Car breakdowns can happen at the worst time possible. The good news? Preventive auto repair and maintenance can lower your risk in a big way. Here are six common causes of car breakdowns that you should know.

1. Dead battery

Batteries aren’t like diamonds (they don’t last forever). They die within five years. Get yours replaced in three just to be safe. Waiting might be more expensive anyway, since you would probably have to pay to get your car towed.

2. Locked outside

AAA receives 4,000,000 calls regarding car lockouts every year. It happens to everybody at least once. How many times have you left your keys in the ignition? There are a few ways to prevent this situation. Use a magnet to hide a key under your car or toss a spare in your purse.

3. Neglected tires

Your tires require care and attention. Make sure they are properly inflated, especially when it’s hot outside. Look for cracks, tears, or holes in your tread. Check the condition of your spare every now and then. These precautions can help you identify a problem before you end up with a flat in the middle of nowhere.

4. Damaged brakes

Imagine you’re pulling up to a red light. You put your foot on the brakes… but nothing happens. Your car keeps moving. Uh-oh. What would you do? Strong brakes could be the difference between life and death. Get them checked once or twice a year. Change the brake fluid on the dates specified in your owner’s manual.

5. Overheating engine

There are more causes of overheating than I could list here. The most common one? Low coolant. Keep a bottle of antifreeze in your trunk just in case you need it. AAA recommends keeping track of your gas mileage. If it drops for no apparent reason, something could be wrong with your engine. Find a mechanic as soon as possible.

6. Running out of fuel

High gas prices cause many drivers to take dumb risks. Gas prices are lower than they have been since 2009, so hopefully this won’t be as much of a problem. Don’t push your fuel tank to its limit. That could just create a bigger problem (towing isn’t cheap!), especially if you’re out-of-town. Bonus: Here are some ways to save money on gas.

Now that you’re aware of the common causes of car breakdowns, you can protect yourself by taking preventive actions that will cover your butt. Please share this post with your friends so they can be a better driver like you. Thanks! 🙂

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