Mastering Car Care: Essential Tips To Minimize Breakdowns

Car breakdowns are unavoidable and happen when you least expect it. However, there are specific measures you can take as a driver to reduce their likelihood. Additionally, carrying certain items in the car helps make life less stressful when malfunctions occur. We want to help our customers avoid inconvenience with these tips to prevent the most common vehicle failures.

Pay Attention To Warning Lights

Dashboard indicator signals are your vehicle's way of communicating when something is wrong, and knowing what they mean is very important. If an indicator warning lights up and you are unsure what it means, take the car to a local auto parts store to perform a diagnostic scan for error codes. Write down these codes and visit a car mechanic to avoid problems before they become costly and dangerous.

Keep The Fluids Topped Up

Your automobile needs the proper engine fluids to run safely, so make it part of your routine to inspect and replenish these fluids. Most people spend an average of an hour per week filling up gas, checking fluids and tire pressure, and cleaning out any debris. Remember to double-check the emergency kit as well.

Don't Miss Regular Service

Even with regular fluid refills, filters need to be replaced periodically. Your car needs regular appointments at an oil shop to flush the fluids and change the filters to help keep it running smoothly. Different vehicles and engines require this at various intervals, but a typically accepted frequency is every three months or every 3,000 miles.

Avoid Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving causes extra strain on your car. Hard stops are tough on tires and brakes, while quick acceleration wears out tires and transmission faster than usual. These parts are designed for everyday use and are not built to perform like high-stress components in race cars.

Avoid Overloading The Vehicle

A little extra weight now and then is fine, but carrying excess weight in the car can damage the tires, chassis, and suspension system. In addition to extra wear and tear, overlading the vehicle can cause it to handle differently and unexpectedly on the road, changing the center of gravity and making an accident more likely.

Pay Attention To The Battery

When the battery is too cold, old, or corroded, it can prevent the car from starting, so it's best to inspect it periodically. You can buy a battery meter or use the headlight method to check the battery capacity. This method involves turning on the headlights before ignition, waiting a few minutes, and then starting the engine. If your battery is low, the car won't turn on, or the headlights will be dim.

Also, remember that weather and prolonged use can cause corrosion on the battery's connecting cables. Keep a pocket knife or sandpaper in your emergency kit to remove the corrosion when it accumulates.

Keep An Eye & Ear On The Fan Belt

The fan belt makes everything move, including the cooling fans, so your car does not move if it explodes. When this belt loosens and comes close to breaking, it starts to whine and screech. Listening to these sounds helps spot the issue and perform maintenance before problems develop. Ask your mechanic to check the fan belt during scheduled service.

Listen To Your Car

Dashboard indicators can only convey so much information, so familiarize yourself with the car's sounds. Knowing the "normal" sounds, such as engine vibrations, trunk rattles, road noise, wind resonance, tire friction, and other noises, is indispensable. When these alter, it's a preemptive warning that something has changed and could cause a malfunction.

Be Mindful Of Fuel Levels

This step may seem the most obvious item on the list, but many drivers overestimate the distance they can travel after the low-fuel light comes on. Running out of gas can cause significant damage to the fuel pump, resulting in expensive future repairs that can be avoided with a simple stop at a petrol station.

Don't Lock Yourself Out

While also obvious and not a breakdown, this will prevent you from going about your day. Leaving the keys in the car when you lock it is a massive inconvenience. Ensure that someone has a spare set of keys to bring in an emergency or that your auto insurance covers locksmith service.