Vehicle breakdowns, are inconvenient, expensive and always seem to happen at the worst times. There is also a huge safety factor, getting way off to the side of the road, using flares, hazard flashers and having an emergency plan and equipment in the event of a breakdown is always a good idea.
According to AAA (American Automobile Association) has statistics that show in 2012 there were 125 million vehicles on U.S. roadways. In 2012 AAA assisted 28 million customers who had issues with their vehicles. 58% of those were able to be assisted at their location. The other vehicles were towed to a repair facility. Most of these breakdowns were preventable, such electrical or charging system problems, and a flat or blown tire(s) being the top two issues. Coming in a close 3rd are engine cooling system issues, that are evident by overheating or leaking.
The National Car Care Council runs Be Car Care Aware inspections throughout our country on a yearly basis. They state that 80% of the thousands of vehicles that are inspected each year, fail the basic safety inspection. Belts, hoses, fluids, filters, brakes, the charging system, and tires are some of the main items that are checked out during an inspection.
When basics of vehicle maintenance are not being performed this increases the chances of a vehicle breakdown or failure. Having at minimum your vehicle inspected on a semi-annual basis and performing the repairs or maintenance recommended will be the most reliable and cost effective way to avoid breakdowns.
Simple things to have inspected prior to driving especially on a road trip are:
Fluid Levels and Condition
Charging System Test
Exterior and Interior Lights
Air, Cabin Air and Fuel Filter
Keep in mind if you have a low level of fluid in any system, engine, cooling, power steering, brake or transmission, there is most likely a leak. We highly recommend having any leak repaired to prevent a further problem or potential damage to your vehicle.
This summer has been pretty long and hot, and we have seen a rash of blown head gaskets on vehicles. This is due to cooling systems that are either not being maintained properly and cooling system leaks not being repaired in a timely manner, or not shutting off the vehicle when the temperature starts to get to hot, and having it towed to a repair facility. Extreme overheating and/or multiple overheating of an engine can damage the head gasket, can crack the head(s), it can crack the engine block. The other issue we have seen quite a bit of this summer is engine failures, due to engines being run either on low oil or very dirty oil, that it is sludging either internally or in the oil pan causing an oil starvation issue with the engine.
Unfortunately, there are parts on our vehicles that can fail without warning, fuel pumps, alternators, and water pumps are some examples just to name a few. But most breakdowns are preventable so keep that vehicle inspected and repaired. It will save you time, money and frustration. Happy Motoring!
All About Automotive, Inc.