Common car breakdown problems (and how to avoid them)

10 tips

How to avoid breaking down in your car. Follow these useful tips and simple car checks…

1. Look after your battery

A flat or failing battery is the biggest cause of car breakdown.

Keep your battery in tip top condition by turning off lights and interior electrics before you switch off the ignition.

If you make a lot of short journeys, try to go for a longer trip once a fortnight.

2. Keep your car regularly serviced

Make a date in your diary for the next time your service is due. 

Regular car maintenance and servicing can help your car's critical components last longer and find anything that's failing before it causes your car to break down.

3. Take care of your tyres

Your car's tyres can effect fuel economy as well as performance. 

Having the correct tyre pressure can keep you safe on the road, as well as saving you money. 

Check your tread depth regularly and look for any damage to your tyres - including your spare.

4. Regularly check fluid levels

Checking your engine's fluid levels regularly can make your car run smoother and last longer.

Make sure your oil, coolant and washer fluid are at the right levels and consistency and top them up if needed.

5. Prepare for bad weather

See and be seen clearer by regularly checking your car lights and wiper blades.

Make sure your lights are clean and free from cracks, and your wiper blades are smear free - replace them if they are worn or split.

6. Remember to fill up

It may sound simple but making sure you have enough fuel for your journey will mean less chance of having to call for breakdown recovery.

When you fill up double check you're using the right fuel - the wrong type can cause a lot of damage.

7. Get to know your dashboard

You don't have to be a mechanic to know when something is wrong.

Understand what your dashboard lights mean and check they're all working.

If there's a problem, your dashboard lights should warn you in advance.

8. Know how to change a wheel

It might not sound exciting but practise using your jack and wheel brace so if you do get a flat tyre you'll know where they're kept and how they're used.

If you have locking wheel nuts don't forget to keep the locking key somewhere safe in your car.

9. Don't forget your keys

It makes sense to take good care of your car keys.

Replace them as soon as they show signs of wear and if they have batteries, change them regularly.

We all make mistakes so keep a spare key somewhere safe - but not in your car.

10. Act on noises and leaks

Get to know what your car sounds like and recognise its rattles and squeaks.

If you hear a new noise or notice any leaks on your driveway take it to a garage for a car check.

Find out more about RAC Breakdown Cover.


If your MOT is due or if you would like to book your vehicle in for a full car service, you can book online with your local RAC Approved Garage today.