Where Tow Trucks Dare Not Roam: Avoid Breaking Down on the Road with These 5 Tips

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The last thing anybody needs is to break down on the side of the highway. We all think about it, and we all know it’s the last thing we want to happen in regards to our car. We also dread the times when we go to turn the key and the car just won’t start. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid these terrors from happening – if you make sure you follow these five tips.

5 Never Ignore The Check Engine Light

It’s on for a reason. Get your car to the shop and get whatever it’s telling you to fix, fixed (or do it yourself). Often these check engine light problems will lead to a breakdown and even a costlier repair if ignored. Driving with that light on can be a huge risk, especially if you don’t know why it’s on.

4 Belt and Hose Check

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Always check your serpentine belt for cracks or frays – if it has any of these two things it must be replaced. Give the belt a firm push with your finger and if it gives more than an inch that is also a sign it needs to be replaced. Fluids on the belt will keep it slipping which is not good – and probably indicates something is leaking in your engine that needs to be fixed. If you hear a squealing or a squeaking when the engine is idling or running, then there is a possibility it is a problem with your belt. Hoses should also be checked for cracks, but check to see if they are bloated or swollen, or if they feel overly soft and spongy. This bloating or swelling and texture means further investigating needs to be done as there may be other issues going on which could cause a highway breakdown.

3 Check Fluids

Oil is the lifeblood of your car, so learn how to check it and check it every other gas fill up. Check your coolant levels (learn how to do so) and make sure all your brake and power steering fluids are full. Not having enough of the proper fluids (or running dry) won’t just put your car onto the side of the road, it could essentially destroy the engine.

2 Tire Check

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The right amount of air in your tires won’t only save you on gas mileage, but proper tire inflation is vital to even tire wear and overall tire safety. Check your treads or your tire indicators (if your tires have them) to ensure you have the proper amount of tread. Make sure your tires are the rightkind for the current weather, temperature, terrain and season. Check for cracks or frays in your current tires, especially around the walls, as this is an indicator that your tires needs to be replaced and you are driving on borrowed time.

1 Manage Your Battery

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Always check up on your battery. See if there is corrosion around the connectors, and if there is, clear it off (everyone does this a different way, from baking soda mixes, to different types of brushes to anti-corrosion spray). If there is leakage however, it is probably time for a new battery. When getting your basic maintenance done (or you can do it yourself with the right device) have the shop check the battery life. Do not go cheap on your car batteries, as a good battery could last you much, much longer than three years and will never let you down. Never let someone put a battery in your car that carries a no-name brand or something you can’t Google on your phone real quick to verify its quality. Batteries are easy to replace yourself, so you can always buy a high-quality one somewhere else and put it in yourself.

You can significantly reduce your chances of breaking down or not having your car start by following these five tips. Keep up on the goings-on under your hood and you’ll stress a whole lot less when it comes to auto ownership.

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