Breakdowns can be very stressful and inconvenient yet they are often caused by basic faults that can be easily avoided!
…you especially don’t want to breakdown on a road trip or whilst on holiday – that can cause even more stress and expense!
We’ve put together a list of the top 10 causes of breakdowns so that you know the best way to handle them and prevent any problems from arising.
Here are the most common reasons why your car might breakdown
1. Flat or faulty battery
If most of your journeys are short with lots of stopping and starting, your battery will eventually drain. To avoid a flat battery, make sure to occasionally take your car for longer drives in the daylight, preferably without using your lights, wipers or heating which will give the battery a chance to recharge.
2. Damaged wheel
Make sure you check the tyre tread on all your wheels with a depth measuring gauge at least once a month as less tread means less effective breaking.
If you hit a pothole or kerb or if you can see that there is uneven wear in your tyre, get it checked out by a specialist as soon as possible.
If you’ve got a spare wheel, make sure that it’s inflated and ready for use – you never know when you’ll need it!
When driving with heavy loads, remember to adjust your tyre pressure to cope with the change.
3. Fuel problems
Around 133,000 drivers every year accidentally fill their car with the wrong fuel (yes it sounds silly, but it’s actually very common and easy to do!)
If you happen to be one of them, do not start your engine and call your garage straight away to drain the car and flush it out of the system.
4. Clutch cable
The clutch cable is put under a lot of stress and can cause serious problems if it breaks. If you notice any change in the clutch e.g. the gear pops out when accelerating or the pedal becomes difficult to depress, get it checked straight away. If the pedal breaks whilst driving, pull over to a safe area and call your garage.
5. HT (high-tension) leads
HT leads carry high voltage to the spark plugs and can often deteriorate with age making it difficult to start your car. Damp-repellant sprays such as WD-40 can help but it’s best to ask your garage to check over the ignition system if you are having problems.
6. Spark plugs
Spark plugs produce an electrical spark that ignites the fuel and air in the engine and they can often wear out or break but this shouldn’t be a problem as long as your car is serviced regularly.
7. Lost keys
Losing your keys is annoying and inconvenient – you can avoid unnecessary stress by making sure you have two sets of keys and keep them in separate places and if needs be replacement keys are available through main dealers.
8. Starter motor
If you turn the ignition key and only hear a clicking noise or if the dashboard lights come on yet the car will not start, you may have a problem with your starter motor and should contact your garage. However, starter motors are usually very tough and any potential faults should be picked up by your garage before they begin to cause any major problems.
9. Alternator faults
The alternator recharges the battery using power from the engine and also provides power to the electrical components in the car. Persistent battery problems and dim headlights when the car is idle could indicate a faulty alternator. If your ignition warning light comes on and the engine temperature begins to rise quickly, the belt that drives the alternator could be broken. This is a serious problem – do not restart your engine and immediately contact your garage.
In summer, cars are 50% more likely to overheat! At the first sign of overheating, shut off your air conditioner and open your windows, this will decrease the load on the engine and helps it cool off. If your car continues to overheat, turn on the heater and blower which will transfer the heat from the engine to the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
We hope this list has been helpful and remember that the best way to avoid breakdowns is to regularly service your car and take it for an annual MOT!
Let us know if you have any useful tips for avoiding breakdowns and if you are thinking of getting a new car, why not sell your car to Jack!
All you have to do is enter your reg number and we’ll get back to you with a no obligation offer!