October 21, 2016
Common Autumn breakdown reasons 0
Alas, we’re now well into the year’s second highest breakdown season. Not quite as brutal on our cars as winter obviously, but this is the season when our motors really start to feel the pinch as the temperatures plummet and the roads become more unforgiving. Here are the most common reasons why cars break down over the next few months and the steps you can take to avoid them.
Car batteries have it easy in the summer, but from October onwards, rapidly dropping temperatures and the sudden strain on the car’s electrical systems mean that any potential faults soon become apparent. A battery that was starting to fail over the summer months will almost definitely die once autumnal weather starts to bite.
If your car’s motor whirrs lethargically, or if the lights seem dim (and get fainter when you start using more electrical systems), the battery is starting to die. Try topping it up, but if there’s no difference, replace it. It’s just not worth leaving it to chance.
Checking your oil is essential, but many of us often neglect to check our water and anti-freeze levels. If you’ve recently bought a new vehicle, make sure you have well stocked levels, otherwise the first frozen morning you’ll end up cracking your engine block.
Think about topping up the water level with some anti-freeze, or alternatively get a tester device from a motoring store.
The danger of leaves
Leaves get all over the place at this time of year. They can quite easily get sucked into vital air inlets which cause engines to overheat, so it’s a good habit to clear them from the front of your car regularly. If your windscreen starts to steam up for no apparent reason, then leaves or other foliage could have blocked the inlets just beneath the windscreen – the small chamber where the bottom of the wiper arms are. It’s a good idea to open the bonnet fairly regularly during autumn as it’s very likely you’ll find an accumulation of leaf mulch in there. A good clear out will prevent any mysterious electrical problems or water accumulation.
We’ve already mentioned the battery which is taxed heavily by the car’s electrical systems but there can be all sorts of little niggly issues which raise their heads once we move into autumn and the weather gets wetter. Modern cars can have their diagnostics checked by a quick trip to the dealership. It’s worth doing this sooner rather than later, if there’s any doubt.
Don’t neglect your lights and windscreen wipers either. They don’t get used much in summer so any problems they might be harbouring won’t be immediately apparent. In autumn, they’ll get a lot of seasonal use so now is the time to get them checked out. Worn wipers are dangerous.
It’s also worth checking your tyres and bulbs, the police will readily stop you if you have a bulb out. This isn’t a breakdown in itself, but it’s a safety concern that you have a responsibility to address.