Emer­gency break­down tips

Lesotho Times - - Motlo -

MOD­ERN cars, es­pe­cially if well­main­tained, are amaz­ingly re­li­able, but when some­thing does go wrong it al­ways seems to hap­pen in the worst pos­si­ble cir­cum­stances. Cars only seem to give trou­ble in heavy traf­fic or on the open road.

This is be­cause your car’s cool­ing sys­tem works hard­est in slow­mov­ing traf­fic, while the tyres take strain at sus­tained high­way speeds, es­pe­cially on a car loaded down with mid­win­ter school hol­i­day trav­ellers and their lug­gage.

Here’s what to do: 1 Don’t dive for the shoul­der of the road; you could put your­self or other road users at risk with sud­den un­ex­pected brak­ing or lane changes.

2 Stay calm and make all the rou­tine checks to en­sure the coast is clear be­fore mov­ing to the side of the road.

3 If you see your car’s tem­per­a­ture gauge go­ing up, turn off the car’s air-con­di­tioner and open all the win­dows to re­duce the load on the en­gine.

4 Then turn on the heater; it takes heat from the en­gine to warm up the pas­sen­ger com­part­ment - and tak­ing heat from the en­gine is just what you need.

5 Try to drive as smoothly as you can, us­ing the brakes and ac­cel­er­a­tor as lit­tle as pos­si­ble. 6 But if the nee­dle keeps head­ing for the red zone, or the en­gine be­gins to sound stressed, you are go- ing to have to pull over.

7 Look for a safe spot, and re­mem­ber other mo­torists don’t know about your prob­lems, so you need to make all the usual checks and sig­nals, be­fore get­ting as far off the road as pos­si­ble. Be­fore you even think about get­ting out of the car, put on the park­ing brake and haz- ard lights.

8 Open the bon­net from in­side the car, don’t do it man­u­ally be­cause you could get a nasty burn. 9 Leave ev­ery­thing to cool down while you put out a haz­ard tri­an­gle (which you are sup­posed to carry by law) — but only if you can safely walk a few me­tres away from the car with­out get­ting knocked down!

10 Check whether your coolant tank is up to at least the min­i­mum level; if not, said Judd, the chances are it’s leak­ing or the ra­di­a­tor cap isn’t seal­ing.

11 Care­fully re­move the cap, us­ing a cloth to pro­tect your hands, and top it up with the wa­ter in your de­signer gym bot­tle. 12 Drive slowly to the near­est me­chanic.

Flat tyre 1 Don’t try to change the wheel if you have to stand in the road to do it.

2 Work­ing on the side of the car away from the traf­fic should be safe, but chang­ing a wheel on the traf­fic side of the car is a not a good idea un­less you’re well off the road on a re­ally wide shoul­der. Rather stay in the car with the win­dows closed and doors locked and call a friend.

3 The same ap­plies if your car has a prob­lem you can’t fix; keep your road­side as­sis­tance ser­vice provider on speed dial.

4 And while you’re on the phone, don’t for­get to let friends or fam­ily know where you are and that you might be de­layed. — IOL

Chang­ing a wheel on the side of the car away from the traf­fic is safer.

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