No one likes to get in the car and hear a click when you expect to hear the engine start, but car trouble is something that most people experience at least occasionally. You can’t always prevent cars from breaking down, but you can be prepared when it happens. Here are some questions to ask yourself when your car breaks down.
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Last week the kids and I stopped for a simple stretch break at a convenience store. We had been traveling for several hours and were ready to get a snack. What we thought would be a quick 15 minute stop turned in to 7 hours and 17 minutes. We were fortunate that we only needed a new battery but we learned a few things that all of us need to remember.
Am I safe?
The first question to need to ask when the car breaks down is “am I safe?” Are you in a location with lights, people and securely out of the flow of traffic? Check your surroundings and make sure you and your travel companions are in a safe environment before you start assessing your options. If you are not in a safe location, do what is needed to ensure your safety.
What are my options?
Now that you are safe, take a look at your options. Is the breakdown something you can easily fix? Is the tire flat or the battery dead? Once you have evaluated your options, start the process to get help or fix the problem.
Who do I need to call?
Do you need to call anyone specific to let them know you are going to be late? Is there someone expecting you that needs to be alerted? Do you have a family member that can easily come and help? Do you have a car repair service that you can contact?
Can I do anything to improve my situation?
Once you have established your options and made some phone calls to get help, it’s time to evaluate your situation. What can you do to make your waiting time better? Can you roll down the windows and make the temperature more comfortable? If you are traveling with kids, can you play games or let them play on electronic devices?
Am I prepared?
Because we don’t know when we will experience car trouble, we need to be prepared at all times. There are some basic things that need to be in the vehicle at all times.
- If you have a key fob, keep a spare battery in the glove box since many modern vehicles won’t start if the fob battery dies.
- Do you know how to use jumper cables? Do you keep a set in your trunk? You can buy a battery vehicle charger combo that will let you jump start your car for less than $75!
- Do you have snacks and water in your vehicle in case you are stuck in the car for an extended amount of time?
- Is there a first aid kit in your vehicle in case you need it?
Do you need to be towed?
If you need to be towed, make sure you check to see how many people can ride in the truck. Typically, the truck will only take 2 passengers. If you are traveling with more than 2 people, you need to find options to keep your family safe and together.
Ask the tow truck where you are being towed. Many dealers have drivers that will give you a complimentary ride to the shop so you can all be in the same place while the vehicle is being repaired.
Have you had car trouble and learned anything from it? What are some questions you asked when you experienced car break downs?