The Top Reasons Cars Break Down

October 11, 2019

It’s scary and stressful when a car breaks down. It happens to cars of all ages, makes, and models. Knowing the most common reasons cars break down can help you stay aware. If you notice signs of any of the following, take the appropriate measures to avoid a complete breakdown.

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A Dead Battery

We’ve all been there. The dreaded noise when you try to start your car and nothing happens. Many batteries last for several years, but it depends on how you treat it and the environment where you live. The harder your battery has to work, the shorter its lifespan.

While it’s hard to predict when a battery will die, you may notice little signs including:

  • Your car hesitates to start right away
  • The lights seem dimmer in the car
  • Power features seem to run slower

If you’ve had your battery for more than a few years, it’s a good idea to have it checked out to determine how much life is left in it.

Issues With the Starter

Sometimes when a car won’t start, it’s due to more than the battery. It could be the starter. If you notice that your car makes odd noises when you start it or that it hesitates to start at all, it could be a sign of starter failure. Since the signs can be similar to those of a failing battery, take your car into a trusted mechanic. They can easily test the battery first to see its integrity. If it’s not the battery, they may have to do more investigating to see if the starter is at fault.

Flat Tires

You may not think of your tires as a reason for a car breakdown, but it happens all of the time. When a tire blows out or just goes flat, you can’t drive your car anymore. Even though flat tires are often a spontaneous occurrence, there are ways you can prevent it:

  • Check your tire pressure often, especially in extreme temperatures
  • Make sure the tire’s tread is large enough
  • Ensure that the tire walls are in good condition

Compromised tires make it more likely that you’ll experience a flat tire or complete blowout, leaving you stranded on the side of the road.

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Hot Engines

Have you ever seen a car on the side of the road that looks like its engine is on fire? That’s an overheated engine and it occurs often. You may be able to catch this issue before it gets too bad by watching your car’s temperature gauge. If it gets too high (into the red), pull over immediately.

The car needs time to cool down. Lifting the hood and letting the car sit is the most natural way. Once the engine is cool enough, you or a trusted professional should check the coolant level. This is what keeps it cool. If there isn’t any coolant, you may have a leak or other issue with the engine that needs addressing. If there aren’t any serious issues with the engine, you may just need to add coolant. Before you do, consult with a mechanic though, to ensure that it’s safe to do so.

Problems With Fuel

You need gas to run your car. Obviously, if you run out of gas, your car will break down. It won’t start again until you fill it up. But, did you know that you using the wrong fuel in your car could also cause it to break down? If this happens, you need the fuel flushed from the system and the right fuel put in again. If you break down shortly after putting gas in your car, think about the type you put in and talk to a mechanic about the next best steps to take.

If you notice your car acting funny, it’s always a good idea to get it checked out. The best-case scenario is they tell you nothing is wrong with it. Worst case, though, you catch a problem before it leaves you stranded on the side of the road. Find a trusted mechanic in your area and bring your car in for regular checkups to ensure its overall health.

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