Broken Car? A Step-by-Step Maintenance Guide

February 23rd, 2016 by


If you’ve ever had to drive around in a beaten up, aging car, you’ve probably found yourself stranded on the road several times. When this issue pops up for the first time, you may panic and be unsure of what to do.

Luckily, we’ve got you covered. You’ll find a guide below that will come in handy when you find yourself with a dead engine, a dead battery, or a non-operating vehicle. While the inevitable ending point is a visit to a car maintenance service, it’s still important to understand what to do prior to these visits…

Of course, before you follow any of the steps below, you’ll want to assure that you’re in a safe and secure place. If you sense that your vehicle is starting to fail while you’re on the road, you’ll want to pull over as soon as possible. It may be tough to anticipate these types of issues, but dead cars often give some sort of an indication of their upcoming demise. If you find yourself stranded in the middle of a busy road, do not leave the car. You may feel like it’s dangerous to park your vehicles in the middle of the road, but it’s even riskier trying to maneuver through those oncoming moving cars on foot.

Diagnose the Issue



We’re certainly not all car experts, but it doesn’t take rocket science to determine why your vehicle suddenly died. If the engine has kicked it because of overheating, you’ll probably notice steam coming from the road before you’ve even pulled over. Kris Goorhuis of has a relatively easy fix for this: turn on the heat inside the vehicle and (if the engine is lacking coolant) pour water into the tank next to the radiator.

When it comes to engines, this may actually be the best case scenario. The engine may have just called it quits, which could be contributed to a variety of reasons. In these situations, there’s nothing you can do to temporarily remedy these issues.



Otherwise, if your vehicle has suddenly stopped operating, you may be looking at a battery issue. Faulty battery problems typically persist over time, but you may be caught off guard the first time the battery decides to stop working. To be prepared, you should travel with a set of jumper cables (of course, you’ll need to rely on a fellow driver, as well).



Well, this one is quite obvious, and you should recognize that your vehicle’s inability to drive effectively is due to a bum tire. There are several online tutorials that will show you how to simply change a tire, and you can then stay prepared by having a spare and a lift in your car.

Call for Help


If you can’t repair the issue yourself, you’re going to want some help. If the issue prevents you from driving (or operating the vehicle safely), you’re going to need to get the vehicle towed. A subscription with AAA could certainly come in handy in these situations, or you could also rely on a buddy who has a big enough truck to tow your ride.

Visit a Mechanic/Service Center


Whenever a vehicle stops working, it isn’t a good sign. Sure, you may have fixed the issue and gotten your car back on the road, but there isn’t any assurance that the issue won’t pop up again.

That’s why it’s essential that you visit a professional mechanic or technician when your car has stopped operating. They’ll be able to truly diagnose the issue, and they may identify any underlying issues that caused the problem in the first place.


Visiting a mechanic may seem like an unnecessary use of money, but remember how much money you could be paying for future repairs.

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