The top three reasons cars breakdown... and how to prevent them.

The top three reasons cars breakdown… and how to prevent them.

Most people only see the mechanic when there’s a problem. They only stop by when they hear a noise when something feels off, or, worse, when they break down. This kind of unplanned, reactive maintenance has many costs that can be avoided with simple planning. Preventative maintenance extends car life, ensures your ride is safe and saves you money in the long run. Here are the top three reasons people break down, and some simple ways you can prevent it from happening to you.

Tire Damage

One of the most common causes of roadside breakdowns is tire damage. As the only point of contact between the road and your car, tires tend to wear quickly and have a big impact on a vehicle’s overall health and safety. You should be having your tires rotated, aligned, and inspected. You can also monitor your tire health at home by tracking your tread depth, maintaining the correct tire pressure, and visually inspecting your tires for irregular wear and damage on a regular basis. All of this will help you keep your tires in tip-top shape and alert you when it’s time to replace them… before it’s too late.

Engine Issues

Your check engine light can be triggered by any number of things-- a loose gas cap, a broken fuel injector, a sudden leak, a broken manifold. Even if your car seems like its driving just fine, you should still investigate the problem and see a mechanic as soon as possible. Neglecting a minor issue could lead to bigger, and more expensive, problems down the road; you may be wasting fuel, putting out lots of pollution, or damaging the engine without even realizing it. You should take your car in for regular “check-ups” a few times a year so your mechanic can run a diagnostic test and make sure your engine is in good condition. Most people like to come in for a “check-up” as the seasons change, when they need to get their A/C or heater checked anyway, or when they stop in for an oil change.

Battery failure

Most premature car battery failures are caused by the loss of water for the battery’s normal recharging charging, either from a lack of maintenance, evaporation from high-under hood heat, or overcharging. Make sure to have your battery serviced regularly, especially in hot weather or if you notice it’s taking longer and longer to turn the engine over. Corrosion is another common cause of battery issues, where a white, cakey powder builds up around your battery terminals. Contrary to popular belief, corrosion cannot make your battery catch fire, but it can keep your car from starting. You should be checking your engine fluids periodically anyway so, when you do, take a look at your battery and check for build up around the battery terminals. If you do this regularly, you should be able to just wipe it away with a cloth or paper towel instead of performing a deep clean. If you notice excessive buildup between cleans, you should call your mechanic.

At V&F

At V&F, our number one priority is keeping you safe on the road. Since 1988, our family owned and operated service center has been providing top quality auto repair services to Agawam, Feeding Hills, Southwick, West Springfield and the surrounding Massachusetts communities. Our team is focused on making sure your car avoids costly repairs and breakdowns. V&F can help you create an appropriate maintenance schedule that considers your vehicle’s age, your driving habits, and the manufacturer’s recommendation. Call us at (413)314-2280, or schedule an appointment online.

Written by Nicole Palange