Vehicle repairs are a nasty fact of life. It never fails that your vehicle will break down at the most inopportune moment. But, you need your car or truck, so what do you do?
Some of the most common reasons for a vehicle breakdown can be repaired quickly and easily. Certain issues, such as a flat tire, can be fixed, albeit temporarily, by switching the flat tire for your car’s spare. This will get you home or to a tire shop and off the side of the road. But other vehicle breakdowns are a little more complicated, requiring you to have some knowledge of auto repair or if all else fails, a good repairman.
The top nine reasons for a vehicle breakdown are:
Bad battery—this is more common in winter months when cold temperatures can damage batteries.
Alternators—the alternator is responsible for generating the power your vehicle uses after the battery has started the engine. If your alternator is bad, your car can run off the battery, at least, until the battery is fully drained.
Starter—this part is responsible for turning over the engine when you turn the key. Without a starter, you won’t be able to start the engine.
Fuel pump or filter—without a pump to bring gas from your tank to your engine, you won’t be able to run the car. Some fuel pumps live inside your tank, while others are in-line between your tank and engine. And, if your fuel filter is clogged, you won’t get enough gas to the engine, causing it to misfire or to not start.
Transmission problems—the transmission shifts gears as your car increases in speed. If you’re having issues with your transmission, you’ll probably feel surging in the car or jerking when the transmission shifts. In manual transmission vehicles, there are additional parts, such as the clutch and cables, that will experience wear as well.
Brakes—without breaks, you’ll have no way to stop your vehicle. These are things that need regular replacement, and if you can’t do it yourself, you’ll need to take your vehicle to someone who can. Brakes should be replaced when worn; often, you’ll hear a squealing or scraping sound when they need replacement.
Running out of gas—this is one of the top vehicle breakdowns because it’s extremely common. Many people like to keep their gas tank at least half full all the time to help prevent this issue.
Tires—besides getting flat tires, you’ll also get tire wear. Tires are rated for X number of miles, but that doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed for that long. Test your tire tread using a penny. Insert the penny with Lincoln’s head facing the inner part of the tire; if you have tire tread partly covering his head, your tire tread is still okay.
Spark plugs/wires/oxygen sensors—these parts, with the exception of the O2 sensors, deliver the electrical power to your engine cylinders instructing them to fire. If you have a bad spark plug or wire, you might feel a misfire of your engine. The O2 sensors can also cause your engine to run improperly.
Some of these issues can be fixed at home if you’re so inclined. Brakes and spark plugs are probably the top two vehicle repair issues addressed at home. But with the newer vehicles on the market today, changing your own spark plugs and wires has become more difficult. If you’re not confident you can affect these repairs on your own, it’s best to seek a qualified automotive repair technician.
If you have an imported vehicle like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, or Porsche, it might be difficult finding a qualified technician to repair your car.
Vehicle repair doesn’t have to be a real nightmare. Do your research and check into several places in your area. Read reviews posted online and ask your friends for recommendations. Once you find an excellent automotive technician, you won’t have to worry so much when your vehicle breaks down.