Having a broken-down vehicle in the middle of the highway is a nightmare for any driver. It’s inconvenient to be stuck on the side of the road, waiting for a tow truck and a potentially expensive repair bill.
That’s why preventing vehicle breakdowns should be a big part of your vehicle routine and maintenance.
Staying on top of your vehicle’s maintenance schedule is a surefire way to keep it in optimal working condition, though untimely repairs can still occur. You’re less likely to become stranded with a vehicle breakdown if you practice preventable vehicle maintenance.
What is Preventable Car Maintenance?
Preventable vehicle maintenance involves staying updated on oil changes, tire rotations, throttle body, fuel injection services, brake and power steering flushes (if power steering system is hydraulic and not electric) and other normal upkeep on a vehicle, just to name a few items. These types of preventative measures can decrease the likelihood of something failing prematurely.
As vehicles get older, they can require more frequent visits to the mechanic to stay dependable. Small tasks such as topping off fluid levels can keep the car running smoothly and lessen the fear of a sudden breakdown.
Tips For Preventing Car Breakdowns
When it comes to preventing vehicle breakdowns, there are several things that owners can do to decrease the chances of being left stranded.
1. Check Your Fluid Levels
Any vehicle running with low fluid levels is at risk of breaking down. Fluids such as oil, coolant, transmission, and brake fluid, all can help to keep your vehicle running at its best. At minimum, these fluids should be checked every time you go in for an oil change. Low fluid levels can result in unwanted repairs.
2. Inspect Your Tires
While nobody enjoys shelling out the cash to replace their tires, this is a necessary expense once tread becomes worn down. Old tires are prone to blowing out while driving and needless to say, can cause hydroplaning in the rain, which can leave the vehicle’s occupants on the side of the road waiting for a tow or even worse, may cause an accident.
If you notice any cracking on the sidewall of tires or tread that’s looking bald, these are clear signs you should head over to your local shop for a new set of tires. On vehicles that aren’t driven often, tires should still be replaced around the 6-year mark for optimal safety.
3. Replace Your Fan Belt
When a fan belt inevitably breaks on your car, the engine can overheat due to the water pump not turning (most vehicles), loss of power steering (if an hydraulic system), etc. This can cause a huge inconvenience, especially if you’re trying to get to work or school on time. Owners should keep in mind that fan belts generally last around 60,000-90,000 miles and should be replaced once they hit this mark.
Next time you go in for an oil change, you can ask the technicians to check the belt/s. They’ll be able to inform you of whether it needs to be changed or if it’s still okay.
4. Heed the Warning Lights
Vehicles have check engine lights for a reason, though they may strike anxiety in the hearts of many drivers. When any warning light turns on, it would be prudent to head over to your mechanic to get it checked out. Many times, it can be an inexpensive repair, but if ignored, can lead to a more expensive one.
5. Know the Signs of a Dying Battery
A dead battery is a common cause of an unexpected car breakdown. Car batteries are meant to last between 3-5 years, at which point you should expect to purchase a replacement.
When a battery is dying, you may notice the engine may spin more slowly when ignition is turned or a clicking sound when you turn the car on and/or the engine may respond sluggishly. You may also notice that your headlights are dimmer than usual. These are all signs that you should get to a reputable repair facility and have the starting/charging system tested. The battery may have to be replaced, but you want to make sure the starter isn’t drawing too much amperage and the alternator is producing the proper voltage and amperage.
Interested In Preventing Car Breakdowns? Bring Your Vehicle In!
For any drivers that are concerned about a potential vehicle breakdown, it is highly recommended to get their vehicle inspected by trusted technicians. At Northwest Auto Center, we strive to keep our clients safely on the road and we can/do provide a range of preventable vehicle maintenance items to ensure you’re not left stranded.
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