March 20th, 2020 at 7:26 am
Breakdown drivers report that there are some all-too-familiar causes of breakdowns that they see over and over. Data collected from emergency recovery firms reveals many callouts are to resolve similar problems. Now, you can learn from the experience of other drivers so you can be better prepared.
Losing Your Keys
No longer do we have a huge key fob with a bunch of keys. With the latest technology, it’s all too easy to lose your keys thanks to alternative starting systems and keyless entry. Your key isn’t even a priority when it comes to securing your car, so it’s no surprise that it’s easier to lose it. Also, the old-school problem of locking your keys inside your car has made a return thanks to modern technology.
It isn’t cheap to replace your car keys since they need to be obtain from a main dealership and calibrated so they’re synchronised with your car. Luckily. Some insurers now offer policy cover for such an eventuality. You should always try to have a spare car key in a logical place so a family member or friend could get it for you and bring it if you need to be rescued at the roadside. At least you’ll be able to drive home and think about where you’ve put your original key!
Over 100,000 drivers every year misfuel their vehicle. If you put the wrong fuel in your car then drive away the results can be severe. If you accidentally misfuel your car, never start up its engine. Leave your car at the pump then call your breakdown service. Tell the garage what’s happened too. Put your car into neutral, release its handbrake, and then, with help, move it from the pump to a quieter spot on the forecourt.
Petrol and diesel behave in different ways inside an engine. Diesel doesn’t just provide power, it also lubricates the engine. However, petrol’s effect is completely opposite when it’s mixed with diesel. Friction will increase between all the moving parts and therefore, if you drive your car, circulating the fuel, the result could be a costly repair bill.
Specialist mechanics are able to flush your engine through, and if the vehicle hasn’t been moved, lasting damage is unlikely. A recovery unit can drain out, flush and then refuel your car while it’s in situ. If they can’t do this, they can take your car to a nearby specialist garage. Be aware that misfuelling is often deemed to be driver’s error by insurers, so you might not have coverage to pay for your fuel tank’s flush and drain. Make sure you check your policy with your own insurer while waiting for recovery to arrive. If you’re not covered, it might be best to source a suitable garage and making price comparisons while you’re waiting for your breakdown unit to come. Prices can vary dramatically for draining and flushing fuel tanks, so it makes sense to shop around.
To make things even more confusing, the DoT has made a ruling that every fuel pump needs new labels so it’s easier to see which type of fuel you need to use. However, they’re replacing “diesel” and “unleaded” with codes instead and “B7” and “E5” aren’t especially clear for motorists.
The labels’ presentation is supposed to make it easier for motorists to spot the right fuel. A square indicates diesel while a circle indicates petrol. B stands for Biodiesel and E means Ethanol, while the number is a reference to the fuel percentage mix i.e. E5 is a 5% Ethanol combination and B7 indicates 7% Biodiesel.
From 2020, new cars are obliged to have those labels printed on fuel caps and the symbols will also be seen at every fuel pump. Motorists simply need to match their own car’s label with the right pump. Over time, it will be easier for drivers, but for the first few weeks and months it’s likely that misfuelling incidents will increase rather than decrease. As diesel is on the decline, though, misfuelling incidences will soon become less likely.
If you’ve got several vehicles using different types of fuel it’s all-too-easy to become distracted and use the wrong fuel if you’re not concentrating. You can reduce the chance of making a mistake by getting a fuel cap that can be fitted onto vehicles to prevent a petrol pump nozzle from fitting a diesel tank aperture. There are different devices to suit different makes and models, so you’ll need to check yours is the correct one. Most cost under £30, and this is an affordable way to avoid an expensive mistake.
One of the most commonly seen causes of flat batteries isn’t actually the battery’s lifespan. Rather, it’s worn or dirty terminals that are corroded. Cleaning the terminals can be done quickly by your breakdown service on the roadside.
Over time, older batteries begin to lose their charge. Cold starts during the winter months won’t help and driving short distances in town are another problem since your battery won’t have sufficient time to become fully charged. Your garage will be able to check your battery’s condition and tell you its percentage of maximum charge. If yours is under 50%, it might be time to get a replacement.
Tyre Problems And Punctures
There will always be some unavoidable punctures, however tyres that are in a poor condition will have a greater chance of splitting or cracking under pressure. You should visually check your tyres regularly to check not just the tread depth but also for any uneven wear as this could be a sign of tracking imbalances. Remember to check your spare tyre too if you’ve got one since it’s legally required to be in roadworthy condition.