Top Tips for Avoiding a Breakdown

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 4 months ago

5 min read

  • Car ownership
  • Maintenance
Calling for help due to a broken down car

Discover how to avoid a car breakdown with these top tips from WhoCanFixMyCar.

There you are, happily driving along, when suddenly, a horrible clunking noise comes from underneath your car. It starts losing power - you’ve got no choice but to pull over and assess the damage.

What a nightmare. Your car breaking down is the last thing you need.

If you know what this feels like (or dread the day you'll find out), this guide is for you. It provides five top tips for avoiding a breakdown.


1. Keep your engine oil topped up

2. Never miss a service

3. Create good driving habits

4. Remove unnecessary weight from your car

5. Don't ignore warning signs

1. Keep your engine oil topped up

Topping up a car's engine oil

If cars were people, engine oil would be their blood. It lubricates key components to enhance their performance and prevents premature wear. Without it, the engine would encounter a fatal problem fairly quickly - that's why keeping it topped up is essential.

An oil change is part of a full service, so one way to maintain the correct fluid level is to stick to a regular servicing schedule. But that alone isn't enough. Remember that cars tend to go through more oil as they age - once a month, you should pop open the bonnet and check the oil, topping up as required.

Keeping on top of this easy maintenance task is sure to extend the life of your vehicle.

Discover what engine oil is right for your car in this guide.

2. Never miss a service

Car service

You've probably heard of the saying that prevention is better than cure. Well, it's true. And one of the best ways to prevent your car developing problems is to take it for a full service each year.

During a full service, vital fluids are topped up - such as the engine oil and coolant - and over 70 checks are carried out on safety and mechanical systems, including the brakes. Find out more about what's included, and how it differs from an interim service, in this guide.

Not only does regular servicing keep your car's components in top condition, but it also allows potential problems to be detected early - before they leave you stranded at the roadside.

3. Create good driving habits


Your driving habits have a direct impact on the health of your car. Follow the advice below to get the best out of it:

  • Avoid resting your hand on the gearstick - this is bad for the transmission because it applies pressure to the selector fork underneath, causing premature wear.

  • Don't accelerate in a high gear - accelerating at a low RPM in too high a gear puts unnecessary strain on the engine.

  • Avoid revving the engine when it's cold - letting your car warm up first allows oil to circulate around the engine, preventing damage.

  • Try not to ride the clutch - leaving your foot on the pedal after you've changed gear shortens the life of the clutch pressure plate.

4. Remove unnecessary weight from your car

A packed car.

If your car is full of unnecessary belongings - books, clothes, spare parts - it all adds to the total weight of the vehicle. The more it carries, the more strain components like the brakes and suspension are under, eventually wearing them out.

It's worth having a clear-out to take the pressure off. When your car is lighter, you'll also notice that it uses less fuel.

Find out how to get the best fuel economy out of your car.

5. Don’t ignore warning signs

An array of dashboard warning lights.

Ignoring a problem won’t make it go away. As soon as you spot a dashboard warning light, hear a strange noise in your car or notice a difference in how it drives, take it to a garage to get it checked by a mechanic.

It might end up being nothing, or you could catch a problem before it becomes serious - either way, it'll give you peace of mind that you're not about to face a breakdown.

This guide provides advice about diagnosing car problems & finding the right fix.

Car Breakdown by Side of the Road

Worried your car is going to break down? WhoCanFixMyCar can help you find a reliable local garage for a diagnostic test or repair.

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Written by Ellie

Ellie Author Pic

Ellie is WhoCanFixMyCar’s Content Writer. She has a BA in English literature from Durham University, a master’s degree in creative writing, and three years of experience writing in the automotive industry. She currently drives a Suzuki Swift.

Find Ellie on LinkedIn.