A winter breakdown is the last thing you want

A winter breakdown is the last thing you want 27th January 2014

Breaking down is no fun, even at the best of times when the sun is shining and you don't really have anywhere to be, as it's pretty likely that you will be causing trouble for other drivers and you'll be spending a fair amount of time stood at the side of the road waiting for a friend, relative or breakdown service to pick you up.

In the winter months, this experience becomes worse as the likelihood is it'll be very cold and probably dark, adding extra challenges to the situation.

In order to avoid this fate, it is important to carry out regular maintenance on your vehicle, ensuring it is in tip top condition before travel, particularly if you have a long drive ahead of you.

Of course, checking your tyres is a key part of the process, as these are some of the most important components of your vehicle, being the only thing that keeps your car connected with the road.

You should check the pressures regularly and consult the manufacturer's handbook to find the correct pressures for front and back tyres. While checking the pressure you should also monitor the tyres for any sign of extreme wear and measure the tread depth.

Should some of your tyres be more worn than others then it may be time to take your vehicle to a professional for examination. If they are all simply getting a little old and losing tread naturally, you may need to think about having new tyres fitted.

This doesn't need to be an imposition as you can always have new tyres fitted at a time and place that is convenient to you thanks to mobile tyre fitting services.

Aside from the tyres, you should also keep a close eye on your battery, as a faulty car battery is one of the leading causes of breakdowns. While jumper cables might be able to solve the problem once or twice, preventing the issue from happening in the first place is the best course of action. This means undertaking long journeys every now and then to keep the battery at its peak performance. However, if your battery has seen its best days, it may be time to buy a new one and avoid breaking down.

Of course, there is one thing that will inevitably lead to a breakdown; using the wrong fuel or failing to fill your fuel tank. It may seem one of the simplest things to prevent from happening, but unfortunately this happens to thousands of people every year.

If you feel like your vehicle needs a check up then you can always book it in for a car servicing carried out by a trained professional.

No matter how much maintenance work you do on your car, disaster could strike and you may find yourself at the side of the road waiting for rescue. If this does happen, it is important to be prepared. That means carrying a reflective jacket in your vehicle to ensure you are seen by other road users, keeping a torch in your vehicle and some warm clothing in case you are stranded for a long period of time.

Institute of Advanced Motorists chief examiner Peter Rodger said: “Breaking down is stressful, but be prepared by knowing what to do and when. Thinking about these things in advance will place you in a better position in case it happens and relieve some of the strain.”

Posted by Danielle Barge