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January 30, 2023

5 Common Reasons Drivers Get Stranded and the Best Solutions

5 Common Reasons Drivers Get Stranded and the Best Solutions

If you’ve ever been stranded on the side of the road, you know you don’t want it to happen again.

Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive, a trusted local automotive repair facility in Tyler, East Texas, knows that aside from the inconvenience and expense, getting stranded can be dangerous.

Many injuries and fatalities occur every year because stranded motorists waiting for roadside assistance get out of their vehicles to inspect their car and are struck by oncoming traffic on busy roadways.  

Being stranded in bad weather can also be dangerous.

The good news is there are many preventative measures you can take to ensure you don’t get stranded, and if you break down, there are solutions.

Here are five common reasons drivers get stranded and the best solutions:

1. Flat Tires

Dealing with a flat tire isn’t fun. Not only that, but it can be dangerous. A blowout on a busy freeway could cause an accident. Or you might end up stranded on the side of the road in the dark or in a dangerous area. However, you can take many preventative measures to minimize your chances of having a flat tire.    

One way to minimize the chances of tire problems is to check your tire pressure regularly. Especially if you drive on rough roads. Always make sure your tire pressure is where it needs to be (check the owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended air pressures).

If you discover your tire pressure is low, don’t put off putting air in your tires. Driving with a low or flat tire can damage other car components and increase your risk of having an accident because it makes your vehicle harder to control.

Check your tire pressure before going on long drives. Also, routinely check and maintain your spare tire. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of pulling out a flat spare.

It may seem common sense but do your best to avoid bad bumps and potholes.  Sharp blows can cause damage to your tires and other parts of your car both immediately and long term.

Make sure you ask your mechanic to check the tires when you take your car to the car repair shop for routine maintenance. It’s also important for you to perform routine inspections of your tire tread depth to make sure they are still within recommended safe specifications and to make sure there is nothing stuck in the tire.

If you do end up with a flat, make sure you pull your car safely as far off to the side of the road as possible and monitor traffic before getting out of the vehicle. If you’re unsure of how to change a tire, consult the owner’s manual or contact a qualified roadside assistance rtechnici9an for directions or help. 

In the case your spare is compromised, the bolts are too tight, or you have other issues changing your tire, make sure you have the number of a local mechanic shop—especially one that offers weekend and evening assistance— at the ready.

2. Gas

We’ve all done it: driven our cars with the gas light on just a little bit farther because we’re sure there’s a little bit more gas left. This strategy works until it doesn’t. Being stranded on the side of the road out of gas is both inconvenient and dangerous. The best course of action is to always err on the side of caution. Stop at a gas station and at least move the gauge off of empty.

It’s also important to make sure your gas gauge is working properly. If you’re unsure, bring your car to your trusted local garage and have it checked out.

If you do run out of gas on the side of the road, it’s important to pull your vehicle as far as you can off the road and then call for assistance to come with an approved gas canister.

One very important thing to remember when watching your gas gauge – running your fuel tank low on a consistent basis can damage your fuel pump.   And knowing that the average fuel pump can cost as much as $900 to replace may help you remember to keep your fuel tank above ½ full at all times. 

3. Dead Battery

A dead battery is no fun. That moment when you get in the car, turn it on, and nothing happens. Followed shortly by the realization that the overhead light had been on all night. With newer vehicles, you don’t have to worry as much about leaving lights on and killing the battery, but there are still other factors that might cause it to go dead.   Age is probably the most common cause of battery failure.  

Weather can cause wear and tear on your vehicle battery, leading it to not work properly. Especially extreme cold. The same is true for extreme heat. If you do experience issues with your battery, you can first try to “jump” it. Make sure you carry a portable battery charger in your car in case of battery emergencies—yours and other people’s! Do not use the old fashioned jumper cables unless you are absolutely sure how to use them. A spark around a dead battery can cause an explosion… be extremely careful when attaching cables to your battery.  Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual if you’re unsure of how to use the portable jump box.  

4. Overheating

If your car overheats, it can cause serious, expensive damage. Especially in hot weather, make sure you monitor the temperature gauge regularly. If you see it getting into the yellow or red area, find a safe place to pull over and shut the engine off immediately. Let the vehicle sit for a little while before opening the hood. And remember… never take the radiator cap off of a hot radiator!

It’s also important that you monitor your vehicle’s fluid levels and make sure your oil, antifreeze, etc., are where they’re supposed to be. Your mechanic should check these during your regular oil change, but it’s always good to make sure. If your engine is losing antifreezes at a rapid pace the temperature gauge will not work accurately. So making sure you check all of your fluid levels on a consistent basis is a good habit to nave !

5. Not Getting Regular Tune-ups

One of the biggest mistakes people can make that leads them to get stranded is not scheduling regular tune ups on their vehicles. Having a trusted local mechanic like Stewart’s Donnybrook Automotive means your car is maintained by mechanics who know your vehicle. Depending on the vehicle’s age, model, environmental concerns from where you live, etc., professional technicians will check important components that have a tendency to break down, like your brakes, spark plugs, alternator, starter, etc.

This way, you can drive with peace of mind knowing your car is in its’ best possible condition to avoid breaking down and getting stranded.

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