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Top 5 Vehicle Breakdown Causes

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Vehicle rescue and recovery patrols are trained to deal with a comprehensive range of breakdown problems at the roadside. It is however the more preventable causes of vehicle breakdowns that garner the most calls for assistance. These are breakdown issues that, with a bit of foresight and planned maintenance, can be avoided in their entirety.

Here are the 5 most common problems breakdown cover providers have to deal with:

  1. Flat Battery / Faulty Battery -- Many of us have been there. We go to the car in the morning, turn the key and are greeted with a slow whopping of the starter motor, or worse, silence. If you've not got a set of jump leads (and a willing 'donor' car), or a car battery recharger to hand, the next best thing you can do is call for breakdown assistance.

    Loss of voltage caused by short journeys is a frequent cause of flat batteries. To prevent your car battery running flat take the car on a longer journey every week. If this is not possible, a fortnightly overnight charge of the battery will do the trick.

    Loose and corroded terminal or clamp connections cause problems too. To prevent these issues from causing you breakdown problems periodically check that connections are secure. After each service make sure that there is a good layer of grease on terminal and clamp connections too. This will protect against corrosion.

  2. Flat tyres -- A vast number of vehicle breakdown call outs are for assistance in changing tyres and replacing damaged wheels. Whilst the call outs are understandable, the cause of tyre failure is often preventable.

    Under inflated tyres for the car's load are a prime cause of tyre failure. To prevent this from becoming an issue tyre pressure should be checked regularly. Use a tyre inflation pump and monitor to achieve the correct pressure. If a tyre is constantly losing pressure over time it may be that you have a slow puncture and need the tyre replacing.

  3. Alternator -- The alternator is a vital component in your vehicle. It generates an alternating electrical current from your vehicle's mechanical power and distributes it to the battery and other electrical components, such as headlamps, windscreen wipers and your car radio. If the alternator is not working properly your car battery does not charge. This drops the voltage of your battery to a level that is insufficient to run the engine, and so the engine cuts out.

    While there is little you can do to maintain the alternator yourself, you can watch out for signs that tell you when your alternator is faulty. Look out for a flickering of your battery warning light on the dashboard for instance, and keep an eye out for dimmed headlamps and dimmed dashboard lights when the engine is idling. A slowing of your windscreen wipers could indicate alternator problems too.

  4. Starter motor -- If the starter motor fails your engine won't start. Regular garage maintenance can help highlight faults with the starter motor so it doesn't become a breakdown issue.

  5. Fuel -- Every year hundreds of thousands of people put the wrong type of fuel into their cars or simply run out of fuel at the side of the road. If you think ahead and put in place a system that will help you to remember which fuel to put in the car, like a colour-coded sticker on the inside of filler flap for example, you can avoid these issues altogether.

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