Car drivers may be able to avoid an unnecessary breakdown if they familiarise themselves with their owner's handbook and have their vehicle serviced regularly.
The most common faults the RAC find when attending a breakdown are caused by a lack of maintenance or understanding of the car's systems. For example, a simple routine like checking your tyres for damage and the correct pressure, as recommended by the manufacturer, may prevent you from returning to your vehicle to find a flat tyre or - even worse - experiencing a blow out on the motorway.
RAC top ten breakdowns
The top ten faults and % of total callouts
1. Battery (flat or non-serviceable) - 17.51%
2. Tyre(s) - 9.20%
3. Engine - 4.63%
4. Lockouts - 3.32%
5. Alternator - 2.76%
6. Fuel - 2.71%
7. Starter motor - 2.28%
8. Cylinder head gasket - 1.94%
9. Clutch - 1.66%
10. ECU - Engine Management System - 1.43%
A self help tip for the number one problem
If your vehicle will not start, it may well be due to a faulty battery. If your engine tries to turn over it may not be completely dead. Check to see if any interior or exterior lights, mobile phone or your entertainment system are left on. If they are, turn them off. Leave the car standing for 20 minutes. Do not try to restart your car during that period because 20 minutes is usually the minimum time to allow the battery to regain enough power to start up the engine. Do get into the habit of turning off all controls - including lights, the heated rear window, and radio - before turning off the engine once parked up for the night. This will extend the life of your battery and reduce the chance of a flat battery.