We have all been there, but it never gets any easier, no matter how many times you experience it. Breaking down while you are driving is one of those unfortunate things which is likely to happen to every motorist at some point. The truth is, no matter how much you do to look after your car, the worst can still happen. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take every care in looking after your car. But it does mean that no matter what, disaster could strike at any time. Nonetheless, preparation is the key to getting through these kinds of situations. With that in mind, it might be helpful to know what the most common reasons for breakdowns are. Then you can at least know what you should do in those situations. And knowing what to do means that you are more likely to take things in your stride, should the worst occur. Without further ado, then, let’s take a look at the most common breakdown causes.
We have all either experienced this ourselves or been there when someone else has experienced it. Perhaps you have left your headlights on all night. Or maybe an internal fault has caused the battery to go a little haywire. Whatever the reason, this can be a real nightmare of a situation. A flat battery means you really won’t be getting anywhere any time soon. This can causes some serious issues, particularly if you are in a rush. The truth? There is little that can be done about this, short of calling your breakdown service provider. The best thing is to be preventative, to ensure that it doesn’t happen in the first place. To achieve that, make every effort not to keep your headlights on. Even leaving your car radio or the internal light on overnight would also be enough to drain the battery. So watch out for those little things, lest the worst happens to you!
For one of the most common causes of breakdown, this is potentially very dangerous. It all depends on where you are when it happens, of course. The last thing anyone wants is for this to happen in the fast lane on the motorway! Regardless of where you are when it happens, there is at least a simple solution to this one. You should ensure, first of all, that you always keep a spare tyre on your vehicle. In some places this is a legal requirement. Even if it is not law where you are, still make sure you do so. It could make all the difference. It helps to learn how to change a tyre before the worst happens, of course. But even if you don’t, most people find they can work it out. Alternatively, use a cheap mobile tyre fitting service and let the professionals take charge.
As with the previous two examples, this common cause is best dealt with by prevention rather than cure. The main piece of advice here is probably quite obvious, but it bears repeating: never set out unless you know you have enough fuel. Do not go on a long journey without first visiting the petrol station. Often, people get caught out because the car has previously lasted a long time on its reserve tank. However, this doesn’t mean that it will be the case a second time. Don’t risk it; it’s not worth it. Always keep your tank topped up. Ideally, make sure that you have at least half a tank’s worth of fuel at all times. That way, you can be sure that you never run out during the middle of a long journey. If you do run out of fuel, you will have to call someone in to help you. This is not always the cheapest option – certainly not as cheap as simply ensuring you have enough fuel!
If you have a serious problem with your alternator as you are driving, you will notice some rather severe symptoms. When an alternator is failing, the car temperature starts to spike dramatically. This is often accompanied by an ignition warning light. If this happens, you must stop the car and pull over immediately. This could be a serious safety concern. It is even advisable to get away from the car and call for breakdown assistance. There are some early warning signs, before this happens, that you should watch out for too. For example, if your headlights keep dimming while your engine is idling, this could be an alternator problem. If you notice such symptoms, get your car checked out – before the worst happens. Better safe than sorry, as they say.