How To Minimise The Risk Of A Breakdown

A vehicle breakdown is a like a house fire or a bad case of food poisoning. It’s dangerous, it’s potentially very costly and it’s completely avoidable. If you’re a driver you’ll almost certainly be forced to deal with at least one roadside breakdown during your driving ‘career,’ as it were. Yes, breakdowns are largely avoidable but few people are aware of what they need to do in order to prevent them. Fortunately, these things aren’t super complicated or all that expensive to achieve – they only need a little care and a little time, says journalist Kerry Marshall.

Identifying and fixing problems before they turn into serious issues is really the only way to minimise the risk of breakdown. Most roadside assistance call outs are a result of minor technical faults – dead batteries, flat tyres, lost keys and the like. They deal with things that can be fixed by the roadside in a matter of minutes, things that could have been avoided if that driver had only kept his or her eye on their car’s condition. Here are some tips and tricks that you can use to minimise your risk of breakdown.

Regular Servicing

This is, without doubt, the one sure fire way to avoid unexpected breakdowns. Yes, it does cost extra money on top of all your other vehicle based expenditure, but it’s a whole lot cheaper than dealing with an engine failure or a broken battery. According to the AA, regular maintenance together with an understanding of what could or might go wrong, is the only real way to ensure that the life of your car is a long and healthy one. Take your car to be serviced as often as is recommended by your vehicle manufacturer.

Check Your Levels

All drivers should do this at least once a fortnight, more in winter. Check the engine oil with a dipstick every two weeks and before any long journeys. Check the coolant levels on a regular basis and make sure that the system is topped up with the correct amount of antifreeze. Antifreeze actually prevents the build up of anything nasty in your cooling system, so it is vital that you don’t allow it to dry up or run out. It isn’t just important for winter – don’t forget to check it all year round.

Look After Your Windscreen

Anybody who owns a television has seen those adverts for windscreen specialists, those ones that desperately stress the fact that chips turn into cracks and cracks should be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately, they’re right – chips do need to be dealt with as quickly as possible. If they are allowed to turn into full blown cracks in the windscreen – not only are you going to have an expensive job on your hands but you’ll also be putting yourself and your passengers in danger.

Maintain Your Tyres 

It’s absolutely vital that you are familiar with the correct pressure for your tyres, say the experts at You can usually find this in your vehicle handbook or you can ask an engineer when you next go to get your car serviced. Check your tyre pressure every two weeks and take steps to correct it if necessary. There are pumps at almost every petrol station in the country and it costs just a pound or two to inflate your tyres. There is no excuse for failing to maintain the health of your tyres – if you do fail, you could be risking a nasty accident. Never forget to carry a spare in the boot of the car.

Carry A Tool Kit

All drivers should carry an appropriate tool kit whilst travelling in their vehicles. If you don’t know where yours is, check the vehicle handbook for its location. Your tool kit must contain at least a jack and suitable wheel removal tools. If it does not, you must take steps to buy new equipment.


Author Bio: Kevin John has been a roadside engineer for six years. He gets his own car serviced and maintained with Balgores Motors. The most common problem that he attends to is flat batteries. 

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