A breakdown is easily one of the most frustrating and also most dangerous experiences that a driver will have. At best, you will be stranded waiting for help. At worst, you could be forced to make a stop at the side of the road, where a stationary car can become a real target for others passing by. Having breakdown cover and keeping a charged phone in the car at all times is essential to helping you get back up and running. But you can also drastically lower your chance of getting in that situation in the first place. You can do that by being aware of the major reasons behind breakdowns and how you can fix them.
All tired out
It might come as no surprise to all those that have had tire problems that they are one of the most common causes of breakdowns on average. Checking the air pressure in your tires regularly is an essential part of owning a car. But low air pressure and potential punctures aren’t the only ways you need to be concerned with your wheels. Getting them balanced, rotated, and checking their alignment is just as important. This can cause damage to tire walls which can result in even more flats. Also, keep a spare tire when you can.
Tires are one thing, but it’s the battery that is the single greatest cause of breakdowns. There are a lot of reasons that car batteries can die, as shown at Lifewire. So, your care of your battery needs to be pretty comprehensive. For instance, in the winter, the cold causes batteries to lose a lot of their charge which is just another good reason to try and keep yours out of the open air. If the batteries in storage, it will slowly deplete its charge as well. Most modern batteries don’t need a lot of maintenance beyond ensure it’s not losing its charge. However, you might want to check its contacts and to clean them for any potential mineral or debris buildups.
Picture by Juergen_G
Feeling the heat
Car engines produce a lot of heat and when they produce too much, it can not only cause the car to breakdown but it can do very serious engine damage. At worst, it could even start an engine fire. But many of these issues can be solved simply by getting your engine oil changed more regularly as recommended at Auto Service Prices. Fresh oil lubricates all the moving parts of the engine, stopping friction from building heat while absorbing any that they do produce. But it wears out over time, which is what leads to the overheating and then the engine failure. Every 5,000 miles, or three months, is when you should definitely get that oil changed.
The oil isn’t the only part of the engine you need to change, either. Faulty spark plugs are a regular reason that breakdowns happen. Angie’s List recommends changing copper tip plugs every 30,000 miles and other types every 100,000 miles or so. When spark plugs wear out entirely, there’s nothing to ignite the fuel and air mix in the engine, meaning you will get zero power from it. But you should replace them well before that point, anyway. Beyond causing breakdowns, aging spark plugs will cause the engine to mix air and fuel far less efficiently. That means that you’ll be burning more fuel for every mile traveled. You don’t need to be told that fuel is already a considerable enough cost without your car needing to be refilled more often.
Where did you leave them?
It might seem relatively silly compared to all the other causes of breakdown mentioned. However, over 10% of all breakdowns are simply caused by people forgetting or losing their keys when they’re out and about. In most cases, you can find them easily enough but what about when you can’t? If you’re one of the many, many drivers at risk of making this mistake at some point, it might be worth considering looking at the many little devices you can add to your keys. These allow you to track them so that being stranded by your own forgetfulness isn’t an issue you ever need to worry about again. A lower-cost solution is simply attaching large, colorful, or even glow-in-the-dark keychains to them so they’re much harder to lose.
There are plenty more potential reasons for a breakdown, of course. Alternator problems, clutch cable fails, even reasons as simple as running out of fuel. The best way to comprehensively prevent a breakdown is to keep the car topped up and inspect it once a month.