Breakdowns are a common sight in Malaysia, particularly with the growing numbers of vehicles on the road. Over the last 5 years, the number of vehicles on the road have more than triple, according to the Road Transport statistics. There are several factors contributing to the increased number of breakdowns in the country. At the top of the list is improper car service routine, lack of car maintenance and complete ignorance. 

In this guide, we’ll share with our readers on how to prevent breakdowns. After all, the old saying goies, ‘Prevention is better than cure’. Firsts things first, there is a way to reduce risk by getting to know your vehicle and ensure that it is regularly serviced. It is advisable to pay attention to the feel of the car or unwanted sound or noises and investigate. Do not ever ignore warning lights. These weekly checks will help you sort out the car and prevent from any misbehaving or irregularity. Check the car’s tyres’ condition and pressure at least every 2 weeks. Next pop the hood to look at the coolant fluid levels, window wash liquid levels and engine oil stick, as well as adjust water nozzles of there’s a neccessity. When you get in the car, pay attention to the fuel gauge, oil level and make sure your wipers are good, all lights function and the mirrors are clean and properly aligned to your field of vision.

Monthly routine to prevent a breakdown

If you follow the weekly routines, your car should be in a relatively good shape and would not easily breakdown. Further to the weekly routines, you should look into the tyres more in-depth, on a monthly basis. Inspect the tyres tread for depth with a minimum of 1.6 mm, and also look out for any uneven wear and general condition.

Once the car is all good, it’s time to be prepared for the journey. Before the journey, especially long distance, it’s advisable to get clear directions and bring along items to help you cope in the event of a breakdown. Items include GPS device, if your car or smartphone doesn’t already got it, extra clothing, car’s manual, first aid kit, spare bulbs or fuses, mechanic or breakdown contact, torch, high-visibility signs (warning triangle), tow rope and a phone charger.

Even after you’re well prepared, a breakdown is sometimes inevitable. Here’s what to do if you have a breakdown. First and foremost, do your level best to stay off the road and make sure your passengers are safe. When you get out of the car, put on a bright shirt or high visibility jacket/vest and put up hazard signs at least 45m behind the car to let others see you. Use your warning lights to alert others, more so if visibility is low. Never stand between the car and oncoming traffic. It’s always safer to be away from a stationary car. If it’s at night, then stay in the car or find a well-lit spot to wait for your tow truck.

When it’s safe to do so, call for assistance. Most people will call the police in the event of an accident, but for a breakdown it would be more effective to call a trusted friend or mechanic. Most insurance companies have a 24-hour breakdown service, it might be another good source for breakdowns. Some insurance firms offer free towing service within an area’s distance radius.

Breakdown on highways

When you’re having a breakdown on a highway, try to pull up at a nearest exit or emergency spot. If it isn’t possible to do so, pull up to the emergency lane and turn your wheels left. Quickly put up hazard lights and signals. After everything’s safe, exit the car on the left side. Never attempt to fix your car on a highway. If available, put on a high visibility shirt or cloth. The final step would be to call for immediate assistance from highway authorities or patrols, friends or trusted workshop.