Two ways to prevent a breakdown

Car breakdowns can be incredibly stressful and expensive to resolve. Here are two steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of your vehicle breaking down:

Take good care of your car battery

A substantial percentage of breakdowns are the result of the vehicle's battery going flat. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that this does not happen to your car battery.

Checking your battery terminals for signs of corrosion, for example, can help to prevent the battery from dying unexpectedly. If you notice this issue, all you need to do is add an alkaline substance (such as baking soda) onto an old wet toothbrush, and scrub the affected areas until the corrosive layer dissolves.

You should also keep a close eye on its water levels; if these get too low, the flow of electricity through the battery will be reduced, potentially to the point where the device stops functioning. You should check and if necessary, top up the battery's water supply once every couple of weeks.

Lastly, make sure that every time you get out of your vehicle, you switch off all of its electrical devices, including the radio and the interior and exterior lights, as leaving these on for prolonged periods of time will lead to the battery losing its charge.

Pay attention to your tyre pressure levels

Blowouts (where a tyre loses its entire air supply in a couple of seconds) and flat tyres (where a puncture causes the tyre to gradually become flat and unusable) are two of the most common causes of breakdowns. Maintaining the correct pressure levels in all of your tyres is one of the most effective ways to prevent both of these tyre-related issues.

Tyres that are overinflated tend to be more prone to blowouts because the excess air inside them causes the centre of the tyre to bulge and thus wear out faster than it normally would. This thinning out of the centre section means that if you drive over a particularly sharp stone or a piece of glass on the road, the rubber could quite easily burst open, resulting in an immediate loss of air pressure.

Under-inflating your tyres can be equally problematic, as this can lead to more of their surface area coming into contact with the road. The resulting friction can cause the tyre rubber to overheat; this, in turn, can make the rubber wear out prematurely and thus become far more susceptible to punctures when the vehicle is driven over potholes or road debris.

Most fuel stations have facilities which allow you to check and readjust your car tyres' pressure levels for free or for a very small fee.