10 First aid tips for a car breakdown

Published On  August 26, 2014 03:19 PM By Rajpal Rajpal at CarDekho.com

With the passage of time, cars are getting advance and breakdowns are less often, good! But at the same time, the cars get complex as well. Gone are the days, when you can restart the car by pouring water in the car and pushing it forward. So, it is obvious, if you face a car break down in middle of nowhere, it is worse than a nightmare. Though, cars get complex, diagnosing a problem is still not as complex. We have prepared a short to-do guide when your car breaks down.

10 First aid tips for a car breakdown

1. Don’t block the way:

First get your car at side. Standing middle in the way won’t make your car start, but there are chances that a careless driver might end-up crashing his vehicle into yours. After getting it parked road side, put the radial hazard sign triangle and hazard lights on, so the others get to know about the vehicle from distance.

2. Call professional help:

To be on safe side, call the 24X7 assistance or your mechanic, as if you won’t be able to re-start the car, they can reach you in time.

3. Read the user manual:

Do you carry user manual in your car? If not, start doing the same, it is to help you in situations and not to put it at home. It is impossible for anyone to know everything about his car and here the user manual helps you out. In case, you are not carrying it then download it from OEM website in your phone and search it for required information.

4. Check for the drained Battery:

In most of the cases the culprit is the electrical system. It runs the starter motor, which cranks the engine and allow it to fire. In petrol engine, the spark plugs get spark from the electrical system to ignite the fuel-air mixture. Check for the drained out battery. The ideal way is to turn on the car, don’t start it. If all the dash board lights are illuminating, then turn on the headlamps and blow horn, if you find that there is no sign of weak or drained battery then it is time to get it further. But if you find that there is no response, there might be several reasons for it,

  • Loose Battery Terminal : Try to tighten the terminals.
  • Blown Out Fuse: Read your user manual and locate the fuse box and Starter Relay, replace it with some other relay, for example AC Relay and try to restart the car.
  • Completely Drained Battery: Time to call a friend with jumper cables and his car.
  • Short Circuit : Wait for 24X7 assistance or your mechanic .

5. Check for starter motor related problems:

If your battery is working, try to start the car, there can be three situations:

  • Starter motor is turning on but slow: Low battery problem, batter to jump start
  • There is no noise from starter motor: Loose starter motor cable or defective starter solenoid
  • You can hear a click sound: Some time the Bendix gear jammed up, which doesn’t allow engine to crank. Put the car in 3rd / 4th gear push it backward. It will release the Bendix. Try to re-start the car.

6. Starter motor churning but engine is not firing:

In this scenario there can be three reasons:

  • Central Lock: Your central locking / security system may be intervening by cutting out power to the ECM. Put the central lock off by pulling the fuse out.
  • Fuel Cut-Off inertia switch: Some cars come with fuel cut-off inertia switch. If someone has tried to ram your parked car, it could have triggered the inertia switch to cut off the fuel supply. You can reset it by taking help with your user manual.
  • Problem in fuel line: Wait for professional help

7. Fuel

  • Running out of fuel: Ask someone to come up with fuel in jerry can
  • Filling up the tank with the wrong fuel: A lot of people get there petrol cars filled with diesel or vice versa, in this case your car need to be towed to the nearest service station, where you will be billed heavily.

8.  Clutch

Excessive stress on the car’s clutch or usual wear & tear is also a possible reason. Were you driving your car roughly or have done a race recently? Though, you can feel it by noticing change in your clutch behavior. Wait for tow van, your car needs new clutch.

9.  Spark plugs and HT leads

Spark plug and HT cable can also cause problems, if there is no spark in plugs, the HT coil may have failed. For information OBD may be needed (i.e. hooking up a laptop to the car) to detect what is causing this. Wait for professional help.

10. Learn when to say no:

Apart from these basic things, there can be more problems like blown head gasket to a broken crankshaft, from fouled injectors to ECM failures, from seized pistons to snapped timing belts. So, if all attempts goes in vain, it’s better to wait for the professional help. As continuous attempts to restart your engine will leave you with a flat battery or you will end up burning starter solenoid or some serious damage.


  • This article is to help you in a situation, where the professional help might take a long time to reach and you can get out from small technical hitches.
  • If you think the place is not safe to get out of the car and examine, be in the car and lock all the doors and windows.
  • Don’t ask strangers for help, it might be dangerous

Always carry some necessary things with you-

  • Jack and wheel removal kit
  • User manual
  • Hazard triangle sign
  • Important numbers written on a paper
  • Torch
  • Jumper cables
  • Jerrycan with 2-3 litre fuel
  • Towing cable


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