reasons for a car breakdownReasons for a car breakdown

Top 10 reasons for a car breakdown

Many reasons for a car breakdown are easy to avoid. For instance, 20% of all breakdowns are caused by a flat battery and 10% by lost keys?

What are the reasons for a car breakdown?

You can never be sure when a car will have a problem. True the older the car, the more reasons for a car to breakdown but newer cars are just as capable developing a problem.

No driver should leave home without having your car break down can be an annoying and stressful experience.

What are the reasons for a car breaking down? You can see below that many of the top ten cause for the breakdown services being called out could happen to any car.

1. Flat or faulty battery – 20%

  • If you drive a lot of short journeys with a fair amount of stopping and starting this will eventually drain the battery. To avoid getting a flat battery, take the car for a decent longer run in the daylight – preferably without using lights, wipers and heating. A longer drive will give the battery the opportunity to recharge.

2. Lost keys – 10%

  • Have two sets of car keys and keep them in separate places. Replacement keys are available through main dealers.

3. Flat tyre or damaged wheel – 5%

4. Distributor cap – 3%

  • The distributor cap covers the distributor that routes high voltage to the spark plugs. If this cap is damaged then in damp conditions, you could get a short circuit, stopping the spark from reaching the spark plug.

5. Alternator faults – 3%

  • The alternator recharges the battery using power from the engine and also provides power to the car’s electrical components. The alternator could become faulty or have a bad connection.

6. Fuel issues – 3%

  • Running out of petrol is avoidable, as is putting the wrong fuel in the car. If the incorrect fuel goes in the tank, don’t start the engine! This error need not escalate to pandemic engine damage.

7. Clutch cables – 3%

  • The clutch cable operates each time you change gear. Eventually, the cable will fail.

8. Spark plugs – 3%

  • Spark plugs produce an electrical spark that ignites the fuel and air in the engine, causing the pistons to move up and down. They do wear out and should be changed when your car has its regular servicing.

9. HT (high tension) leads – 3%

  • These carry the spark from the ignition system to the spark plugs. They will eventually wear out and fail without warning.

10. Starter motor – 3%

  • The starter motor uses electricity from the battery to turn and start the engine when the car is switched on by the driver. If it fails, the car won’t start, and you will be stranded. Be aware this happens to drivers from their home; the breakdown services refer to this as a home start, which is usually a bolt on to their standard policies.

(Percentages are approximate and taken from the RAC Foundation)

Winter is the worst time of the year for car breakdowns

This infographic is showing the top 5 causes of winter car breakdowns by the RAC Breakdown Cover specialists.
Get breakdown cover from the RAC

Useful links should your car breakdown

Highway Code What to do to keep safe in a car breakdown

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