Breakdowns and accidents are something every driver will experience, no matter how careful or well prepared they are. If you go prepared for the worse, you’ll be able to cope better when it happens, and help others in worse trouble.
You can help avoid breakdowns by getting to know your car and by carrying out the basic regular checks.
If your car isn’t under warranty breakdown cover, join a breakdown organization. Basic breakdown cover is cheap and even t he most expensive and comprehensive packages are still likely to be cheaper than the police duty garage’s fee for recovery from a UK motorway. Breakdown cover is also not only cheaper than a garage call-out but you know who to call no matter what time of day or where you are.
Check the small print on any breakdown cover to ensure it meets your needs. For example, some warranty cover only says it will take the car to the nearest dealer if it cannot be fixed at the roadside – not much use on a wet Sunday night. Though most breakdown cover recovery services will recover caravans and trailers, all exclude trailers carrying livestock, like horse trailers, so arrange specialist breakdown cover for that.
It should be noted that the legal requirements set out here for what you must do at the scene of a breakdown or accident are for the UK and they vary greatly from state to state, so you must check what is required of you locally.
While you are checking the car’s tire-changing kit, check the handbook to see if it has a removable towing eye and make sure it is with the tools if it needs one. To give cars a tidier appearance, many manufacturers have done away with fixed loops to attach tow ropes to and replaced them with ones that screw in, usually into a hole in the bumper with a removable cover. Unfortunately, these often do not get passed on with secondhand cars. As a 4×4 owner living in the country, I sometimes get asked to pull foolish drivers out of the mud or snow and if they do not have this towing loop you can’t help them. They must call a breakdown organization or garage who either have replacement loops or alternative ways of recovering the car.