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The Top Ten: Causes of Breakdown Part Two

Breaking down isn’t just inconvenient, it can be dangerous and incredibly expensive. Last week we looked at reasons 6-10 for breaking down. This week, we conclude our breakdown season with the top five reasons that people break down.

5. Kicking off with number five, we have the starter motor; the little bit of the engine that gets your car going in the first place. Starter motors last for a long time, so they can easily be overlooked in general vehicle maintenance. Regular vehicle servicing will ensure that your starter motor doesn’t fail.

4. The alternator is a pretty simple thing that does a very important job. In a nutshell, your car’s alternator converts the energy from your car’s engine into electrical power, which powers all of the electric components of your car, including lights, radio, alarms, and keeps your battery fully charged. Dimming headlights are a good sign of alternator problems – get your car checked out as soon as you can to avoid breaking down.

3. Tyre and wheel damage is our third most common reason for breakdowns. Make sure that your spare tyre and jack are in good condition, or if you have a newer car, that you have an inflator and sealant kit. Check your tyre pressure regularly, particularly if you are driving with heavy loads or towing a trailer or caravan. Keep an eye on your tyre tread, too; low tread is not only dangerous, it is illegal. If in doubt, pop to your local garage for advice. If you notice that you hit anything, such as a curb or pothole, check your tyres for damage to avoid a blowout.

2. Last week we said that using the wrong fuel is possibly the most embarrassing reason for breaking down. Well, we have another contender. Number 2 is one of the most common, and also the most embarrassing, reasons for calling recovery services. Losing your keys can be annoying, inconvenient and costly. The newer your vehicle, the more complicated it is likely to be, and the more it will probably cost. So, make sure that you keep a working spare at home, just in case.

1. Here we have it. The most common reason for breaking down: the good old battery. Battery faults are common, and are most likely to happen during the winter, as batteries can’t stand cold weather. When you get your car serviced, the garage will check the connections and make sure that your battery terminals are clean and in good condition. If your car is slow to start or if it is more than two years old, ask your local garage to check its charge; you may need a new one.

Provided you get your vehicle serviced regularly, you should be able to avoid most of the main causes of breakdown. Sometimes, though, cars break down anyway, and it is just bad luck. If you do break down, try to pull your vehicle over to a safe place and contact roadside recovery.

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