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What you should do if your car breaks down

Published 13 April 2016 by

There’s never a good time for your car to break down and no matter when and where it happens, it’s going to cause problems – you’ll be late, it could cost a lot and you might have to cancel appointments. It can even be dangerous, especially if your car stops working on a motorway and you don’t know what to do.

That’s why it’s important to be prepared for any problems with your car so you know what to do to stay safe and who to contact if you’ve got breakdown cover. Let’s go through our top tips for if your car breaks down.

On the motorway

If your car suddenly gives up the ghost when you’re on the motorway, the most important thing is getting yourself safe as quickly as possible. Pull your car onto the hard shoulder as soon as it’s safe and switch on your hazard lights. Get out of the car on the passenger side and stand behind the safety barriers.

Call your breakdown provider using your mobile – if you don’t have a signal, you should be able to find an emergency phone on your side of the motorway by following roadside markers. If you’ve not got breakdown cover, you can call a local garage or the Highways Agency to tow your car but you’ll have to pay fees for this.

It’s not quite as dangerous if you break down on a minor road but you still need to make sure you stop somewhere safe. Again, switch your hazard lights on and get clear of the car before you call for help.

Breakdown cover

A standard breakdown cover policy can help you out if your car breaks down, as you won’t have to pay any extra if you call them out. Depending on the level of cover you take out, you could be covered for any work that needs to be carried out at the roadside.

You could even be covered if your car needs to be towed to a garage to carry out the work – though this is usually only on more comprehensive policies. The jobs you need doing might also be included in your policy but you’ll usually have to pay for any replacement parts you need.

If you’ve not got breakdown cover and you break down, you can even call an insurer and get a breakdown policy over the phone. You’ll have to pay for this and it will usually cost more than if you’d bought a policy in advance.

Before you do this, you should find out how much it would cost to get your car towed by a local garage. You usually have to pay based on how far your car will be towed so if you’re miles away from any garage, it will probably work out quite expensive and a breakdown policy is likely to be cheaper.