No one plans on having a bad day, at least no one that I’ve come to know. Having a bad day that is car related can be even worse, and most of all, very expensive! Most cars are very alike when you look at what it is that makes up the actual vehicle itself and its components. Now let’s take a look at what mechanical breakdown failure is, common reasons for these malfunctions, and things we can do to prevent them from happening.
What is Mechanical Breakdown?
A mechanical breakdown on your vehicle is any problem that occurs within the vehicle’s components or engine that does not allow your car to start. Sometimes a mechanical breakdown is unavoidable, due to the age of a car, and things require replacement. Other times we as drivers can do little things and routine checks and maintenance to avoid a breakdown.
While insurance is required in all states to protect a driver from a collision or unintended accidents, coverage for mechanical breakdowns is never a standard offering. While it’s true that traditional warranties will cover some instances of breakdowns, unless specified there is a lot of faults that will not have coverage attached. This is where an extended warranty will come in handy, assisting you with coverage for any mechanical components at fault.
With that said, let’s examine the Top 5 reasons for mechanical breakdowns:
Top 5 Mechanical Breakdown Causes
Batteries aren’t typically an issue within the warm summer months that your vehicle is operating. It isn’t until the leaves fall to the ground, autumn passes, and the grounds freeze over into winter months that a car battery could give you trouble and cause your car not to start. So how do we avoid the mechanical breakdown failure of a bad frozen battery? One thing you could do is check your car’s antifreeze and other fluids regularly. Antifreeze keeps your car’s fluids from freezing, resulting in components requiring more power to start. Making sure that it has the appropriate levels in it is vital to your battery surviving the cold months of winter.
One of the biggest reasons we find that most people have battery trouble though is the simplest reason not to have battery trouble. Something as small as being aware if your car is turning over slower and slower and prompting a battery check by a professional can save you time, money, and frustration from having a mechanical breakdown on the road, or on your way to work.
Although you will still be able to drive with bad brakes, it’s not recommended to do so. Extremely worn brake pads or rotors can make it nearly impossible to stop and can lead to a high risk of injury and damage to properties.
According to the national crash statics report provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, brake related problems accounted for about twenty-two percent of crashes where mechanical vehicle failure was the cited cause of the crash. Having bad breaks play a major factor regarding rear-end collisions. If you are unable to stop in time, you risk ramming into another vehicle. Common contributing factors that also lead to brake-related crashes include:
Faulty/Worn Brake Lines.
Leaks in a brake line may allow brake fluid to drain from its container, compromising your brakes performance and ability to work properly. This can lead to Loss of stopping power when pushing the brake pedal, often caused by brake fade. Brake fade is caused by a buildup of heat and can affect both drum brake systems and disc braking systems causing your brakes to fail. You can check your brake lines to ensure there is no presence of excess liquid, as the presence of liquid and streaks of dried fluid are signs of trouble. If you see rust spots on your lines, gently sand them off. Also, look for thin places under those spots that may turn into holes before long. Feel the rubber parts of the brake lines, and look at the inner surfaces of your tires.
An anti-lock braking system (ABS) is a safety anti-skid braking system used on aircraft and on land vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, trucks, and buses. Antilock Brake Systems operate by preventing the wheels from locking up during braking, thereby maintaining tractive contact with the road surface. This locking may occur when a driver hits the brakes too hard – preventing slipping and loss of control. What happens if your brake system malfunctions? Antilock Brake System malfunctions can compromise braking performance and lead to potential accidents. If the system finds that it lacks data, or a hydraulic pump or a valve isn’t responding, it illuminates the ABS warning light on the dash. ABS relies on a properly operating conventional brake system. If the ABS locks up, you should still have normal, unassisted braking and be able to continue your journey, but will need to bring your vehicle into your local mechanic to fix this issue.
Worn Brake Pads & Disc.
The brake pads and discs in your car wear out a little bit more with every use. Over time, this wear and tear make it harder to stop your vehicle, resulting in longer stop distances and increased accident risk. It’s always a good idea to check the wear of your brake pads every month or so. First, look for wear by examining your brake pads through the spaces between the wheel’s spokes. The outside pad will be pressed against a metal rotor. Generally, there should be at least ¼ inch of the pad. If you see less than ¼ inch of the pad, you may want to have your brake pads inspected or even replaced by your mechanic.
Bad Timing Belt
Timing belts are your car’s muscle, so to say, as they make the inside component of your car operate in the same fashion as a human muscle would. Damaged or broken belts are akin to tearing your quad or hamstring – putting a damper on your ability to move normally. However, unlike muscles, your timing belts won’t get better with rest like a muscle might. Like a lot of mechanical breakdown issues, it is better to take precautionary steps to prevent a broken belt than to fix an already broken one especially if a broken belt can cost you thousands of dollars of further engine damage. If your timing belt snaps, they would run into each other causing your car’s valves to bend. This will also cause damaged to your cylinder heads, and possibly even your piston and cylinder wall as well. Don’t allow this to happen to you and be aware of the mileage on your car and figure out the range for your cars timing belt for when its time to be replaced.
Have you ever tried to turn your key in the ignition only to hear it click and nothing turning over? If you answered yes chances are you could have a problem with your starter. The starter motor is responsible for cranking up the engine so that it can run by itself. The car battery sends an electric current to the starter motor so that it can initiate this action. This is the standard process that occurs whenever you start up your vehicle after turning the key in the ignition. If this happens, try to turn on your car’s interior lights or headlights, as it could also be an issue with the battery. If your lights turn on it’s most likely a problem with your starter.
If your car’s temperature gauge skyrockets up into the red, your engine may be at risk of overheating. If this does happen, turn off the air conditioner and blast your heat. This will help move hot air away from the engine. Once you’re home, and your vehicle has cooled down completely, check the radiator to ensure it’s full of coolant. If your radiator or engine overheats and breaks down, you will have a hefty repair bill on your hands. Check out five important reasons why you should have mechanical breakdown coverage. Remember, treat your car like your body and as if it’s your only one ever. Keep an eye on its health!
How to Avoid a Mechanical Breakdown
Most of us already know that performing routine maintenance can help prevent mechanical failures with your car and will promote its overall health. As a vehicle owner, it is vitally important that you are carrying out regular maintenance on your vehicle. Even drivers with limited motor knowledge can perform maintenance tasks such as checking your tire pressures, changing the oil, and checking other engine fluids in your vehicle. Routine vehicle maintenance is important because it is key to the longevity of your cars life on the road. Regardless of the vehicle, you drive, your regular maintenance schedule is inside it. Check it out and find out the proper schedule your car needs to be on when it comes to this kind of routine maintenance and stick with it.
What is Mechanical Breakdown Coverage?
When your car was new it would have been protected by a warranty supplied by the manufacturer. Typically this will cover you for 3 years or 60,000 miles after the date of manufacture against defects that may cause your car to malfunction. The manufacturer will then replace or repair the vehicle at no cost to you. After the manufacturer’s warranty expires, you can choose to extend the warranty coverage on your vehicle with an extended car warranty. DriveSmart’s extended car warranty is designed to offer similar protection to that which your manufacturer supplied when your car was new. In effect, you are extending your protection against mechanical or electrical breakdown and protecting your bank balance if your car goes wrong.