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- By Jo Martrin
You’re late for work, can’t take the kids to their swimming lessons, and can’t do the big shop you were planning on this evening. What could be more frustrating than your car breaking down?
How about finding out that it was entirely avoidable?
How to avoid a car breakdown
Statistics show that the vast majority of people will suffer a car breakdown at least once in their life. A large percentage of breakdowns could easily be avoided. Read on to find out the most common causes of car breakdown, and how to lessen the chances of it ever happening to you.
Car breakdown cause no 1: Refuelling problems
Number one on our list of reasons for car breakdown is also one of the easiest to prevent.
Ever driven for miles whilst that little red dot is flashing, reminding you that your fuel tank is almost empty? We’ve all been there, but whilst filling up right away might you a little late for your meeting, think how late you’ll be if your car breaks down!
If this does happen to you, you should pull safely into the side of the road as soon as possible.
Around 150,000 people a year fill their car up with the wrong fuel, making this another very common reason for breakdowns. That’s one poor sod every three and a half minutes!
If you realise you’ve put the wrong fuel into your car, avoid starting your engine as this could seriously damage your vehicle. If you’ve already begun driving when you realise, pull over and switch off the engine as soon as possible.
Your tank will need to be drained and cleaned before putting in the correct fuel. Get in touch with the Wrong Fuel Man and we’ll do this for you and have you on your way in no time.
If you’re worried about making the same mistake again, try sticking a label inside your fuel cap to remind you. Remember to always check the colour of the nozzle – it’s usually black for diesel and green for petrol. And finally, make sure the hoses aren’t tangled. Trace the hose from the nozzle to the pump so you know it’s definitely the right one.
2: Wheel damage
Wheel damage and flat tyres are another common cause of car breakdown. Whilst some flat tyres might be caused by driving over sharp objects, many cases are avoidable.
You should check your tyre pressure regularly, and always change your tyres before they become too worn.
3: Flat battery
You’re at greater risk of a flat battery if you tend to use your car for short trips, or if you rarely use your car. If you don’t drive often, or you only nip around the corner when you do, consider investing in an intelligent charger. You can connect this to the battery when your car isn’t in use.
Leaving on headlights or internal lights is another preventable cause of battery drain. Keep some jump leads in your car in case this ever happens to you!
4: Engine overheating
Overheating is common in summer due to high temperatures and an increased reliance on air conditioning.
If you’re driving and see your temperature gauge slipping into the red, you should pull over before your engine overheats. Switch off your air-con and anything else that might be using energy. Turn on the car’s heaters, which may seem odd, but it draws heat away from the engine. Now get out of the car before you bake!
Make sure your car’s coolant levels (usually in a plastic container near to the radiator) are topped up enough, and that there are no leaks.
5: Spark plug problems
People often neglect spark plugs when considering car maintenance. They can be very problematic if you don’t take good care of them. Does your car sound like it’s vibrating a lot when you’re at the lights? Do you frequently struggle to start your car? Faulty spark plugs could be the cause.
Of course, regular servicing can solve most of these issues, and make it much less likely that you will suffer a breakdown.
For all your servicing needs, call a mechanic. If you’ve put the wrong fuel in, call the Wrong Fuel Man on 07908 525 129!