It happens to many; one moment, the car is driving just fine down the road, and something happens next. It is stressful whether a tire is going flat or a mechanical problem. To properly prepare, it is good to have a basic knowledge of common breakdowns and the steps needed when someone finds themselves stranded on the side of the road.
Common Reasons a Car Breaks Down
When a car is getting to the point of breaking down, it is reaching its limit. Thankfully, knowing the signs can help prevent that limit from happening. But, of course, a person cannot easily avoid a couple of issues as when a flat tire occurs or the vehicle runs out of gas. Also, not every vehicle is the same, but a few common reasons a breakdown occurs.
The most common cause for a breakdown is a low or dead battery. When this happens, the car has difficulty starting up the engine and leaves the individual stranded. To prevent this, getting the battery checked by a mechanic can help, especially if the battery is between three to five years old. Other warning signs that a battery is dying are if the headlights or cabin lights are dimming or the power windows are slower than usual.
Problems with the engine are also a frequent reason a car may break down. The transmission can be tricky to see the signs since issues start as a weird sound, but then the vehicle’s performance becomes erratic; then, it is a little clear the transmission may be having problems. To prevent this, having the transmission serviced regularly will help.
Another issue that can be prevented by regularly servicing is the brakes. If the brakes are bad, there is no way to drive the vehicle safely. Therefore, it is recommended to check them every two to three years. Preventing these issues can be helpful, but it also can be expensive. Money for car repairs can add up after a while, so looking into financing to keep a car updated on all the regular checkups may be beneficial.
What to Do When the Car Breaks Down
Even with all of the prevention, a car breakdown can still happen. In those instances, knowing what steps to take, especially if a person is stranded on the side of the road, can be helpful.
The first thing to do is as soon as an issue occurs while driving, turning on the hazard lights will clue other drivers of something amiss and help keep them safe. Then, if able, the next step will be to slow down and pull off to the side of the road so as not to be in the way of traffic.
The Department of Motor Vehicles suggests turning the wheels away from the road and putting on the parking brake. This is especially helpful if a person is stopped on a slope or hill. It is also essential to stay in the vehicle and be visible so vehicles can easily avoid hitting the car. Then, call for help, whether roadside assistance, an insurance company or a family or friend, calling for help is crucial.
Car breakdowns are stressful, but having some common knowledge and knowing the steps to take during a breakdown can make it a little less stressful.