What can cause a car to break down on road and how to avoid it: Key tips

The long weekend around Christmas has thrown traffic out of control in many parts of India, especially for those heading to hill stations in Himachal Pradesh or Maharashtra. Motorists and holidayers who took the Mumbai-Pune Expressway over the weekend faced long traffic jams. The massive traffic jam on the Mumbai Pune Expressway took 36 hours to be cleared, leaving thousands of vehicles stuck on the highway near Lonavala and Khandala.

By: HT Auto Desk
| Updated on: 25 Dec 2023, 18:14 PM

Due to the weekend and Christmas holidays, there was a huge traffic jam on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway at Khandala Ghat, while broken-down vehicles made the situation worse. (HT_PRINT)

For many people who took the Mumbai-Pune Expressway to reach their destinations during the weekend around Christmas, it became a nightmare. Many people had to wait more than three hours to get out of the jam after being stuck in traffic congestion. At some stretches, the traffic jam extended up to 10 kilometres. Several cars broke down on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, worsening the traffic situation there. Videos of cars standing at the roadside on the Mumbai Pune Expressway with their bonnets open have gone viral on social media platforms.

Breakdowns on the road can be extremely stressful for vehicle owners. Here are some common reasons that play key roles behind a car breaking down and tips on how to avoid such a condition.

Dead or faulty battery

One of the most common causes of vehicle breakdown is a dead or faulty battery, which makes it difficult for a driver to start a car’s engine, eventually leaving him or her stuck. It is recommended to get the battery checked by a technician every three years and replace it if required. A few warning signs of a faulty car battery are dim lights and slow-functioning power windows.

Faulty alternator

An alternator is highly important as it recharges a car’s battery using engine power. Additionally, the alternator also provides power to the car’s electrical components. A faulty alternator means the battery will not be charged properly and there will be stress on other electrical components as well. Hence, get the alternator checked periodically by a technician and fix if there are any issues. Keep an eye out for the car’s ignition warning light and high engine temperature alert. These are signs when the belt that drives the alternator is broken.

Malfunctioning engine

An engine can be dubbed as the heart of a car. The engine works in unison with many critical components and faults in any of them can result in a breakdown. Some common issues related to a car engine failure include a failing oil pump, aged spark plugs, debris and oil deposits, poor lubrication, inadequate fuel and air compression, blocked engine radiators, leaking engine coolant, damaged oxygen sensors prolonged engine detonation etc. It is imperative to get the engine checked by a trained technician frequently and fix any issue if detected. Also, make sure to change engine oil and engine coolant periodically as required and prescribed by the OEM.

Damaged clutch wire

Manual cars rely on a clutch for running and shifting gears. In case of damage to the clutch, the vehicle’s overall performance is impacted negatively. If the clutch plate is burnt or the clutch wire is broken, the car stops moving. If you see, hear or feel signs like a grinding sound while changing gears, the clutch pedal comes at a higher position than its usual resting position, unusual feeling while the clutch pedal is pressed, there is a potential issue with the clutch and it needs to be fixed immediately.

Electrical issues

Modern cars come loaded with a wide range of advanced features, which make it hard to detect electrical problems. It is difficult to fix such an issue in the middle of the rod. But, an electrical short circuit can drain the car’s battery and leave the vehicle stranded. Hence, if you feel any issues with any of the car’s electrical systems like dimming lights or issues with power windows or other components, get the car checked by a technician. Installation of aftermarket electrical components such as additional lights or other devices can also put stress on the entire electrical system and eventually on the battery as well. Also, avoid installing unnecessary lights or fancy gadgets as that puts pressure on the battery draining its charge.

First Published Date: 25 Dec 2023, 18:14 PM IST

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