10 Most Common Reasons for Car Breakdowns


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There are a number of reasons why people break down on the British roads every year and we take a look at ten of the most common ways this happens, and what you can do to try and avoid being one of those people stuck on the edge of the road waiting for the AA or RAC.

10. I’ve run out of Petrol

We’ve all been there once. You’ve left home in a hurry for a long journey and this one time you have forgotten to check the fuel gauge before heading out and reaching the motorway. It can seem as though the one time you did not check is the one time you are on a long stretch of motorway without a service for many miles. Keeping the fuel tank half empty means that your car is lighter (than if it was full) and this means you burn less fuel with a lighter car.

9. Flat Tire

Damaged and poor tire’s can largely be avoided as a cause of breakdown if you ensure that you regularly do the appropriate checks. Tire pressure should ideally be checked before any long and major journey. Even if you only use your vehicle for local trips, try and make sure that you check your tires each month, especially in the winter time when deflation can occur more rapidly.

8. Over-heated Engine

Engine failures due to over-heating are a relatively common cause of breakdowns and this over-heating can occur for  number of reasons. A failing or bad cooler fan, a faulty water pump or a leak are common issues which enable the engine to over-heat.

7. Clutch Problems

Clutches on occasions (although it is rare) can fail when they become over-worn. You can often tell if the clutch is beginning to get worn down if you find that you are having to put your foot down to the floor, just to get any basic acceleration.

6. Electronics Problems

With technology come benefits but also issues because of the over-reliance of sorts, on these technologies. New cars tend to be full of electrical and computerised parts, including the dashboard, in-built GPS, electronic windows and heating controls. Electrical problems can occur and sometimes hard to diagnose unless you have the necessary testing equipment.

5. Alternator problems

If you have a problem with your alternator, you may be driving and find that you have faults such as dimly or badly lit lights or battery related problems. You can buy and replace your alternator quite inexpensively as a spare part.

4. Starter Motor

Although not a problem once you are driving, many people do find themselves unable to start their vehicle because of a failing starter motor. You simply will not be able to start your car at all. Without fuel and air driven into the cylinders the engine cannot kick-in to start. (More on buying a new starting motor).

3. HT Leads

The HT leads can need replacing from time to time because of wear and tear. These leads are important because they help the spark plugs, by sending the necessary voltage.

2. Clutch Cables

The clutch cables are something which can break at any time potentially and for which it is difficult to foresee. The cables are used every time yu attempt to change gear when driving.

1. Distributor Cap Failure

It does not take much to affect the cap because the smallest crack in the cap will be enough for a leak to occur. It can be worth checking the distributor cap from time to time and is easy to replace.

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