Top 6 Causes Of Car Breakdowns And Signs To Look Out For

It’s said that for many Australians, there’s nothing quite as annoying as having a car breakdown when you need to be somewhere very important. At times, there’s nothing you could do about it except be prepared when it happens. Other times, you may prevent it by taking great care of your car and being vigilant when on the road.   

Here are some top cases of car breakdowns many Western Australia drivers are said to experience and the signs to look out for: 

  1. Faulty Battery  

A bad battery is believed to be one of the biggest causes of car breakdowns. A battery is used to power most of the electronics on your car. These include your lights, radio, and many other components like sensors that help operate your car. Without a well-functioning battery, you could end up with an inconvenient breakdown, which may need the help of a Perth tow truck and others in the City of Light.   

Signs of a dead or worn-out battery include the following:  

  • Hard starting;   
  • Long cranking when starting;  
  • Failure to start when the key is turned;  
  • A red battery warning light in the instrument cluster while you’re driving; and   
  • Dimming lights that brighten when you accelerate.   

Look out for the abovementioned car symptoms to avoid an expected breakdown in the middle of the road. 

  1. Alternator Problem  

Your car’s alternator has the essential function of charging up your battery. It generates electric power when the car engine is running. It can be difficult to charge the battery without the alternator and it would quickly run out of storage power.   

The alternator is safely hidden in the engine compartment of your car, so you can’t specifically maintain it. You could, however, look out for signs of problems.  

If you noticed that your car’s power supply isn’t quite right, it’s okay to suspect the alternator. If you have dimming dashboard lights, headlights, slow signal lights, and a battery warning light in your instrument cluster, you should get your alternator checked.  

  1. Misfuelling  

Putting the wrong type of fuel in your car is one of the quickest ways of having a car breakdown. Although it’s not uncommon to pour petrol into your diesel car or vice versa, it can be a costly mistake.  

If you’re an unfortunate victim of such a mistake, you must act fast to prevent irreversible damage to your vehicle. Usually, you’d need to have the fuel drained by a mobile mechanic Perth and other professionals in the area where you’re stuck to who will come and replace it immediately. Otherwise, the wrong fuel could cause extensive damage to your injectors.   

Usually, the car will begin by misfiring and losing power when you put the wrong petrol. In worse scenarios, the car will stagger and suddenly cut off and may crank without starting. The sooner you act, the better it is for your car. 

  1. Electrical Issues  

Sometimes electrical problems can be the cause of your car breakdown. The car has a wide range of electrical circuits which control various aspects of your vehicle from your radio to your lighting and computer box. The system may encounter many potential problems in the wiring, fuses, and other components like bulbs and regulators.  

You could easily notice an electrical fault if it’s something like a worn-out fuse or bulb, but at times you’d need a qualified auto electrician or mechanic to trace the problem and come up with a diagnosis. The signs of an electrical problem include malfunctioning components such as the radio, aircon, lighting, and so forth. At times the car will warn you via the instrument cluster on the dashboard that there’s a matter of concern regarding the car’s electric components. 

  1. Damaged Tires   

Tire punches are also among the most common breakdown causes. Several unseen circumstances could cause tire punctures including potholes and other objects such as nails, broken glass, and other sharp objects on the road. When you accidentally run over such hazards, stop and inspect your tires for possible damage.   

If your tires are not well maintained, they are more likely to fall prey to unforeseen tire hazards on the road easily. You have to do your best to take good care of your tires by ensuring that they’re inflated with the right amount of pressure. Also, always check for any signs of uneven wear. This could be an indication of the misalignment of the wheels.   

Always check your spare wheel and make sure it has enough pressure. Make sure you have a jack and wheel spanner ready in case you need to replace one of your wheels. 

  1. Keys And Alarms Problems 

Because of central locking systems and complicated alarms, sometimes you could find yourself locked out of your car. It’s also not unusual to accidentally lock and forget your keys in the car or the trunk, which could cause you to call for help. Some modern cars also have sophisticated anti-hijack systems that could either malfunction or misread their surroundings and cut out the engine.   

Key and alarm system failures will not always come with a warning, so you can only be prepared for such an eventuality. Always make sure you have a spare set of keys in case you lose your keys or your car’s installed door security system malfunctions.   


Car breakdowns are an inconvenience. To avoid them, you have to take great care of your car. Keep a good service record and always look out for any anomalies with the way it runs. If it needs tune-up and maintenance, get it sorted on time. The instrument cluster on the dashboard is one place to check for any vehicular problems. They say if you take great care of your car, it’ll take great care of you in return.  

Author: June McGown