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Car Breakdown Basics: How to Start Your Vehicle

Are you prepared if your car breaks down? Do you know the steps to take during a car emergency? While reliability of vehicles has dramatically improved over the past 10 years, cars will inevitably breakdown because of natural wear and tear. Sometimes it’s not too much of a bother, but if you’re in the middle of a hot Texas summer with a limited budget, a broken-down car could be a huge inconvenience. Survive vehicle failure with these tips.

Know Your Finances

Car repairs can range from $50 to a few thousand dollars. Start a savings account for emergencies such as expensive car repairs. It’s less stressful to break down in the Texas desert if you know you can afford to be towed away. If you’re without monetary luxuries, credit cards or a cash advance can help your situation. Learn how it works and if it would fit best with your income. You can also ask the repair shop or mechanic about any finance options.

Check the Basics

If a vehicle won’t start, there are a few basic things even a mechanical novice can observe. Here are few of the most common reasons why a car won’t start:

1. The car is silent when you turn your key: Check the connections to the battery and see if the cable clamps to the battery are loose or corroded. These can cut electricity from the vehicle.

2. The car clicks but doesn’t start: A clicking sound usually indicates a dead battery or failed wiring to and from the starter.

3. The engine cranks, but wont start: Cranking is a sign of fuel inefficiently reaching the engine or a problem with the spark plugs.

4. The engine starts, but then dies: The fuel injector (in most modern cars) or carburetor need to be professionally inspected.

Minimize Danger

The most dangerous time for your vehicle to malfunction is when you’re on the road. Depending upon the road itself and surrounding traffic, it can be a perilous and panic-inducing situation. Immediately pull off the road to a safe location. Ideally, you want to be as far away as possible from other cars. Depending on the car and situation, you may just need to escape the flow of traffic. Unless you have road flares or other signaling devices to put out on the road, stay in your vehicle and call for assistance. Turn on your hazard lights and note your surroundings, such as landmarks and signs that will help the tow truck find you.

Having a plan and preparing for the worst can help you safely and calmly handle an unexpected vehicle breakdown. Whether it’s paying for repairs, troubleshooting your vehicle, or finding a safe place to pull over, every motorist should be prepared for car failure.

VIDEO: What To Do If Your Car Won’t Start

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