Top 5 Roadside Incidents and How to Prevent Them
Besides accidents, a failure to maintain your car is another huge factor that contributes to roadside breakdowns. From tire tread to brake pads, making sure that each of your car’s parts is functioning at its best definitely reduces your chance of getting stranded on the side of the road. Here are the top 5 common breakdown incidents and how to prevent them.
1) Running on Empty
Running out of gas can definitely trigger a car breakdown. It’s also bad for your car. According to car mechanics, habitually running your car on low gas levels (aka on fumes) or running on empty messes up your car’s catalytic converter. Therefore, preventative refueling can save you from expensive repairs down the road. A good rule of thumb is to keep your tank no less than ¼ full.
2) Brake Problems
Brakes are probably your #1 protection on the road but it’s all too common to go lax on brake maintenance. Change brake fluid every 2-3 years or however often your owner’s manual says. It’s also a good idea to have a vehicle technician check out your brake pads and rotors at least twice a year. On average, your car’s brake pads need to be replaced after every 50,000 miles. Some models require more frequent brake pad replacement. Aggressive driving habits can also contribute to to break wear. Tailgating and slamming on the brakes can shorten the shelf life of your brakes, while giving cars space and gradually braking can make your brakes last longer.
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3) Transmission Issues
Many people are great at checking their oil levels and getting oil changes, but fail to check one very important fluid: the transmission fluid. Your transmission is one of the most expensive car parts to replace. Basic repairs to it can cost from $500-1500, while a total replacement can cost $1800 to $3500. Considering the steep fees of these repairs, you should pay extra attention to maintaining your transmission. Make sure to regularly check your transmission fluid along with the other fluids in your car. If your transmission is running on low (or no) fluid, it can cause engine trouble and/or worn out gears.
4) Flat Tires and Low Tread
Not only can you boost your gas mileage by 3%, keeping your tires at the correct air pressure can help you avoid flat tire incidents. Air pressure isn’t the only thing to check for on your tires, though. Make sure to regularly check the tread depth on your tires. One easy way to do this is the quarter method. Simply take a quarter and wedge it in between your tire grooves, with Washington’s head facing down. If the tire tread covers the top part of his head, then you should have about 1/8 inch of tread left. If the tire tread covers up any more than that, you should schedule a car appointment and check into replacing them as soon as possible.
5) Engine Trouble
The engine is another essential and expensive car part you want to pay special attention to. Regular maintenance is a great way to prevent an overheated engine or an engine that won’t start. One easy way to maintain your engine is to regularly inspect belts and hoses, to look for cracks or areas that appear softer. Hose leaks are a frequent issue with engines. Be sure to also check your car’s fluids. Dirty or low coolant levels can cause overheating. Check your car’s battery too, to make sure that it isn’t low and that it doesn’t have corroded or loose battery cables. Yet another thing to check is that fuel filter isn’t clogged.
Source: CBS News , Tire Buyer, Cars Direct