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Top 8 Reasons For Breakdowns


There is quite simply never a convenient time for your car to experience a fault, so whether you’re just popping into town to pick up a few things for tea, or on your way to an important business meeting, you can guarantee you’ll feel the stress of a car breakdown!

Here are our top ten breakdowns causes – being aware of them is one of the best ways to save you the time, stress and money of a breakdown.

1.Flat Battery

Your car battery can go flat for a number of reasons, such as sudden cold weather, old age and loss of voltage which can happen if you only ever make short trips, but whatever the reason, there are very rarely any warning signs until you turn your key in the ignition and get no response!

During your annual service your battery should be checked by a mechanic, ensuring all your clamps and connections are secure and all the terminals are cleaned and protected with a layer of grease. But if you only make short journeys, it is advisable to give your battery a full charging every 2 to 4 weeks to help it keep its charge.


If your car overheats mid-journey, it can be really worrying – not to mention frustrating as you’ll have to pull over at the side of the road and wait for assistance! The most common reason for overheating, however, is one that is very easily avoided – low coolant levels. Your car needs coolant to circulate the engine and remove the heat, and without it your car will soon get too hot to function.

Keeping an eye on your coolant level is quick and easy, and although it will be checked during your annual service, it’s a good idea to check it every month or so to ensure it doesn’t get too low – especially in the summer months! Simply topping it up so that it remains at the optimal level can save you hours of waiting by the roadside for recovery.

3.Flat Tyres

There’s not a lot you can do to avoid a puncture caused by debris in the road – but debris is only one of the things that can cause damage. For example if you bump the kerb whilst parking or regularly drive along roads with pot holes you can create a slow puncture that will eventually lead to a flat tyre – so remember to take care of your tyres while out and about.

Another cause of flat tyres is letting the tyre pressure get too low. This can cause wear to the wrong parts of your tyre tread, making it dangerous to drive which will result in an MOT fail. But you can keep an eye on your tyre pressures yourself by using the tyre inflator and pressure gauge at your local petrol station.

4.Clutch Cables

Your clutch cables are one of the components that experience most use and wear, and constant strain can put them under great pressure resulting in abrasions on the strands that will worsen until they break.

Very often, there are no noticeable symptoms to tell you the cables are on their way out, which can result in them breaking suddenly in the middle of a journey. The best way to avoid this is with regular, professional servicing. Your mechanic should be able to assess the condition of the cables and will recommend replacing them when they begin to wear.

5.Spark Plugs

Your spark plugs are the device that sends the spark to start your engine when you first turn your key, and if they break your car will simply not be able to start.

In your car manual, there will be manufacturer’s advice on how often you should change your spark plugs, and it’s essential you follow this to ensure your car starts every time.

6.Starter Motors

Starter motor faults will result in a failure to start the engine, and can be the result of many different things, including commutator problems, worn bearings and jammed gears. The fault can be difficult to diagnose f you’re not an expert, so it’s essential that you have it assessed by your local garage.

It may simply be that you need a small component replacing, or it could be a large problem and you’ll need a new starter motor.

7.High-Tension Leads

High-Tension (HT) leads are the cables that connect the components of the engine, and over time both the leads and the connections can deteriorate and fray. Dirt and damp can then enter the small cracks in the cable and cause it to affect the ignition of the car.

If this is the problem, then a simple spray of WD-40 can help to protect the cables and keep them working temporarily, but it’s essential you have them replaced as soon as possible by a qualified mechanic to ensure that your car continues to run.

8.Fuel Issues

One of the worst things you can do to your car is fill it up with the wrong fuel. This is more likely if you’re used to driving a petrol car and swap to diesel, but it’s surprising how many car owners manage to fill up their vehicles with the wrong fuel!

If this happens, hopefully you’ll notice before you start the engine and be able to call a specialist to drain the tank and flush the system before it damages your engine.

Some of the most common reasons for breakdowns can be avoided if you stay on top of your annual maintenance and ensure any slight issues or warning lights are assessed and remedied by a professional as soon as possible. The expert team here at Tyres Northampton provide cost-effective MOT tests and servicing to keep your vehicle on the road –  give us a call to discuss any issues you’re having or to book your MOT test today.


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