Our cars are an essential part of our daily lives, but breakdowns can happen to any of us - and usually at the worst possible times.
It’s really a matter of when - not if - something will go wrong with your car, and being prepared for it will take some of the stress out of the unexpected. So before you head out, here are our top tips on what to do when your car breaks down:
Before you get on the road
Ensure you have roadside assistance before heading out. Most new cars and some secondhand cars come with this service, but if yours doesn’t it is worth the investment. Taking the initiative to join is generally much cheaper than signing up on the day your car breaks down. You’ll avoid taking up a more expensive offer in the stress of the moment, plus you’ll know that assistance won’t be far away should you ever need it.
Before your car breaks down
Most of the time, your car will give some indication that there’s a problem before completely breaking down. Try to be aware of what’s happening; is there an unusual noise or vibration? Is the car overheating? What dash lights/indicators are on? Is there steam or even smoke coming from the bonnet? All this information will help roadside assistance or your mechanic to get you back on the road as soon as possible.
As your car breaks down
If your car begins to stall, try to pull over to the side of the road and as soon as it’s safe to do so. Put your hazard lights on and raise your car bonnet to make your car more visible to other drivers. If you’re on a highway, be careful about getting out of your car and keep an eye on the moving traffic. If it’s night, put your car’s internal lights on, to make you more visible to oncoming traffic.
After your car breaks down
Once you are safely parked and out of the way of traffic, call for roadside assistance and wait inside your vehicle. Keep the number of your roadside assistance saved in your mobile phone or noted in your cars manual. You may not be able to Google this information if you break down in an area with poor reception. If your mobile phone isn’t working, seek help from passing drivers. If you are in a very remote area it’s important that you stay with your car, rather than leaving in search of assistance.
Most importantly, prepare for the unexpected by having an emergency kit ready in your car. Include things like a first aid kit, jumper leads, a good spare tire, socket wrench and jack plus water and a warm coat. Then in the unexpected event that your car does break down, you’ll have peace of mind that you are as prepared as possible to get through this mishap with ease.