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How to avoid a motor vehicle breakdown

Published:Sunday | July 28, 2019 | 12:00 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Automotives Writer

Sophia Dean, who has been driving the defensive way for 11 years, is of the view that having one’s car break down in the middle of road repairs, is most unfortunate. Keeping one’s motor vehicle in almost perfect shape and should be the primary aim of every good driver.

Donovan Morgan is an experienced St Catherine driver, who has been driving for over 13 years, accident free. He is also one who takes pride in keeping his car in top shape and was beaming with pride when he spoke to the Gleaner’s Automotives recently.

“One should keep his car, old or new, in excellent condition to prevent sudden breakdown on the roads,” advises Morgan, who drives a 2017 Toyota.

“Like any other craftsman, the driver does his best to keep it in very good working condition.”

According to Morgan, he keeps a tool pan in his trunk, pays attention to warning signs and lights, and services the vehicle on a timely basis.

“When a car breaks down or fails to start, it could be an electrical problem, fuel problem, or overheating problem,” says Keith Amechanic with over 20 years of experience in the motoring world.

It is better to take precautions rather than wait until it’s too late,” advised Austin. “This certainly applies to car care,” he adds, as he reminds us of a few checks to make in order to avoid unnecessary and worrying breakdowns.

1. Check the oil, motor oil is described as the life blood of the vehicle. Neglecting to check it could be serious. Check the dip stick to ensure that the oil is between the ‘add’ and the ‘full’ marks.

2. Check the belts by pressing down on each one with your thumb. They should give more than about a half of an inch. Also check to see if they are frayed or cracked. If they are, replace them.

3. Check the battery with caution. Depending on the type of battery, have it checked by a service department, or examine it to see if it has enough fluid. If it’s low, add fluid. Ensure that battery terminals are tightly connected and free from corrosion.

4. Check the cooling system. Make a check on the radiator hoses for leaks and cracks. Remember to have the cooling system checked by a competent person.

5. Check the tyres, ‘the shoes of the car.’ Examine to see if the air pressure is not enough. Check for signs of wear. If you are down to your last 1\116 of an inch of tread, you will be able to see the tread wear indicators. If they show across two or more grooves, get a new tyre before setting out on one’s long journey and be sure to have a good spare in the trunk of the motor vehicle.

6. Check the brakes. Push the pedal more than halfway down to the floor. Push down again and count to 10. If the pedal keeps going down, and down, you could have master cylinder worries. Also take note that with power brakes, the engine must be on for a test.

Here are some other essentials for motorists to check:

- Horn

- Windshields and wipers

- Instrument panel warning lights

- Outside lights

- Power steering fluid

- Emergency flashers

- Safety flares and reflectors

It was Dr Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness, who once said, “prevention is not only better than cure, but it is much cheaper.”