Finding yourself in a broken-down vehicle in the middle of the street is the one experience that all car owners universally dread. Sadly, it is a fairly common situation to find oneself in. If you are unlucky enough to suffer from a car breakdown, it is important that you remain as calm and safe as possible until a solution is reached. Here are some things you can do to get through a vehicle breakdown safe and sound:
Use Hazard Lights
As soon as you notice the tell-tale signs that your car is experiencing problems, turn on your hazard lights and let other drivers on the road know that you are having trouble. This will enable them to drive cautiously around you, so that should you suddenly breakdown, you are less likely to cause a serious incident.
Move Out of Traffic
If your car breaks down on a busy road, first and foremost, you should make efforts to remove your car from the flow of traffic, either to the side of the road or another place where it will not be in the way of other traffic. If you do not move your car, it could cause accident or injury to you or other motorists on the road, which is the last thing you want to happen.
Call for Help
Unless the cause of your breakdown is something fairly minor like a flat tire, it is unlikely you will be able to handle the problem yourself. Call in a professional roadside assistance company and let them handle the rest.
Often, your insurance policy will include roadside assistance coverage, but if it does not, you should definitely think about taking out your own policy to save money and ensure a swift response should you find yourself stranded on the the road.
When calling a roadside assistance company, you should give them your insurance details, the make, model and license of your car, your location as best you can and a description of the problems you are experiencing straight away, so that they can find you even if your phone signal drops out or your battery dies, and so that they are prepared to help you with your particular issue.
Stay with Your Car
It is usually a good idea to stay with your broken down vehicle unless it is really unsafe to do so following a car accident. If you leave your vehicle unattended, there is a good chance that it will be towed away and you’ll be left with the expense of recovering it along with any bills to have your vehicle fixed. If you really do have to leave your car, try to write a note explaining you have broken down and you are looking for help and leave it on the windscreen. This might be enough to prevent the tow company taking it away before you return.
Know How to Deal with Common Car Issues
If you can identify and deal with the most common problems experienced by cars on the road, there is a good chance that you will be able to deal with issues yourself, without having to call in anyone else.
Flat battery: if you find that your car is making very little to no noise when you start the engine, it is a sure-fire sign that your battery is flat. You will then need to jump start it, so be prepared and bring along jumper cables when you are traveling.
Tyres and Wheels: Flat and worn tyres and problems with wheels are a common cause of breakdown. If you want to avoid them, you should, first and foremost, check the tread depth of your tyres on a regular basis and carry a spare tyre, jack and inflator kit with you at all times. It may also be worth visiting your local mechanic for a tyre check at regular intervals, to keep on top of any issues.
If you’re carrying a heavy load, you should always adjust your tyre pressure to handle the excess weight and avoid a breakdown situation. You can usually feel when you are experiencing tyre problems because your ride becomes less smooth. Always stop when you notice a change.
Alternator faults: Another common cause of car breakdowns are alternators faults. If you notice your headlights dimming, the temperature of your engine heating up rapidly, or your engine idling, it could be a sign that one of your alternator belts has snapped or broken, and you should stop driving immediately. Never restart your engine in such a situation!
Starter motor: Starter motors tend to breakdown much less frequently than other parts of the car, but they are still a significant cause of car breakdowns. You can usually prevent this by having your car serviced on a regular basis.
The wrong fuel: Unfortunately, many thousands of people still make the mistake of putting the wrong fuel into their vehicle each year. If you do this, and you start your engine, your car will very quickly stop functioning, and you will need to call a professional to drain the wrong fuel from your system. Luckily, if you only out the wrong fuel in your car the wrong time, it is extremely unlikely that your car will be irreparably damaged, as long as you don’t keep trying to fire up the engine while the incorrect fuel is in circulation.
Dealing with the Problem
If roadside assistance is unable to fix your car where it breaks down, you will probably have to deal with a mechanic. This can be a source of stress for many people who are not at all knowledgeable when it comes to cars and for people who are worried about the expense of a sizable car repair bill.
But, there is no need for you to panic. If you do not have an emergency fund to dip into, but you need your car to be repaired, you can always rely on the convenience of instalment loans online, which will enable you to get the work you so desperately need to be done when you need it, rather than when you have the money to handle the problem.
You will also find that, despite the various horror stories, most mechanics are straight up honest folks who will give you an accurate assessment of the problem and offer to fix it for a fair price. If you are really worried about being ripped off, you could consider taking along a friend or relative who knows more about cars, to ensure that you are treated with fairness.
It is also important that you should check up on the internet or with friends to find a good, reliable mechanic who will get the job done quickly, for a fair price. Most auto repair shops are now online and so are their customers, so it really shouldn’t be difficult to check up on a local company before you give them the green light to work on your vehicle.
Of course, the most important thing that you can do in a breakdown emergency is to stay calm. So many people panic when their car stops functioning, and this can lead to them doing any number of silly and unsafe things which put them, and many other users on the road at risk.
If you prepare for all eventualities, packing tools and equipment to help you if you break down, bringing along a mobile phone and having the information of your breakdown company with you at all times, you will reduce the likelihood of a full-blown panic considerably because you will know that you are prepared for anything.