You are on the way to the beach on a beautiful summer’s day, and with half an hour to go, you see a car parked by the side of the road. A whole family behind the crash barrier and you think: gosh, I’m glad we haven’t broken down by the side of the road, I wouldn’t know what to do.
There are millions of cars that break down whilst on the roads and in this blog, you can learn what to do in case of a breakdown. There are many different reasons for breakdowns, we will walk you through the most common ones so you can hire a campervan with peace of mind. The most common breakdown causes on the road are a dead battery and having a flat tyre. Here are some advice on how to react to such issues :
The battery is essential for starting a car, switching on the lights, GPS, windscreen wipers and the radio. But when batteries get older, they stop working well. This can result in a defect, and eventually, it is time to replace them. But if you do have a flat battery, it is useful to know how to get it going again, at least for a while.
Starting a flat battery with jumper cables
The jumper cables method of course requires you to have jumper cables and another car with a full battery.
- Make sure both cars are switched off
- Attach the red clamp to the positive terminal of the flat battery
- Attach the other red clip securely to the car with the full battery
- Now securely fasten the black clamp to the negative terminal of the full battery
- The other black clamp must now be fastened to a metal point on the car with the flat battery. (For example, the engine block or the body)
- Start the engine of the car with the full battery and let it run for a few minutes so that there is a current flowing to the other car.
- In the car with the flat battery, turn off all energy sources (lights, radio, etc.) so that all the power goes to the starter motor.
- Then start the car with the flat battery and let it run for a few minutes.
- Then disconnect the cables in the reverse order
- Drive around for 20-40 minutes to allow the battery to recharge
If you want to start the car, but the battery is flat and there are no other cars with jumper cables nearby, you can always push the car!
- Turn on the ignition
- Depress the clutch pedal and keep it pressed
- Put the car in 2nd gear
- Push the car as hard as you can to get some speed
- Release the clutch and press the accelerator.
- Keep driving for a while to recharge the battery!
A flat tyre
A flat tyre is a common problem, along with a flat battery. This means that anyone who drives a car has a chance of this happening. You then have one option, call a tow service or fix it yourself.
What to do if you have a flat tyre?
New cars do not have a standard spare tyre in the boot but an emergency repair kit. This is because today’s cars are lighter and consume less fuel. The emergency repair kit does not always work well, as with larger leaks the foam usually fails. Thus, carrying a spare tyre is recommended. Both options will be explained below:
Fixing a puncture with the emergency repair kit
- First, get the repair kit from the boot or under the front seat (see instruction booklet)
- Remove the valve from the wheel
- Take the can of repair fluid and let it drain into the tyre
- Put the valve on the tyre
- Connect the compressor to the 12 V in the car
- Put the connection piece on the valve
- Switch the compressor on
- Then go to a garage as quickly as possible to repair the wheel
If the hole is so big that the wheel cannot be repaired, you have no choice but to call a tow service and they will put a spare tyre on for you.
Changing a flat tyre with a spare tyre
If you do have a spare tyre, you will need the following: a spare tyre, car jack, wheel spanner, warning triangle and, of course, the safety jacket.
- Get the spare tyre from the boot
- Place the spare under the car where the puncture is
- Put the jack under the jacking point
- Loosen the wheel bolts a little with the wheel spanner before jacking up the car (don’t forget to remove the wheel cover)
- Jack up the car
- Remove the flat tyre from under the car and replace it with the spare tyre
- Place the new wheel and tighten the bolts
- Turn the jack downwards
- Put the wheel spanner on the bolts and tighten the bolts with your body weight
- Put the flat tyre back in the boot
- Ready to go & don’t forget to get your original flat tyre repaired
Don’t forget to put out the warning triangle and put on your safety vest when you are on the side of the motorway.
About the Author
Anna has traveled to over 35 countries and is always looking for the next adventure for her and her dog.