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TAXI DRIVERS AND MOTORISTS: Avoid the top ten car breakdowns according to The AA

With summer just around the corner, many Brits are gearing up for time on the road, whether that be taxi drivers working their shifts or motorists making trips and family visits.

The AA has revealed common causes of car breakdowns in the UK, along with practical advice on how to avoid them. Here’s a concise guide to help you stay on the road and avoid unwanted disruptions.

1. Flat or Faulty Battery

Battery faults are the leading cause of breakdowns, affecting 630,000 drivers last year. Short trips and long periods of inactivity can drain your battery. Always switch off all electronics when leaving your car and consider manual charging if you only drive short distances.

2. Damaged Tyres and Wheels

Sharp objects, potholes, and general wear and tear can damage tyres and wheels, causing issues for over 560,000 drivers annually. Regularly check tyre tread depth and pressure, and avoid potholes. If you suspect damage, visit a specialist promptly.

3. Engine Oil Issues

Low or high engine oil levels can cause significant engine damage. Use the dipstick to check oil levels regularly, ensuring it is between the marked lines. Consult your vehicle handbook for the correct oil specification.

4. Timing Belt or Chain Failure

A failure in the timing belt or chain can cause severe engine damage. Regular servicing and timely replacement as per manufacturer guidelines are crucial. Ensure oil levels are adequate and listen for unusual engine noises.

5. Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) Blockages

Frequent short trips can block the DPF, a critical part of a diesel engine’s exhaust system. To clear the filter, drive at a consistent speed of around 50mph for about 40 minutes. Look out for warning lights on your dashboard.

6. Alternator Faults

Alternator issues can lead to battery problems and dim headlights. If your ignition warning light comes on or your engine overheats quickly, do not restart the engine. Contact your breakdown provider immediately.

7. Using the Wrong Fuel

Putting the wrong fuel in your car can cause serious problems. If this happens, do not start the engine. Leave the car in a safe place and call a fuel assist team for help. Check your vehicle manual if unsure about the correct fuel type.

8. Running Out of Fuel

Running out of fuel is a common issue. Don’t rely on the miles-left display, as it may not be accurate. Fill up your tank before it gets too low, especially before long journeys.

9. Overheating

If your temperature warning light is on, there may be an issue with the cooling system. Regularly check and top up your coolant, and ensure the cooling fan is working. If you see steam or the warning light, stop safely and call for assistance.

10. Lost Keys

Misplacing keys or locking them inside the car can leave you stranded. Keep a spare key at home and, if necessary, contact a professional for help.

For more detailed information, visit The AA’s top ten breakdown causes page.


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