It is never a good time to be left stranded at the side of the road because of a breakdown. Standing there kicking at the dust, or even your car, waiting for a tow truck to arrive. It’s even more aggravating when the breakdown occurs because of something that was preventable. Here are 5 common reasons for a breakdown and how you can stop them before they happen.

Faulty Battery

There are several reasons a battery fails – some you can’t control but some you can. A regular inspection of your battery, including the terminals and the plastic pieces that surround the battery, can save you headaches later. Simply check for corrosion and wear and tear. Another issue for batteries is too many short journeys without recharging. Take your car out for a long ride every once in a while to prevent it from going flat.

Overheating

If your car is overheating it is a likely sign of a problem in your cooling system or because of low fluids. Check the engine coolant, brake fluid, and transmission fluid regularly. If you wait until the dashboard light is on it will likely be too late.

Fuel problems

Keep an eye on that fuel gauge. If you’re on a long drive and you wait until the fuel light comes on, you could find yourself miles from a gas station. Keep it topped up before it gets to the warning light and you will never have a problem. Also know what fuel goes into your car. It seems straight forward but thousands of people put the wrong fuel in and that can lead to severe damage to your car.

Flat tires

Make sure you check your tire pressures regularly. It could have a slow leak and if left unchecked will put a strain on the tire wall and cause a full blowout. Catching early is the key. Check for tread wear too. Bald or barely-there tread will lead to a flat at best and a danger of losing grip that could lead to an accident at worst.

Electrical/Alternator

When the alternator starts to go you will see constant electrical problems like dimming lights and battery problems. The best way to prevent it is to get the car in to be looked at immediately. Letting it sit for a while just puts off the inevitable and could lead to compounding the problem further.

The basic moral of the story is to keep your car well maintained and you can avoid standing at the side of the road watching the cars go by.