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Car Broken Down? Learn How To Be Prepared for Life’s Surprises

BY: Alex Perrone
Tow truck providing roadside assistance to a white car

As a car owner, experiencing a breakdown is never ideal, and depending on the severity, an unexpected issue with your vehicle can cause emotional and financial stress. From a simple flat tire to complete engine failure, just about anything can happen to any car – old or new.

Car breakdowns are fairly common, and you will probably experience at least one over the lifetime of your vehicle. According to a 2019 study, 69 million vehicle breakdowns occur in the U.S. each year, averaging out to 1 in every 3 drivers experience a breakdown.

Vehicle breakdowns are frequent yet unpredictable, with the potential to happen while your car is parked, driving down a local road, or on the highway. To help you prepare for a breakdown, here are some actions you can take and tips on how to be ready before it happens.

How to Deal With a Car Breakdown

  1. Check Your Surroundings: Evaluate your situation, and the most important thing is to make sure everyone is safe.
  2. Get Somewhere Safe: Pull over to a safe place, if possible, such as the shoulder of the road or a nearby parking lot. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers if you can’t get off the road, and turn off your car.
  3. Stay Calm: Remain composed and try to avoid panicking. Take deep breaths to help clear your mind and focus on the situation.
  4. Call for Assistance: Call roadside assistance (like AAA or your car insurance company) for a tow truck. If you’re in a remote area, also call someone you trust and let them know your location.
  5. Assess the Issue: If you have basic vehicle knowledge, cautiously inspect your car to identify any visible issues. Only attempt complex repairs if you’re experienced; otherwise, leave it to the professionals when they get there.
  6. Future Safety Preparations: Be ready for other potential breakdowns down the road. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, including essential items like water, snacks, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a cell phone charger, a tire pressure gauge, jumper cables, hazard cones with reflectors, a basic automotive toolkit, and a spare tire. These supplies will be invaluable if and when you experience another breakdown.

Once you can safely get your vehicle to the repair shop, a professional mechanic can take a look at your car and provide you with a repair quote. If you have a factory warranty or extended warranty, your mechanic can help advise you on what is and what isn’t covered. You should also contact your provider to review your contract and coverage details.

A manufacturer’s warranty will generally cover the bulk of the cost of common repairs, giving you an affordable solution. However, if your factory warranty has expired and you do not have an extended warranty, you will be left to pay the repair bills on your own. As labor prices and the cost of repair parts increase, this cost is rising. Cars are becoming more complex as technology advances, so aftermarket coverage like an extended warranty or vehicle service contract can help alleviate the cost of these bills.

When the Breakdown Occurs

If you experience a breakdown while driving, you should know what to do to get to safety and ensure your vehicle is taken care of as quickly as possible. Follow these steps to get your car off the road and out of harm’s way as quickly as possible.

If You’re Driving

Be aware of your surroundings and the nature of your issue. If you can reach a secure and open area, like a parking lot, try to do so. Alternatively, if this isn’t feasible, pull over to the roadside, ensuring you’re on even ground as much as possible.

The primary objective is to distance yourself from traffic to minimize the risk of a collision. Remember to turn on your hazard lights to signal other motorists about your situation.

Avoid attempting to push a non-functioning vehicle off the road if traffic is present. Likewise, if there’s any chance of your car being struck by another vehicle, refrain from staying inside. Exit the car on the side opposite to the flow of traffic.

If You’re Not Driving

Evaluate the significance of your daily plans and inform relevant individuals about the situation. This could include your spouse, employer, child’s daycare center, etc. Provide them with an update on your status and plan for addressing the car issue before proceeding to the next step.

Getting Help with Your Vehicle

Man calling a mechanic when checking under a hood of his carOnce you have safely gotten your car out of harm’s way, you can start to make a plan to get your vehicle repaired. Let’s look at the steps you can take, whether you are at home or stuck on the side of the road.

If You’re Away From Home

Access the situation and determine if you and your passengers can repair the vehicle or if it needs to be repaired by a professional mechanic. If you are uncomfortable making the repair yourself, you must have the car transported to a repair shop. Calling a tow truck or roadside assistance phone number will allow you to safely get your vehicle to the repair shop without further damaging the car.

If You’re At Home

You might be able to take another vehicle and pick up the repair parts yourself if you’re confident in what you’re doing. This is a fairly straightforward process for maintenance items such as replacing windshield wipers, oil changes, and dead batteries.

Still, most of us are not trained mechanics who can fix a vehicle on the spot, so it’s better to leave it to the professionals. If your manufacturer’s warranty still covers your car or has an extended warranty, you may qualify for complimentary towing and roadside assistance.

In a perfect world, we would all be able to resolve any car breakdown to save ourselves money easily. However, the reality is that we need to possess the skills to properly repair a car that has broken down on the side of the road. That is where an extended auto warranty, also known as a vehicle service contract, comes in.

An extended warranty is what it sounds like: an extension of your factory warranty. These types of warranties offer more benefits than many factory warranties, making it easy to have your vehicle repaired at just about any professional mechanic’s shop.

One significant advantage of having extended warranty coverage for your vehicle is the reliable team of experts who stand by you whenever your vehicle requires repair work. It’s no secret that most drivers dread taking their cars to the mechanic and receiving a high repair bill. However, an extended warranty can help alleviate these concerns – and help pay for the repair costs!

Keeping Your Car Protected From Breakdowns

As the leading extended warranty provider, Endurance makes it easy to get your car repaired after an unexpected breakdown. With a wide selection of plans and customizable coverage options, you can find an auto protection plan that fits your specific budget and needs.

Whether you need an affordable contract that covers your most expensive drivetrain components or want a plan similar to your original factory warranty, Endurance has you covered. All Endurance customers receive standard perks with their coverage plans, including 24/7 roadside assistance, towing services, and lockout assistance. You can also take advantage of our Elite Benefits package for a small activation fee. These extra perks include tire repair and replacement, $1,000 in total loss protection, and more!

Ensure your vehicle is protected. Contact the Endurance customer service team at (800) 253-8203 for a FREE customized quote. Alternatively, you can visit our online store to view a recommended plan for your vehicle and receive an instant price estimate.

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