Car breakdowns are a fact of life for people all over the world, but the harsh weather of the Northern Territory makes some common problems all the more challenging for top enders. With baking summer temperatures in the north that only get worse the further south you go, as well as rough roads and other hazards, there’s plenty to watch out for. But what are the most common causes of car breakdowns? Let’s take a look.
Low Coolant Levels
It seems obvious that the most complicated part of the car will go wrong the most, but of particular importance to Australian drivers are the twin worries of overheating and lubrication. Overheating can be a serious enough problem to wreck your car entirely, because a really hot engine can literally weld its parts together and stop dead in the road for good. Your car has engine coolant and a fan to help stop this from happening, but it’s easy for your coolant liquid to evaporate in the hot sun, especially if your car is left standing for a long time. Keep your coolant topped up regularly to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Your engine also needs oil to keep it lubricated, but once again hot weather can dry up your oil reserves or make it less effective. Make sure you top up your oil regularly, and if your oil is older and hasn’t been changed for a while, make sure to change it in case it has degraded.
Of all the parts of your car, the tyres probably take the most punishment, and that’s on the smooth highways and suburban streets. Venture south to some of the rougher roadways around Alice Springs and suddenly your tyres might not have much shelf life. Rocks, debris, spiny plants and unfortunate animals can all cause punctures, so not only is it a good idea to carry a spare tyre, but you should also keep track of how your tyres are performing. Bald patches, low tread, cracks and small punctures are all signs that your tyres are about to go pop – so get them changed before that happens.
The car’s battery is one area where Australians have an advantage over cooler climates, because cold weather is the car battery’s biggest enemy, slowing down the reactions that produce power until it goes dead. However, extreme heat still isn’t great for batteries because it can cause the electrolyte liquid inside to evaporate. This can expose the internal plates, which will become damaged over time and reduce its efficiency. Always make sure you keep an eye on the liquid level in your battery over the summer and be ready to replace your battery if levels get too low.
Get A Helping Hand
Of course, it’s easier said than done to stay on top of your car maintenance, and if the worst happens and you’re stranded, it helps to know there’s a helping hand. Banjo’s Anytime Towing Service is available to help in the Darwin area, rescuing drivers in anything from family cars to trucks and tractors with a prompt, friendly service. We’re the guys on your side when it all goes wrong!