The last thing you want, whether you are close to home or far away, is to breakdown; it is time-consuming and, at times, can be quite expensive. It doesn’t matter where a breakdown happens; it is an inconvenience and, in most cases, could have been avoided if some checks would be done on the vehicle to make the likeness of a breakdown reduced.
Working on your vehicle can be carried out by yourself or a professional, but it is advised to only try and do what you can; if you notice a fault or something is not right, then you should take it to your garage if you are not comfortable with dealing with it yourself. Preventing a breakdown can save you money in the future, but if you mess something up trying to do it yourself when you can not then you can end up costing yourself more. Here are a few tips to try and prevent a breakdown.
Keep servicing up to date
One great way to keep your vehicle ticking along and less likely to breakdown is keeping up with your vehicle servicing. Most vehicle manufacturers would advise that your vehicle is serviced at least once a year; this will make sure that any niggles that come up or any issues the vehicle may be having will be found and dealt with each year. This will reduce your chances of a breakdown as your vehicle should always be in working order; however, this will not guarantee you not to have a breakdown, so make sure you keep maintaining your vehicle yourself is key. If you are unsure when it needs servicing then make sure you keep a log of each service. On some vehicles, it will come up on the dashboard if you need a service.
Keep an eye on the dashboard lights.
As well as showing if you need a service on your vehicle, your dashboard can prompt you on a series of issues. It can show you if there are any issues showing with the engine, if the battery is not charging or working correctly, and will show you if your oil levels are low. If you see a warning light, then you can consult your handbook, which will advise what the warning light means and what you can do to rectify it.
Check your vehicles fluid levels
If you get a warning light or are going on a journey, it is best to check your vehicle’s fluids like oil and windscreen wiper fluid to make sure you will not run low. If your oil runs out or too low, then you will damage the engine, so you can check it by the dipstick it has, which shows you the levels the oil is at. If you are not comfortable doing this, then you can ask someone at a garage to help you with it. Although wiper fluid would not be as important as oil in your vehicle in certain situations, it is very important; if roads are muddy or being gritted for cold weather, you need the fluid to clear your windscreen; otherwise, it can be too dangerous to drive. Also, a lot of wiper fluids come with anti-freeze in them for the colder weather so that your water tank won’t freeze, and you can clear your windscreen should it have any ice on it.
Check your tires
A number of breakdowns can be caused by your tires blowing out or deflating; they can also be nonroad legal, which can lead to an accident or being pulled over by the law. You can avoid this by checking the pressures in your tires are correct for that tire; you can find that information in your handbook or on the side of the tire. You also need to check the tread on the tires to make sure they are road legal and meet the requirements of the law; if they do not, then they will need to be changed before undertaking any journeys in your vehicle. When preparing your tires for any trips, it is best to make sure you have the correct season tires; if it is colder weather, then you can get winter tires, which will help with grip in the wetter conditions and allow better grip should it get icey or snow.
Check any changes
Obviously, you may not notice something when carrying out your checks, as it may not have arisen at the point of checking. If you feel any changes while driving your vehicle, then make sure to investigate them either yourself or by taking it to the garage and explaining, if you catch it early, then it is usually an easier fix and cheaper than if it is ignored and manifests into something worse.
Keep a spare key with you
Although this can seem obvious and weird, it is a common reason for a breakdown service to be called out, which is losing the keys or locking them in the vehicle. Sometimes a breakdown provider can supply you a key or unlock your car for you to get in and get them, but it can be time-consuming and easily avoided if you make sure you carry your spare key with you, not in the car but on your person, you can save time and money when it comes to losing your keys or locking them away.
Check your fuel when filling and driving
Another thing that is more common than you would think is filling up your vehicle with the wrong fuel or actually running out of fuel. It is so easily avoided but can be overlooked by some, so just taking some time to double-check the fuel you are putting in and keeping an eye on your fuel gauge is a great way to save you from breakdown and save you money if you do fill up with the wrong fuel. It is expensive and a long task to flush out your fuel system, so it will run again, so it is a costly mistake to make.
If you are worried about breaking down on a journey or just in general, then doing these few tips may make it less likely for this to happen to you and keep you driving around and not stuck on the side of the road.