How to avoid serious breakdowns with your car [Guide]

The occurrence of malfunctions in the car is certainly an unpleasant situation, but its timely elimination will prevent much more serious consequences. If you own and regularly use a car, you need to be sure that all of its systems and mechanisms are working properly. Unfortunately, all of us at least once have seen on the roads vehicles that are very far from this condition.

s a rule, the reason for such attitude to your property are several factors: it is both banal negligence and lack of money, as well as the stereotype that regular maintenance in the official service center will greatly affect the family budget. Now with a high degree of confidence, we can say that we live in a time when any car owner can be sufficiently informed about the structure and operating principles of his car, even without being a mechanic, so regular service visits with a competent approach – not such an expensive procedure, as is commonly believed.

The spread of the Internet has led to the fact that approximate rates for this or that work, as well as spare parts, have become publicly available, and low-quality service instantly receives negative reviews on forums and specialized sites.


Obviously, it takes some time to find a mechanic you can trust, but your task as a consumer is to know if it is worth going to this or that organization and spending your money there.

In other words, you should never operate a malfunctioning vehicle that can hardly move, and you can always get comprehensive information about the upcoming repair work, as well as their approximate cost from open sources.


It is obvious that some parts and work for their replacement cost considerable money, but driving a vehicle that is not fully operational can cost you your health and even your life. So, to avoid unreasonable risk, pay attention to your car and don’t give a chance to careless service men to earn money on you.


We’ve compiled a short list of those elements that, if neglected, can lead to more serious breakdowns. Some of them can be replaced by yourself in the open air with a minimum set of tools, and we are not talking about trivial wiper blades or light bulbs in the headlights, although they also require replacement to bring the car closer to ideal condition.


1. Air filter, Fuel filter, Pollen filter

air filter

Decent options you can easily find in the medium price range here, and any, even not very experienced motorist can easily list several well-known global brands. If you purchase the components yourself, do not be lazy to check the information about them in search engines, as well as to study reviews and information about performance characteristics.

If the mechanic servicing your car buys all the components without your participation, don’t be lazy to ask him which of the available options on the market will be the most efficient and economical. Remember that a cheap filter can cause serious damage to your engine and even put it out of operation.

Let’s start with the most responsible Fuel filter, whose main task is to prevent particles suspended in the fuel from entering the combustion chamber. Unfortunately, the quality of gasoline or diesel in our country leaves much to be desired, and modern injection systems – a complex mechanism with many small parts subject to wear, so the importance of a quality filter element is difficult to overestimate. If the motorist ignores the need to replace this component for a long time, its flow capacity decreases significantly, the engine starts running on a lean mixture, and the electronics increase the load on the fuel pump to compensate for the shortage, which leads to its rapid failure.

Equally important is the Air filter, which prevents dust and abrasive particles of road dirt from entering the engine. If it is not efficient enough, the wear of the cylinder-piston group will increase, and its excessively long operation will lead to irregular engine operation, as well as mass airflow sensor failure.


As for the Pollen filter, it is the least responsible component, but if you do not replace it for a long time, the efficiency of the heater or air conditioner will be significantly reduced, and this will lead to their operation in more productive modes and rapid wear.

2. Liquids replacement: antifreeze, transmission fluid, brake fluid

transmission fluid

This point is most important for cars with automatic transmissions, because their gearbox needs regular replacement of the working fluid, and the brand and type must strictly correspond to the model. It is recommended not only to strictly follow the manufacturer’s schedule, but also to change it a little earlier than required, and to pay attention to how the automatic transmission works, trying to detect even the slightest deviation from the normative values.

As for manual transmissions, they are less maintenance intensive and require only oil level checks and checking for leaks and leaks. If your vehicle has a high mileage and a high intensity of use, it is advisable to check and change the transmission oil more frequently than recommended. These actions are less time-consuming, but can save a significant amount of money on repairs.


