Why does my car break down?
Why does my car break down? Auto mechanics hear this from time to time and it seems to be difficult for people to understand why one car breaks down more than another so I thought I would blog about it so I could better understand how to explain it when asked.
There is defiantly a “chance” or “luck of the draw” factor involved. Sometimes things don’t go quite right in manufacturing and a defect or poor design can happen. If enough of these flaws happen on say a Toyota or Chev, a recall is issued by the manufacturer and you get a free fix for the problem.
More often your breakdown is caused by abuse, skipped maintenance or normal ware.
Examples of abuse are driving with one foot on the brake and one on the gas, forgetting to take the paring brake off, towing a load larger than the vehicle is designed for, driving off road, getting stuck and spinning the tires and hard braking, accelerating and turning. What only takes one time of a few minutes of this type of activity can cause hours of work for your mechanic.
Normal ware on a car or truck is accelerated by stop and go driving and short trips. A sales person driving for hours on the freeway every day is considered “normal” driving by car makers. The driving most people do is short trips and many start stop cycles and your oil changes and other maintenance need to be performed more often so they are listed under “severe service” in your vehicles owners’ manual.
Over the years we have had customers with 300 to 400 thousand miles on there car. My father put over 300,000 on his 1964 Buick without any major repairs. The thing they all had in common was an obsession with keeping ahead of maintenance items and driving with a light touch. They all did fluid changes, brakes, batteries, tires, shocks/struts and other normal ware items before they needed to be done. When you wait until a service item needs to be done according to schedule, it may already have caused a ware problem on another related component due to rough or severe driving. I don’t want to get to wordy here so let’s address how a skipped service item affects other components in my another article.