Road-trips are real fun. You experience unexpected joy, deepening bonds and new learnings. On the contrary of joy, the roads and the vehicle can put you through some tough ball games. Car breakdown is one of such situations where you can get lost in the middle of nowhere and find yourself helpless.
We have a guide and a checklist that can aid you to handle a car breakdown. But as said, “Prevention is better than cure”, we have a checklist that follows precautionary steps to avoid a car breakdown.
What can cause your car to breakdown? Preventive steps to avoid it!
Before starting a journey, you should always perform a basic inspection of your vehicle. Most common reasons for a car breakdown are as below.
1) Flat tyre –
A flat tyre is the most common cause of a car breakdown. Reasons can be anything from low/high pressure to hitting a hard object on the road. Here are the things you can take care of to avoid a possible flat tyre.
- Check tyre pressure regularly. Also, you can install a tyre pressure monitoring system(TPMS) if your car isn’t equipped with one. It is dirt-cheap for the value it offers. A low-pressure warning can give you time to get your car on the safer side of the road before it runs out of the air completely.
- Check for the condition of your tyres. Weak tyres are more prone to burst. Never use a tyre after it hits the tread wear indicator. Replace the abnormal tyre(wrinkles, bulge on sidewall etc.) with a new one at the earliest.
- Never use a tyre for more than five years even if it is yet to hit the tread wear indicator. All the tyre manufacturers put a mark containing four numbers on the side of the tyre. First two numbers indicate the week and the last two digits indicate the year of the tyre manufactured(i.e. 1119 = 11th week of the year 2019). While purchasing a new tyre, always check the age of the tyre and never purchase a tyre older than one year.
2) Dead Car battery –
The car battery life can range from 2 years to 6 years depending upon the surrounding weather and the usage pattern. Poorest driving pattern and worst weather condition can still have you minimum 2 years of battery life. Here are the precautionary steps to avoid a dead battery condition.
- Never use the electrical components of your car while the engine is off.
- Always avoid external electrical attachments to your car. Try to keep the car in stock form as much as you can.
- Check the battery voltage with the help of a voltmeter. It should be between 12.4 to 12.7. If the reading is below 12.4V, the battery needs to be charged.
- Always keep jumper cables in your car.
3) Electrical issue –
Blown/bad fuse & kaput relays are the most common causes of electrical breakdown of a car. Manufacturers usually provide with extra fuses. You can quickly check if the car starts by replacing the fuses and relays with new one or by swapping them. The user manual of your car will provide you with the optimum information regarding the location of the fuse box and relay box. Also, it indicates which fuse/relay is associated with which functioning. You can prioritise less needful functioning such as AC relay and swap it with the ignition relay to get your car started. You can replace them with a new one after escaping the breakdown condition.
4) Engine issue –
Things with engine rarely go wrong if your car follows scheduled maintenance recommended by the manufacturer. As a preventive measure, here are the things to take care of in case of issues associated with the engine.
- Always inspect the most important fluid levels of the engine. i.e. Engine oil & coolant
- Inspect the quality of the engine oil. Strictly avoid using the engine oil after it has hit the time/miles interval of replacement.
- Always stick to the oil specifications recommended by the car manufacturer.
- Never ignore any kind of oil leaks in the engine bay.
5) Transmission issue –
Any abnormal performance behaviour or noise associated with the transmission should not be neglected. Here are the signs that can cause transmission failure of your car.
- In a manual transmission car, the worn synchronizer is the most common issue. The worn synchronizer can lead to transmission failure. The symptoms of a worn synchronizer include abnormal noises, difficulty in slotting or not able to slot into a gear, stuck in one gear and jumping out of a gear randomly etc.
- You should always check and replace the transmission oil on the correct interval with the oil recommended by the car manufacturer.
- Always check the health of the clutch. A worn clutch can put you in a car breakdown situation without a prior indication.
- Never ignore oil leaks.
6) Brake issue –
Brakes are the most vital part of a motor vehicle. If anything that has something wrong to do with the proper functioning of brakes is downright unacceptable. Here are the preventive maintenance tips for the brakes of your car.
- Brake fluid is the most important part of a braking system. Keep in-check the brake fluid level. Also, get the brake fluid replaced periodically as recommended by the car manufacturer.
- Get the master-cylinders of your brakes checked for any leakage.
- Get the brakes cleaned periodically.
- Keep the brake pad/rotor life in-check. Replace them before its time to hit its end-life.
- Get the callipers lubricated periodically.
- Keep in-check for any kind of rust on the critical parts.
We have discussed all the common reasons for a car breakdown and its preventive maintenance checklist. But if you still get stuck in a breakdown, your main priority is to be safe during the process.
How to Escape a Car Breakdown?
Whenever you face a car breakdown on the road, the priority sequence of your concerns is,
- Your’s and the passenger’s safety
- Safety of the others travelling on the road
- Your vehicle’s safety
Steps to Escape a car breakdown safely-
- Check for the surroundings. Is it a busy traffic road? If yes, get someone’s help to stop the traffic coming from behind Push the car to the safe side off the road. (BE UTMOST CAUTIOUS during this process).
- If the surrounding isn’t safe to be on the outside, be in the car itself and call for help.
- If you smell or see smoke, quickly get out of the car and go to a safe place. Alert the surrounding people regarding the situation and inform the authority for help.
- Turn on the hazard lamps and put a reflective hazard warning sign behind the car at a distance to alert the traffic regarding the car’s breakdown.
- Get help from the roadside assistance or the nearby garage to get the car back running on the road.
- Meanwhile, try to follow our troubleshooting process to check if you can get the car fixed by yourself.
- If you have to leave the car at the breakdown spot, don’t forget to bring your personal belongings with you. Also, don’t forget to take the original documents of your car with you.
- Always get your car examined thoroughly by the authorised service centre after conquering the breakdown.