It is also recommended to change the coolant at least once every two years, and to monitor its condition regularly. In addition to efficient cooling, it also requires resistance to corrosion in the cylinder block passages and lines. Therefore, if a brown substance is splashing around in the expansion tank, the corrosion inhibitor contained in it is probably not as effective as required by technical regulations, or its amount is extremely low.

As for the brake fluid, it should be changed at least every two years. In addition, this interval should be shortened if your vehicle is used to tow heavy trailers or if you are a fast driver. In addition to potentially dangerous leaks, exhausted brake fluid can lead to brake system failure, so don’t risk your life over a few thousand rubles spent on timely maintenance. The fact is that it is an extremely hygroscopic fluid that can absorb moisture from the air in the expansion tank, which if it reaches a certain percentage can cause it to boil over on a long descent or in traffic.

3. Spark plugs or glow plugs

These components are essential for proper engine operation, but their replacement interval is highly dependent on operating conditions. In addition, this indicator is simply ignored by many car owners.
Spark plugs or glow plugs.

Spark plugs have a direct influence not only on the uniformity of operation, but also on the power and fuel efficiency of the engine. The problem is that in most cases the failure of these elements occurs gradually with increasing wear, so it is not always possible to notice the need for replacement at an early stage.

It is worth remembering that operating the vehicle with this fault is accompanied by irregular idling, loss of traction, increased fuel consumption and difficult starting. Ignoring these symptoms for long enough may lead to a serious breakdown.


As for diesel engines, timely replacement of glow plugs is the most urgent problem. The essence of the problem lies in the fact that this type of engine needs to create high pressure inside the working chamber to work, as well as its ignition due to a glowing candle. Malfunctions in the ignition system are particularly pronounced during the cold season, when the engine may simply refuse to start.

The longevity of the spark plugs is highly dependent on the quality of the fuel, so if you have to refuel regularly at untested locations, shorten the interval between replacements of these parts.

4. Drive belts

drive belts

This is one of the cheapest components to replace and a breakdown could have catastrophic consequences for your engine.

All of the aforementioned systems can fail if the belt breaks. In addition, the degree of tensioning is also important which, depending on the vehicle design, depends on the skill of the car mechanic or the serviceability of the automatic tensioner. As a precautionary measure, regular inspections and service recommendations are recommended. Regarding tensioning, if the belt is loose, an unpleasant noise which resembles a squealing noise is emitted as the load increases, indicating the need for an immediate service visit.


A tear in the timing belt on a modern vehicle will cause the pistons and valves to collide, which will instantly put the engine out of operation and lead to subsequent overhaul. A cogged belt is used in this mechanism, not a cogwheel belt, as the slightest slippage is impermissible. This means that there is no noise in operation, and you can only rely on the specified service interval and visual assessment of its condition. Belt replacement work is extremely simple and can be carried out on your own, but we still recommend that you contact a reputable service partner.

5. Suspension component bushings and brake lines

As has been said many times before, a single worn component can affect the longevity of more expensive components and units, and lead to costly breakdowns and even accidents.

In addition to the potential danger, this also leads to a reduction in vibration-acoustic comfort, so driving with a loose suspension component will make driving extremely unpleasant.
As has been said many times before, a single worn component can affect the longevity of more expensive components and units, and lead to costly breakdowns and even accidents.

The same applies to the brake pipes as well as the fuel pipes. While the latter are made of metal alloys that guarantee many years of service, brake pipes need constant attention and timely replacement. Even a small leak can lead to the failure of a much-needed system, triggering a serious accident, so saving on replacing these elements is highly unwarranted.

Always check with the service department whether the system has been diagnosed when carrying out maintenance work. Also check the brakes in an unattended area and at low speed to assist in identifying any potential malfunctions.


Remember that constant monitoring of extraneous noises, squeaks, smells or knocks will help to identify the fault in good time and save on possible consequences. Any suspicions you may have should be explained in detail to a qualified mechanic. You should also describe the situation in which the noises or smells occur, in particular the engine temperature, driving speed or weather conditions, in order to protect not only your vehicle but also your health.

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