Is there anyone who actually enjoys a broken-down car? Probably not. Sure, you could try to find the positives in the situation. Maybe you broke down near a beautiful mountain vista and it gives you an excuse to explore. Maybe the problem is something that you know won’t break the bank, so you decide to make the best of it. This is all well and good, but we can all still agree that breaking down totally sucks.
And at B&B Towing and Recovery, we know this better than anyone — the lion’s share of our business comes from people whose cars have betrayed them, leaving them stuck and immobile. While it’s nice to have a company like us to come to the rescue, we wouldn’t blame you for just trying to avoid the entire situation in the first place.
While breakdowns are sometimes completely unexpected, they usually come down to a few common factors. If you want to prevent them from happening, it’s important to keep track of certain aspect of your car. Here are some things to look out for if you want to avoid the dreadful breakdown:
Listen For Squeaking Brake Pads
Shot brakes are, understandably, an extremely dangerous problem to have. And that’s why brake pads have a built-in indicator which warn drivers that they’re running thin. Are you starting to hear high-pitched squeaking when you brake? Well, that’s because your brake pads are starting to run out. Once they reach a certain thinness, a metal piece will start grinding against your wheel whenever you brake. This won’t affect your braking, but it’s a clear reminder that it’s time to replace your pads.
Bad brakes aren’t an insta-breakdown, but they can turn into something much worse. If your brakes fail when you least expect it, you’re in for a nasty, and potentially fatal surprise. If your breaks are extremely worn down, you might as well be stranded, because it’s too dangerous to drive your car.
Pay Attention to Your Battery
We know it’s not very helpful to say “pay attention to your battery,” because it’s not like you can just open up your hood and be like, “Hmm, yeah, looks fine.” Your battery quite often doesn’t show symptoms of weakness until it actually, well, gets weak.
However, there are certain signs that your battery may be dying on you. First, pay attention how your car acts in cold weather. Freezing temperatures are the bane of weakened batteries, and if your car has trouble starting up or it has idling issues in the cold, your battery might be reaching the end of its days.
And, of course, time is another thing to keep track of. Batteries have a functional life of two to five years. Once you’re in that range, consider the fact that it may soon be time for a replacement.
Keep an Eye On Your Lights
We wouldn’t blame you for wondering what the heck lights have to do with breaking down. Well, here it is — it’s all about your alternator. Your alternator, in a nutshell, is responsible for powering a lot of the electrical systems in your car, and it’s also necessary for starting up. Once your alternator has gone out, you’re a sitting duck unless you can get jumped (and even then, your car will just die again right when you turn it off).
Luckily, it’s really easy to keep track of your alternator’s health. First of all, you can just walk into any auto parts store and get it tested. This is a free service, akin to getting your engine light checked. There are devices which can discern whether or not an alternator is dying, so that’s the easiest way. But on a more day-to-day basis, keep an eye on your lights!
When your alternator starts to lose its power, it’ll have an effect on your headlights. If they look noticeably weaker than they used to be, it could be your alternator. It’s also possible for the same effect to manifest itself in your dome and dashboard lights.
Drive Safely and Carefully
Finally, one of the best things you can do to avoid breakdowns is to make sure you’re being the best driver you can be. Sure, we might be conflating the words “wreck” and “breakdown” a bit here, but ultimately, getting in a collision is a great way to leave yourself stuck on the road — whether it’s with another car, or a roadside object.
Sometimes, there’s only so much you can do, as wrecks can often be entirely the fault of someone else. But if everyone in the world were to pay a little bit more attention to their driving, we’d all be better off.
Towing Company and Roadside Assistance In New Hampshire and Vermont
Do you need a friendly tow or some roadside assistance? B&B Towing Company has you covered. We’ve helped countless people in Vermont, New Hampshire, and other surrounding areas when they find themselves broken down. While it’s great to be able to avoid the problem, sometimes accidents happen. When they do, we’re here to help. Contact us today!