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Three Ways to Prevent Auto Breakdowns

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Breaking down on the open road is a common fear for anyone who’s been on a road trip. Sure, auto breakdowns happen often on long road trips, but they can also happen when you’re going to the store or to work, and they are just as common and costly. Cars break down for many reasons, but there are a few typical car parts that fail more often for most car owners and cause breakdowns. There are several factors that make your car more likely to break down on the highway, costing you a bundle in towing and emergency repair fees.

Common Reasons For Automotive Failure | Auto Breakdowns

First, let’s look at a few car parts and systems that tend to fail more often than others:

  • Batteries—Problems with the battery can cause failure on shorter trips, especially in cold weather. You could have a poor electrical connection from your engine to your battery due to corrosion on the battery terminals, which can interrupt the electrical current and shut your engine down.
  • Damaged tires or wheels—Getting a flat tire isn’t technically an engine breakdown, but you’re still stuck on the side of the road. Most cars have spare tires, of course, and while you could learn how to change your tires yourself (it never hurts), you should also make sure that your wheels are aligned properly. If you notice uneven wear on your tires’ tread, this is a telltale sign of misalignment.
  • Starter motor—Most starter motors are very durable, but even the toughest of them fail eventually, usually near the end of a vehicle’s life.
  • Spark plugs—Corrosion can also interrupt the electrical current in your spark plugs.

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Preventative Auto Maintenance

These are common problems that leave thousands of cars broken down on the highway. Let’s take a look at three ways to prevent damage and corrosion of these parts and systems:

  1. Get your car checked regularly. You don’t need to take your car in every week, but visiting a mechanic is recommended certainly before you’re about to head out on a long road trip, if you’re experiencing any kind of problems driving, or every 3,000 miles or so. All of the above systems that tend to fail and cause breakdowns can be easily and inexpensively checked out and corrected before they become problematic.
  2. Change the oil. An oil change isn’t a panacea for all your car’s ills, but helping the engine run smoothly with the proper amount of oil heads off many common breakdown problems before they get out of control. Dirty, overused oil can cause corrosion on many parts of the engine and contributes to poor fuel economy.
  3. Fill your car with the proper gasoline. 150,000 drivers put the wrong kind of fuel in their car every year. Putting the completely wrong kind of fuel in a car (i.e. diesel in an unleaded tank, etc.) can cause serious problems as soon as you start the engine (and you’ll know there’s a problem), but putting the wrong octane fuel in your tank can cause long-term adverse effects for your engine, too.

A good rule of thumb is to visit your mechanic and make sure your oil and all your systems are working at optimal levels to prevent breakdowns. There will always be an element of uncertainty with breakdowns, but if you keep up on your maintenance, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of costly emergency breakdowns.

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