Breaking down on the side of the road is a worst-case scenario for many drivers, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar area or the weather isn’t cooperating. Breakdowns are even more horrifying when they happen again and again, repeatedly placing you and your passengers in potentially dangerous situations.
To help you discover the source of your car’s issue, we’ve listed several of the big reasons why your car might keep breaking down. Review the following information to determine if you can fix the issue to avoid further complications on the road.
You’re Working with a Faulty Battery
According to the AA, battery faults are the most common cause of car breakdowns, especially during the winter. Different types of car batteries require different kinds of attention, but in general, if your battery is silent or the starting motor is making funny noises, you’re facing a faulty or flat battery.
If your battery isn’t providing enough power, your car will continue to run into issues. You’ll need to purchase a replacement battery to fix the root of the problem. You may also want to check your car’s battery terminals for signs of corrosion that can build up over time.
Generally, it’s recommended to replace your battery every three years – but this number can depend on a number of factors.
Your Tires Are in Bad Shape
Although your vehicle may seem brand new at a rudimentary glance, have you examined your tires recently? Flat tires caused by road punctures and potholes can seriously affect the way your car runs, even if you don’t notice the problem right away.
The less you maintain your tires, the more likely you are to experience hassles like breakdowns. Check your tires regularly to ensure that the tread depth is at least 1.6mm and that there are no visible signs of damage.
Another thing you need to pay attention to is your wheel alignment. Also referred to as your tracking, this is a standard part of car maintenance that involves adjusting the angles of your wheels to be in accordance with what’s safe and standard.
Schedule a professional wheel alignment with a mechanic at least every two to three years, maybe more often if you drive a sports car or live in a place with poorly maintained roads.
Your Vehicle Might Be a “Lemon”
Experiencing repeated problems and breakdowns with your vehicle? You might have a “lemon” on your hands. A lemon is a vehicle that has manufacturing issues that continuously affect its safety and drivability.
If the car is still under warranty, you could potentially receive compensation from your manufacturer because they sold you a faulty product. But what do you do if you bought a used vehicle and it turns out to be a defective?
While many states only have lemon law for new vehicles, some cover used vehicles as well.
For instance, if you live in California, used vehicles are eligible for lemon benefits – as long as they’re still under the dealer or manufacturer warranty. However, states like California have restrictions on used cars. If this is your situation, the law isn’t exactly black and white – you would need to seek out a specialized California lemon law lawyer to assess your case.
There Are Hidden Electrical Problems
There’s a whole range of circuits running through your car. The electrical system handles everything from turning on your headlights to working the stereo, and when that system isn’t working properly, you could run into more serious problems – like break downs.
As cars experience more and more innovation, electrical problems are becoming more complex – and more common. It’s not usually a problem an average driver can identify and fix on their own, and although you can try the classic “turn it off and back on” strategy, that doesn’t always work.
Whether it’s a burned-out bulb or faulty wiring, hidden electrical problems are difficult to deal with. You’ll need a trained mechanic to run a full analysis of your system to provide proper advice on what next steps to take.
The Clutch Cable Is Under Too Much Pressure
If you’re part of the 18 percent of Americans that can still drive a manual transmission, and you’re experiencing frequent breakdowns, it’s time to examine the cable clutch. It might be the culprit behind your multiple breakdowns.
Whenever you change gears while driving, that cable endures pressure, and over time, it can wear out. This is especially common if you don’t put the car in neutral while waiting at traffic lights. Pay attention to the way your clutch pedal feels. Has its feel changed recently?
A broken cable is a serious problem – if you suspect it’s burnt or broken, contact professional help immediately to avoid future problems.
You’re Using the Wrong Fuel
As silly as it might sound, Defaqto reported in 2018 that every four minutes, a driver fills their car up with the wrong type of fuel. This seems like a fairly harmless mistake, but in reality, fueling your car with the wrong substance can certainly lead to a breakdown.
Additionally, the incorrect fuel type can wreak havoc on your engine, causing long-term damage and forcing you to make extremely expensive repairs.
If you do make the mistake of filling your car up with the wrong fuel, immediately after, remove the keys from the ignition and put the car in neutral. Call for roadside assistance – don’t try to drive the vehicle to a maintenance shop or you’ll risk increasing the damage.
The Transmission Is Blown
Hearing strange sounds before your car stalls? Experiencing erratic, strange performance on the road? You could be dealing with a blown transmission.
Although poor design and manufacturing problems can doom your transmission, your driving habits can also destroy it. Drivers who are constantly stopping and going in city traffic often blow their transmission faster than expected.
Pay attention to weird vibrations or odd shifting in your car. As soon as you suspect that something has gone wrong with your transmission, seek professional help. It’s unsafe to drive a car that is chugging, shaking, or jumping gears without warning.
To Sum It All Up
Hopefully, this list has helped you narrow down your potential problems and identify where your car’s malfunctions lie. Our recommendation is always to obtain a professional opinion so you know the car you’re driving is safe and reliable.