Car faults and breakdowns can be devastating inconveniences for motorists, yet some of the most common causes are also the easiest to avoid. Here are three of the most frequently encountered problems and how to avoid them.


Electrical faults can cause batteries to lose power when not in use. One of the easiest ways to preserve battery power is to disconnect the leads under the bonnet when leaving a vehicle for an extended period of time.

If a battery is running low due to alternator faults – commonly indicated by dim headlights – the best way to recharge is to take the car for a 20-mile drive at a constant speed. When doing so, it is important to make sure that everything is switched off, including the radio, interior lights and heater.


Flat and faulty tyres are one of the most common causes of accidents. To keep them in top condition, tyre pressure should be checked at least once a month, according to the owner's manual. It is also important to be aware of the maximum load rating of tyres, which can be found printed directly onto the tyre itself.

When driving, avoiding poorly maintained roads and construction areas can help to minimise the risk of tyre damage. Driving on the hard shoulder, where hazardous debris accumulates, should also be avoided.


The most common fuel problem in the UK is also the simplest: using the wrong type. Putting diesel in a petrol tank or vice versa can lead to loss of engine power, smoking and breakdowns.

Realising this mistake early can help to avoid these problems, particularly if only a little (around 10%) of the wrong fuel is already in the tank. In this case, it's a simple case of filling up the engine with the correct fuel. Otherwise, it is important to drain the tank completely.