Having your car break down at the side of the road (or even in a parking lot) can be a harrowing experience, especially if you don't have any kind of towing service membership plan. If you plan ahead, though, and keep focused and calm, you will be able to navigate through the process of fixing/towing your vehicle. Here are some things to check after a breakdown:

Dead Battery or Alternator

The most common reason a car won't start is due to a dead battery and/or alternator. If you turn the key and nothing happens except a clicking sound, it's likely the battery. Check to see if the battery cables are secure; if not, secure them if you feel comfortable doing so. It's a good idea to keep a set of jumper cables in your car at all times; a dead battery could just need a boost. That would be enough to get you back on the road so that you can get the car to a service station.

Blown Tyre

If you have a blown or flat tyre and you have a spare, you can change it on the spot and be on your way. If not, you'll have to call a towing service to come and take your vehicle to the nearest service station. You should always have a spare tire and jack in your car in case of a flat or blown tyre—and then make sure you know how to change it!

Burning Smell

This could indicate any number of problems, from low oil levels to more serious electrical issues. If you see smoke coming from under the hood or there is a burning smell around your vehicle, get out, get your personal belongings and call for assistance immediately.


Regardless of what the issue is, if your car has broken down and you don't feel comfortable doing any repair work yourself, call for a towing service. You'll need to give them the specifics of your vehicle (make, model, etc.) and your exact location, of course. To make things more convenient, keep a list handy of towing services in your area. If your vehicle needs to be towed a long distance, consider requesting a flatbed truck. This will save wear and tear on your frame, tyres and axle.

Having your car break down is never a fun experience, but having some basic knowledge of what to check for and knowing who to call in an emergency can keep you calm and focused through it all.