world, but when the RAA van heaves into view, those same two colours are a welcome relief.

Within moments of arriving on the scene, the physician for your Fiat, the doctor for your Daihatsu – the RAA roadside service mechanic will have diagnosed the problem with your car and begun treatment.

The array of tools inside the van, both custom and generic, is dizzying. “There’s 30 years of getting people going in that tool chest,” says roadside service veteran John Heddle.

John has devised and built his own tools over three decades with the RAA, but is happy to admit a simple tap from a rubber mallet gets more cars going than anything.

A tap in the right spot might be just the thing you need to make the engine tick over; however, it’s more than 100 years of combined knowledge that makes the RAA’s tools so successful.







L: A tap on the fuel tank from a rubber mallet can get the fuel pump whirring and your car going
R: This one tool unlocks the door of one car when used the right way



L: Unique solution to a unique problem found with Commodores
R: All RAA vans carry nail polish. It can temporarily fix a crack in a ceramic distributor cap



L: 21st century tool
R: John says the RAA built most of what’s inside this blue box



L: The first tool John ever created – a spark tester
R: Benign objects come to life when you know how to use them



There's 30 years of getting people going in that tool chest
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