Anyone who’s ever broken down on the side of the road knows the many stages of emotional breakdown. There’s anger, frustration, embarrassment and disappointment. This is all followed by the realisation of how much it will cost to fix. The trick to avoiding breakdowns is to plan ahead. Understanding the biggest reasons for breakdown is the best way to avoid it. Keep on top of your regular maintenance and you’ll keep your car on the road. Here are the five most likely reasons for break downs.
By far the most common reason for breaking down is the battery. Batteries have a lifespan of two to three years. A dead battery will kill the electronics in your vehicle. This includes the starter motor meaning your car won’t kick in. This problem is most prevalent in winter. Nights are darker so you’re pushing the lights for longer. You’re also powering the heating system too. Check the charge regularly and get a car battery replacement well before it runs out. Don’t let it give out while you’re on the road.
Tyres are commonly neglected by car owners, yet their importance cannot be overstated. If you take your car off road, you’re especially at risk. Keeping your tyres at the correct pressure is vital. It helps with fuel consumption and keeps the car running efficiently. Too low, or too high and the engine has to work harder to move the car. Check it regularly. Similarly, check the tread depth, it should be around 6mm. As the wheels wear down, you are more at risk of puncture. If the worst does happen, make sure you have a spare tyre and a jack at all times. Practice changing a tyre once or twice so you know what to do.
Under the hood, a system of belts keeps the engine working. They operate cooling fans and the water pump. When a belt cracks, wears down or snaps completely, the engine is at risk of overheating. Without coolant water and fans, the engine can’t keep itself cool. Overheating is a major cause of breakdown, look for the signs ahead of time. A squealing noise is a sure sign of belt wear.
Spark plugs are a simple and easy thing to replace on your car. Yet, most motorists have never touched one in their life. They are an essential part of the ignition system, their failure will cause the engine to halt. Change them regularly or visit a garage if you’re not confident with this one.
Finally, there’s the simple problem of forgetfulness. We’ve all been there, we locked our keys inside the car or put them in a ‘safe place’. There’s no way around this one, call your dealer and fork out for a new one. Running out of fuel is easy to do as well. Cars do have a reserve tank but it won’t go for long. Get into the habit of fueling up when you hit a quarter tank.
Now that you know the signs, you can avoid 90% of all breakdowns. The trick is regular home maintenance. It’s nothing more difficult than checking the oil and fluids. Keep an eye on the battery, the tyres and the brakes. Finally, keep your keys safe and remember to fuel up!
Suhail is a journalist who loves everything about technology driven cars. He keeps a keen eye on the latest developments in automotive industry and shares the news as it breaks.
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