Car Breakdown Signals [2020]


Posted in:
Tips & Advice


CarShield looks at the warning signs that you’re about to experience a Car Breakdown.

We’ve all seen it as we drive down the highway. A person on the side of the road with their hood up. The look of frustration etched on their face.

Cars backing up in traffic as all lanes slow down to rubberneck and see what is going on.

You can almost feel what that motorist must be thinking: If only I would have known this was coming. I would have avoided it.

Perhaps it’s because you’ve been there before, having to deal with the interruption in life or the uncertainty of how much this is going to cost you, but you can completely sympathize with the person stranded on the side of the road.

Well, the good news is that often, you can prevent having to put up with the absolute frustration of a car breakdown.

If you pay attention, your car will send you signs that something is amiss; and if you take action in time, you may save yourself a lot of trouble.

Here are some signals your car is sending you that a breakdown is coming:

Rough Idle or Shuddering

If you happen to be at a stoplight and your vehicle shudders or seems to idle roughly, then you've got trouble looming. When your front-end shakes, it’s not difficult to imagine that a full-blown car breakdown is imminent.

The problem could be small, such as a dirty air filter that can easily be changed, faulty spark plugs, or partially clogged fuel injectors.

If the latter is the case, then you could try and clean the fuel injection system with an additive that you put in the gas tank. These additives are relatively cheap and can clean away the carbon deposits that build up and clog the fuel injectors.

If it’s not one of those issues, it could be something more serious like an engine compression issue. This is something that clearly has your car on the road to a breakdown, and you surely need to act quickly.

Puddles or stains under your car

We all think of our vehicles as being solid objects or big hunks of metal, glass, and plastic. They may be, but the most important parts of them contain precious fluid.

Gas. Oil. Coolant.

These are all essential liquids for your car, and as such, they need to stay in their appropriate places. So, if you ever see fresh puddles or stains from under your car, it's time to have a mechanic take a look.

The issue could be from a cracked hose or a loose oil cap. It could be a simple fix, but if you ignore this sign for help, you’re almost guaranteed to be a stranded motorist in the near future.

Slow to start

While it is perfectly understandable for us humans to be sleepy in the morning and slow to get going, your car should always be ready to pep right up.

A car that struggles to start is clearly experiencing issues with the battery, alternator, or the starter itself.

If you push that fancy start button and your car doesn’t instantly roar to life, then you need to have the system looked at to prevent being stranded.

Your car takes up smoking

Smoking may have looked cool way back in the day, but if you see your car leaving a cloud behind you when you take off from the stoplight, you need to worry.

A bluish tint to the smoke could indicate that oil has entered the fuel injection process.

White smoke could mean water or coolant is present in the fuel line.

If the exhaust is dark or smoky looking, it could be a sign that your oil filter needs to be replaced.

In any event, where there is smoke, there is fire; and in a combustion engine, that's a fair assumption to make. However, when a car is brand new, no smoke is ever visible.

If your car starts sending you smoke signals, it is a clear indication that a car breakdown is on the way.

Check Engine Light

All of the previous mentions are subtle ways that your car may be telling you it needs some TLC, but it does have a more direct way to communicate with you: The Check Engine Light.

The Check Engine Light, or any light that comes on in the dash, is a great indicator that you need to have your vehicle serviced soon to avoid any costly breakdowns.

How to prevent a car breakdown

If you see some (or any) of these warning signs, you need to take action. Any of these auto afflictions could easily turn into a disaster that leaves you stranded on the road.

The key is to take action before you see these automobile red flags. Following your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule is a great start to help save yourself from experiencing any of these inconvenient automobile afflictions.

To help save yourself the stress, and the dent any of these repairs can put in your wallet, it might be worth it to protect your car against mechanical breakdown. You can view CarShield’s website and see if you can find a plan that makes sense for you and your car .

  Published By  
Brandon Evans
Senior Editor at CarShield

Brandon Evans is the senior editor at CarShield. He has been published across multiple industries with work featured in MaxSTL and the VITAL Voice. He holds a B. A. in Creative Writing from Lindenwood University. He writes out of Saint Louis, Missouri.

Questions? Visit our Support Center, or get in touch: