Don’t Go Breakin’ My Car! Common Reasons Your Car Breaks Down


There is always something wrong our cars, isn’t there? While we all have minor quibbles with our vehicles, in the past 100 years of driving, there has been the one problem that we dread, the breakdown. Is there nothing more frustrating and inconvenient than breaking down on the way to work (although you may not have to go to work!)? What are the most common causes of breakdowns on the road? Here we go. Brace yourself…


Flat Or Faulty Battery

The most common cause of breakdown is a battery fault, and this is especially so in the winter. If you don’t make many long journeys, your car doesn’t have an opportunity to charge up. You can charge it overnight every couple of weeks or so.

Damaged Tires

There are things you need to do on a regular basis to check that your tires are still in good condition:

  1. Check the tread depth, if you can see that the tire wear is uneven, this could mean that your wheels are misaligned. Either take your car to a tire specialist or speak to a mechanic like Powerhouse Diesel to examine what needs to be done to realign your tires.
  2. Keep a spare wheel which has plenty of tread on it and is inflated ready for use.
  3. A lot of modern cars now only have a tire inflator and a sealant kit. Make sure that you have a jack that is in good working condition as well as any tools you need to remove the wheel, such as a locking wheel nut adapter.
  4. Knowing what tire pressure your tires should be is an essential too. If you are driving with heavier loads than you used to, you will need to adjust the pressure to cope with the change.
  5. If you have been in a minor car accident or a tire has hit a curb, this can be enough to knock the car alignment. Always get it checked after a bump, no matter how minor!

The Alternator

If your battery is constantly running into problems and you are experiencing dim headlights when the engine is idle, this could mean a problem with the alternator. The belt which drives the alternator and water pump can break too, but if this occurs, the ignition warning light should come on. Do not restart your engine if this is the case!

Fuel Issues

We sometimes aren’t thinking, and before we know it, we’ve put the wrong fuel in! The fuel can be drained, but make sure you call a professional to do it.

The Starter Motor & Spark plugs

This is unlikely with most starter motors, they can fail on occasion. Getting your car serviced regularly should flag up any issues before they become major problems. The same applies to spark plugs. Regular servicing will help recognize if a spark plug will wear out.

High Tension Leads

HT leads will wear with age which can cause issues with starting the car. You can use damp-repellant sprays like WD-40, but if you are having problems starting the car, checking with a mechanic will isolate the problem.