Disclaimer: This information is general in nature only. While Budget Direct has endeavoured to ensure the information we’ve relied on is accurate and current, we do not guarantee it. Budget Direct accepts no liability for this information.

You don’t need to be a mechanic to pick some of the signs your car might break down soon. With a little know-how and some simple checks, you can potentially avoid the hassles of being stuck on the side of the road.

To give you the best chance possible of avoiding a sticky situation like a breakdown, we’ve prepared our list of warning signs your car might give you of impending trouble.

Fluid leaks

A little bit of condensation from your car’s air conditioner is nothing unusual. But if anything other than a few drops of water is spotted under your car, something could easily have gone wrong.

Your transmission, engine, steering, brakes, fuel, and cooling systems all rely on airtight fluid circuits, and leaks could cause serious issues to your car.

If you spot something unusual, don’t wait until it’s too late. Have the leak investigated by a licensed mechanic.

Your brakes look/smell unusual

Everyone has a different driving style. We don’t often think about it, but each style will wear down brakes at significantly different rates.

Don’t just wait for a mechanic’s recommendation. If you see something unusual, or smell something along the lines of burning plastic, it could mean your pads are near the end of their life. If that’s the case, you might find yourself needing to make an emergency stop, if suddenly your braking power is reduced on the road.

Wearing tyres

Aging tyres present risks on two fronts. Firstly, the decreased grip presents obvious risks to your safety, preventing you from safely avoiding collisions or other hazards on the road. Secondly, a balding tyre is more likely to burst if hit by a sharp object, or pothole.

Maintaining the correct air pressure in your tyres is a good start but replacing your tyres once they’re too old is the smartest way to avoid an unexpected stop on the side of a highway.

Warning lights

There are plenty of lights on your dashboard – from cruise control to fuel warnings. With enough ordinary lights showing, it can be easy to miss the important ones, like high temperatures or engine warning lights.

It may sound simple, but check what warning lights remain active after you’ve started the car. Some are more serious than others and require immediate attention so check your car’s manual as to what they mean, or for a quick reference, this article from Gofar: Car warning light symbols and indicators.

Know what to do if you do break down

Sometimes, all the best preparations won’t prevent your car from breaking down. If that’s ever the case, have an idea of how you’ll handle it. Is it something you can safely resolve yourself, or will you need professional assistance?

With Roadside Assistance with Budget Direct, you’ll have unlimited callouts, 24/7 access to trained technicians, and free advice from our support hotline. You can find out more about our yearly memberships (and adding Roadside Assistance to your existing car insurance policy) on our website.