Your car suddenly breaking down is one of the worst road nightmares you could encounter whilst driving. When this happens, you often get an awful sinking feeling in your stomach. Just the mere thought of it can make you feel worried!
Fear not – for there are tell-tale signs you can watch out for that may indicate a car breakdown in your future.
· Check engine light is flashing.
This is the most obvious sign of engine trouble and could mean several things. Perhaps the gas cap is damaged or loose. Maybe it’s the spark plugs. It could be a misfired engine. It is often tempting to just dismiss the sign and go on driving because surely it could not be that serious, right? And it is something you could attend to later on, correct?
You may have gotten away with ignoring it in the past, but you really should not brush this flashing sign aside. Your car’s on-board diagnostic system is there for a reason. When it tells you something is amiss, then you should pay attention.
· Oil is low or has sludge.
Checking and changing your engine oil regularly is one of the simplest things you can do that could avoid costly repairs in the long run. Doing so could prevent the development of sludge, which is serious trouble for your engine.
Do you notice clumps of oil sticking around the dipstick? Do you see black gunk that has accumulated on the engine and its surrounding parts? That means you should change the oil as soon as possible to avoid engine damage. Make sure you use the right kind of oil for your car. You should also remove any sludge that is already present.
Depending on the severity, you can either clean it yourself using commercial sludge remover or have a professional do it. Either way, your car will thank you. And you will have saved yourself the hassle of having your car towed away because the engine breaks down due to oil residue.
· Weird smell, noise, and movement
Do you smell something like burnt hair or rubber? Do you hear a strange grinding, hissing, or squealing sound? Do you feel your car engine chugging when you start it or when you accelerate? Does the steering wheel seem to be the one in control of your car’s direction instead of you?
These are signs that something is wrong with your vehicle that could result in breakdown later on. Consider having your engine, fan belt, brake pad, rotor, and other parts checked. They might require repair or replacement. Remember that these parts wear out eventually and need to be replaced.
· Low tyre tread
A low tyre tread can result in poor traction. As the its tread wears out, a tire loses its ability to grip the road. This may cause your car to slip. To be safe, you should maintain a 3mm tread depth at the least. There is a simple way to check your tyre depth using a 20c coin. Place the coin into the tread and notice the bill of the platypus. The bill should reach to the tread; otherwise, it’s about time you change your tire.
· Car battery is corroding.
A corroding car battery creates trouble with the connections along the terminals. This may cause your car to have difficulty starting. How do you know your vehicle is having trouble with the battery?
First, you may notice clicking and cranking when you turn the key. It also takes longer than usual to start. The most apparent sign of damaged battery would be the presence of green, blue, or white powder around it. A corroded car battery will inevitably cause problems in the future. Have it replaced or you risk your car breaking down.
· You are not driving properly.
Yes, there is a difference with just knowing how to drive and knowing how to drive properly. It can make a big difference in your car’s health when you do it correctly.
Here are five ways you could be hurting your car that may contribute to future breakdowns:
1. For those driving an automatic car – you don’t use the parking brake on a hill.
This puts a lot of strain on your transmission because the parking pawl, or pin, is carrying all of your car’s weight. Engage the parking brake to save your transmission.
2. For those driving a manual car – you’re riding the clutch.
For some of you, keeping your foot on the clutch gives you the feeling of being more in control of your car. However, riding the clutch causes stress to the release mechanism and clutch plate. Over time, this can severely damage your clutch and can set you back thousands of dollars in replacement.
3. The fuel is almost empty, but you keep on driving anyway.
This action can result in a clogged fuel filter as the pump attempts to get the last remaining fuel at the bottom of the tank. The bottom of the fuel tank tends to collect sediment. In a worst-case scenario, the sediment may not just clog the filter, but go into your car’s engine over time. When it happens, your car will need extensive repair.
4. You are stressing the car with all the unnecessary added weight.
Take a good look at what you have in your automobile that could be putting it on a strain with all that extra weight. Roof bars and racks? Boot full of stuff you just haul around? If you don’t need it, take it out. The unnecessary weight can cause excessive fuel consumption as well as tension to your brake and suspension mechanisms.
5. You are misusing your gears.
Avoid using the first gear for too long; switch to second gear after a while. Another practice that may damage the cylinder head is skipping, going from second gear straight to fourth.
Let Newcastle Towing and Transport be your go-to towing company.
While some car breakdowns can be prevented, they can still happen. When they do, you need a reliable and efficient towing service to assist you and get your car to safety.
Newcastle Towing and Transport can help you with all sorts of vehicle towing services anywhere in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie including the Hunter Region. We can even bring your car to any point across Australia. Contact us for enquiries!