There’s nothing worse than hearing the tell-tale sign of a car breaking down. As your engine stops revving and your vehicle starts dying, so does your excitement for the trip.
Unfortunately, car breakdowns occur a lot, so much that it costs the U.S. economy up to US$ 41 billion per year. But if you want to limit the number of potential breakdowns and the inconvenience associated with one, following appropriate maintenance tips is an option.
Not just this, but you must know how to handle a car breakdown. To help you out, we’ve created a comprehensive guide to avoiding car breakdowns:
Starting: Get Your Car Checked
Before you hit the road on to your next excursion, you must get your car checked by a mechanic. When you visit your local mechanic, a technician will take the following steps to ensure your vehicle is in tip-top shape:
1. Engine and Oil Filter
Clogged engines and oil filters cost you fuel consumption and shorten your car’s lifespan. Your mechanic will inspect both filters and recommend you to replace them if necessary.
During the inspection, your mechanic checks out your headlights, taillights, reverse lights, and turn signals.
If these lightning components of your vehicles don’t perform properly, you could risk your and other people’s lives.
Your technician inspects the brakes to make sure they meet safety standards, especially if your plan includes driving through windy roads or mountains. Needless to say, you’ll have to ensure your brakes are in appropriate condition.
Remember that mountains or sandy roads cause brakes to wear faster.
4. Fan Belt
Your mechanic may check your car’s v-belts to identify whether it’s loose or in poor condition. If your fan belt is cracking or glazing, your mechanic will replace it.
5. Steering and Suspension
Poor steering and suspension performance can cause instability while driving, loss of comfort, and excessive tire wear.
Thus, ensure that your mechanic inspects your steering and suspension components.
6. Radiator Components
Your mechanic will also inspect your radiator components to ensure it’s free of dirt and debris. Your technician also checks whether your coolant is operating correctly.
7. Fluid Levels
Your mechanic also inspects the following fluids in your car:
- Transmission fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Brake fluid
- Windshield washer fluid
- It ensures that your car drives smoothly and no breakdowns occur.
8. Tyre Pressure
Your technician also checks the condition and pressure of your tires. After all, the last thing you want is during your adventure is a flat tire.
If your tires are in perfect condition, your mechanic may rotate and adjust air pressure in them.
9. Battery Test
A weakening battery can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. For this reason, your mechanic tests your battery and electrical system to identify potential failures.
Get to Know What’s Normal for Your Car
Keeping your car in good condition is essential to ensure you’re safe and in control during your adventure. Before you set off, ensure that you understand what’s suitable for your car and what’s not.
Follow these steps to achieve this:
- Learn your car’s ideal temperature to avoid overheating
- Check your fluid levels periodically
- Get regular checkups
Always Prepare a Repair Kit
If you’re someone who enjoys hitting the road and going on adventures, you must keep a repair kit in your car. Here’s a repair kit checklist to ensure you have all the right tools:
- Wireless multimeter
- Flashlights to provide sufficient light
- A first aid kit to avoid accidents
- Tool kit containing a jack, lug wrench, a screwdriver, antifreeze, pliers, and a pocket knife
- Tire gauge to assess tire pressure and maintain your car
- Spare tire to ensure you can easily switch flat tires
- Jumper cables to efficiently restart your battery
Things to Do In Case of a Breakdown
Here are several tips to remember in case your car starts breaking down:
Ensure That You Know the Basics
This is gradually improving, as the education systems are now making it mandatory for students to take up essentials skills classes such as automtive repair or learn electronics in their STEM courses, especially in a car breakdown. Ensure that you learn the basics of checking, maintaining, and testing your vehicles if your car stops working.
Here are several things you can do if your car breakdowns:
- Check your tire pressure
- Change your oil
- Jumpstart your battery
- Learn your vehicle’s warning signs
Contact Roadside Assistance
Consider getting roadside assistance before your car starts working and you’re stuck in a challenging situation. This way, you’ll know that you can access necessary car services, such as:
- Jump starts
- Fuel delivery
- Lockout services
An excellent way of purchasing roadside assistance is through your can insurance company. Alternatively, you may connect with an independent provider.
Follow Simple Breakdown Safety Instructions
If you’re sidelined, follow these steps to protect yourself and other drivers and pedestrians:
- Put on hazard lights
- Pullover if your car allows it
- Make yourself visible by turning on hazard and reflective emergency lights
- Stay in your car
- Don’t DIY
All it takes is proper planning to ensure enjoyment and safety during your road trips. Getting car maintenance gives you peace of mind and lowers the risks of accidents and mechanical problems.