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Hilltop Garage - a handy guide to happy motoring

  • Author: Hilltop Garage
  • Published: 22nd September 2014
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How can I help prevent car breakdowns?

Very often we get advised by motoring experts to check our cars for the summer, the winter, before going on holiday, etc. and so the list goes on. The reality of the situation is you should be checking your car regularly no matter what time of year or season it is. By checking over your car every couple of weeks you could prevent breakdowns and large unwelcome repair bills.

F.L.O.W.E.R an easy way to remember what to check.


One of the most common causes of breakdowns is running out of fuel, fill up with fuel before waiting until the low fuel warning light comes on, especially when you are driving in unfamiliar territory.


Check that your light lenses are clean and free from cracks, and also check that all your lights work, you may need an assistant to help you with the rear ones. If you keep getting flashed by oncoming traffic at night then you may need your headlamps adjusting properly at a garage.


Check your oil level regularly, if you don't know how then look in your car's handbook to find out, or simply take the car to your local garage and ask them to show you. Don't assume that because you have your car regularly serviced it will be ok, even modern cars burn engine oil. Most importantly of all don't wait until the red oil warning light comes on - it may be too late and expensive engine damage can have already occurred.


Check the coolant level in the cars cooling system, make sure that the car's engine is cold first, to avoid scalding yourself, again the handbook will show you how to do this safely. If you need to keep topping up the cooling system regularly then get further checks carried out at your local garage - you may have a coolant leak somewhere. Another water level to check while the bonnet is open is the windscreen washer fluid, in the winter add a good quality screen wash to prevent the water from freezing.


Probably the most common cause of car breakdowns is the battery. If your battery is old and tired it may be wise to change it before it lets you down. Batteries can be fine one minute and then fail the next, there is no way of predicting if and when they will fail. Electric cooling fans are another source of breakdowns, they should run automatically when the engine gets too hot, you can check this by leaving the engine running whilst the car is stationary.


Check your tyres for tread depth and pressure. An incorrectly inflated tyre is unsafe and can affect the cars handling and braking. Under inflated tyres also increase fuel consumption by around 5%. And if you are driving around with more luggage or passengers than normal remember to increase the tyre pressures as recommended in your car's handbook.

What if I'm not good with technical things?

That's easy, simply take your car to your local friendly garage and they will check it for you.
Here at Hilltop Garage Horndean we are always willing to carry out simple checks for you and advise on anything that needs further attention.

If you are local to us and want more information or some free advice then simply drop in for a friendly chat, call us on 02392 596038 or send an email via the contact form on our website

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Hilltop Garage - a handy guide to happy motoring

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