Most Common Car Breakdown Causes – and how to prevent them

If you’re a South African driver, you know that vehicle breakdowns can be a real headache. Whether you’re on your way to work, running errands, or going on a road trip, a breakdown can ruin your plans and leave you stranded. To help you avoid this frustrating situation, let’s discuss the most common car breakdown causes and how you can prevent them.


Dead Battery

A dead battery is a common cause of vehicle breakdowns. It can happen for several reasons, including leaving your headlights on, a faulty alternator, or a battery that has reached the end of its life. To prevent a dead battery, ensure that your car’s charging system is working correctly and get your battery tested regularly. If your battery is more than three years old, it’s best to replace it.


Flat Tyres

Flat tyres are another frequent cause of vehicle breakdowns. They can happen due to punctures (in South Africa, potholes are a major culprit here!) worn-out tyres, or under-inflation. To prevent flat tyres, check your tyre pressure regularly and make sure that they’re properly inflated. Additionally, check your tyres for signs of wear and tear and replace them if necessary.

Flat Tyre



Engine Problems

Engine problems can be caused by a range of factors, including a malfunctioning fuel pump, a clogged fuel filter, or a faulty ignition system. Regular vehicle maintenance, such as changing your oil and air filter, can help prevent engine problems. If you notice any unusual sounds or smells coming from your engine, take your car to a mechanic immediately to have it checked.



Overheating is another common cause of vehicle breakdowns. It can happen due to a malfunctioning cooling system or low coolant levels. To prevent overheating, ensure that your car’s cooling system is working correctly and regularly check your coolant levels. If you notice that your engine temperature is rising, pull over and let it cool down before continuing your journey.


Alternator Failure

The alternator is responsible for charging your car’s battery while it’s running. If it fails, your car’s battery will eventually die. To prevent alternator failure, get your alternator checked during routine vehicle maintenance. If you notice that your car’s dashboard lights are dimming or flickering, it could be a sign of an alternator problem, and you should take your car to a mechanic immediately.


In conclusion

Car breakdowns can be frustrating, but many of them can be prevented with regular vehicle maintenance and careful driving. Check your tyre pressure, get your battery and alternator checked, and keep an eye on your engine temperature to prevent breakdowns. Additionally, if you notice any unusual sounds or smells coming from your engine or your dashboard lights are flickering, take your car to a mechanic immediately to prevent further damage. By taking these simple precautions, you can avoid the stress and inconvenience of a breakdown and enjoy a safe and smooth driving experience.


Of course, not every breakdown is predictable or can be prepared for. In these situations, having reliable roadside assistance can make a huge difference. EMERGIVAC members enjoy 24/7 emergency roadside assistance, including towing, battery jump-starts, tyre changes, fuel delivery, and more. With EMERGIVAC, you can have peace of mind knowing that help is just the push of a button away. So, if you do experience a breakdown, don’t panic. Stay calm, pull over to a safe location, and access your EMERGIVAC app for fast and reliable roadside assistance.


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