Top 10 Causes of a Broken Down Car

Written By Alla Levin
June 06, 2018
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Causes of a Broken Down Car

If you’re about to embark on a long road trip, the last thing you want is a broken-down car. Check out these ten causes of car breakdowns to ensure this doesn’t happen to you. Click here for more info!

There are few better ways to enjoy a warm summer day than with a fun road trip.

But whether you’re trekking across the country or just across town for the day, nothing puts an end to a road trip faster than your car breaking down.

To help make sure that you don’t spend your next road trip stuck on the side of the road, keep reading.

We’re bringing you the top 10 causes of a broken-down car so that you can ensure they don’t happen to you and you know what to do when your car broke down.

Flat Tires

On average, there are seven tire punctures in the United States every second.

Flat, damaged, or shredded tires account for more than 27 percent of roadside emergencies, making it the second most common form of a roadside emergency, after issues related to car motors.

While you can’t do much to avoid a flat tire caused by driving over a nail or a bad pothole that you didn’t see coming, you can help reduce the chance of a flat by replacing your tires when they begin to wear.

Car Broke Down: Starter MotorBroken Down Car

We all know someone who has that old, well-used car that just keeps on running. But even if you’ve had no issues with it in the past, eventually parts are going to start breaking down.

One important piece that will go is the starter motor, and when it does, you’ll be stuck.

Regular maintenance will help you know before this motor goes out so you can fix it without delaying your next road trip and avoid your car broke down.

Engine Overheating

Another common problem that can leave your car broken down on the side of the road is your engine overheating.

This is especially common when the temperatures start to rise.

Engines overheat for a number of reasons. You could have a leak in the cooling system, blocked hoses, a broken water pump, or it could be an issue with your radiator.

Overheating is usually only an issue with older vehicles. If you perform regular maintenance on your vehicle, overheating is unlikely to become an issue.

Learn more about the routine maintenance you should be performing on your BMW here.

If you notice your car’s temperature indicator on the dashboard rising, the best thing you can do is shut off your air conditioner and open your windows.

Faulty Alternator7 tire punctures

As we mentioned before, a dead battery can sometimes be the result of your car’s alternator not doing its job.

The alternator’s job is to keep your battery running. While it will last longer than your battery, it may still need to be replaced once it gets close to 7 years old or 100,000 to 150,000 miles.

While there’s no need to replace your alternator if there’s nothing wrong with it, there are other ways to prevent it from falling during your road trip.

Oftentimes, there are signs that an alternator is going out, such as your headlights pulsing brighter than usual or an odd squealing noise coming from your car.

Electrical Problemsnavigational systems

It’s no secret that cars are getting smarter. Now, car radios feature HD screens, navigational systems are built right in, and cars are even equipped with the ability to take over control of the wheel to avoid an accident.

But the more tech you add to a vehicle, the more potential there is for something to go wrong.

Electrical issues can cause your vehicle not to start or can be more minor, like issues with your radio or navigation system.

Slipping or Burned Out Clutch

If your car has a manual transmission, another common cause of a car breakdown is slipping or burned out a clutch.

Unfortunately, knowing exactly when a clutch is going to need to be replaced is almost impossible to estimate.

Clutches have been known to last more than 100,000 miles. But on some vehicles, they may need to be replaced after just 20,000 to 50,000 miles.

Spark Plug Break Down

Some common car breakdown reasons can be easily avoided if you take your vehicle in for regular maintenance and care. This is one such reason.

Spark plugs wear out and break down. If they do so while you’re on the road, you’ll experience a loss of power, bad fuel economy, and difficulty starting your vehicle.

Using the Wrong FuelUsing the Wrong Fuel

When you’re enjoying a road trip with friends or family, it can be easy to get distracted when you get to the pump.

But if you’re like the thousands of other unlucky drivers who accidentally put the wrong fuel in their car, you could be left stranded, or worse.

If you realize you’ve used the wrong fuel before you leave the gas station, stay put. You’ll need to have your tank emptied and flushed by a professional to avoid damaging your vehicle.

Dead Battery

A dead battery can put a quick halt to your road trip. Unless you carry a jumper box in your trunk to recharge it, you’ll be left needing a jump from a friend or a helpful stranger before you can get back on the road.

Besides replacing your car battery, there are a few other things you can do to avoid your car breaking down as a result of a dead battery.

The heat of the sun beating down on your car can drain an older battery. When possible, park in a garage or in the shade if you’ll be leaving your car for a while.

If you usually only your car to hop around town, making lots of stops, then your battery is overdue for a road trip. Longer trips allow your car’s alternator to charge the battery, keeping it running.

Faulty or Failing Brakes Made Your Car Broke DownBroken Down Car

Perhaps the most critical issue you could experience on your next road trip is faulty or failing brakes.

If you’re lucky, this will leave you stranded. But it could also cause a very dangerous accident.

Regular service to your vehicle will help you know when your brakes need to be replaced.

Avoiding a Car Broke Down on Your Next Road Trip

Now that you know what you can do to avoid these top 10 causes of a broken down car, it’s time to start planning your road trip!

Start by checking out these three things you need to pack to make sure that your adventure is a success.

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