It doesn’t matter how new or old a car is, breakdowns happen and you need to be prepared for when they do. Here are the most common causes of vehicle breakdowns, what the symptoms are, and what you should do if they happen to you.
When a battery goes flat or doesn’t work as it should, the most common reasons are terminal and clamp connections, or a loss of voltage.
Signs your battery is the problem include the engine turning over but won’t start, your car displays no signs of life at all, or it starts one minute then it won’t. Unless you’ve got another car to help and a set of jump leads between you, you’ll need to call roadside assistance to get you going again. If the problem is mechanical, However, if the battery goes flat because you’ve left the lights other car functions on, you will be responsible for it, you can get a battery charger operative to re-charge the battery.
Often the cause of breakdowns is simply running out of fuel. Make sure you have plenty of fuel in the tank before embarking on your journey, and remember to refuel before the low fuel warning light comes on.
If your engine is turning over when you try and start your car, but there’s no spark to ignite the engine, there’s a good chance you’ve run out of fuel. Also, your dashboard fuel level indicator should be on. Unless there’s a petrol station within walking distance and your car is in a safe location, you’ll need to call roadside assistance.
These issues are becoming less of a problem with modern vehicles, so are more likely to happen in older cars. All of our rental vehicles have regular safety checks, are reliable and look great. The average of the vehicles in our fleet is just six months, as such mechanical problems are rare.
However, if your car is refusing to go into gear, there’s a burning smell, the gears are slipping, it’s noisy in neutral or it’s leaking fluid, chances are you have a transmission problem. If you feel the clutch slipping, vibrating, squealing or chirping, or you’re having gear change problems, chances are you’ve got problems with you clutch.
There are several reasons why your engine can overheat. The thermostat could be stuck, there’s a leak in the cooling system, a faulty water pump, a bad cooling fan or a clogged radiator. If you notice coolant fluid on your ground under the rental car, it won’t go for a few metres before overheating, or the temperature gauge is climbing whenever you drive, it’s time to call roadside assistance. Overheating can cause serious damage to the car if not treated immediately.
If your temperature gauge is in the red zone, the ‘check engine’ or ‘temperature’ dashboard light appears, or the radiator boils over and steam pours out from underneath the bonnet, stop immediately and seek roadside assistance.