Ever been in Lagos traffic and while everything seemed just fine, your car suddenly goes off? You will be somewhat fortunate if you had a few signs of this imminent attack – at least, you would have had time to look around on where best to pull over.
But where this is not the case, a car’s engine that suddenly faints on you can either be a nightmare or ‘daymare’, depending on where and when this happens.
Below are 6 reasons why most cars quit on their drivers….at least for a while.
1. Your Car Runs Out Of Fuel
This is unarguably the mildest, yet most embarrassing reason why car engines suddenly feel like Third Mainland Bridge might just be home. The commonest cause of this is a faulty fuel gauge. If it looks like your tank has been half-full for 4 days as you continue to drive around, well, get it checked, or prepare for a not-too-pleasant surprise.
If this ever happens to you, God forbid, and you can find a way to get to a nearby petrol station, then you would be of all stranded men, most fortunate. Except you are certain that you bought sufficient fuel recently, this is the first place to begin investigation on why your car’s loyalty decamped.
2. You Might Have A Defective Alternator
Years ago, I was newly wed. My wife and I were on our way back from an event. Blaring the sound system at high volumes, running the AC like Sahara desert was seated behind, I suddenly noticed my battery indicator flashed on my dashboard….signs of things to come. I kept driving, oblivious of what that meant until, suddenly, my car lost pace and all lights on the dashboard came on. Time was about 8pm. Summary? The alternator had died.
Faulty alternators are somewhat kind. They will alert you. How quickly you see it and how close to help you are, is another ball game entirely. If you ever notice flashing battery light on your dashboard, please turn off every power-draining option like AC, lights, sound and turn on your ‘prayer mode’ until you can safely pull over. It is important to also check if the fan belt hasn’t been cut in two, as that might be the reason the alternator died.
3. Check for an Overheating Engine
It’s rumored that this happens more to women than it does to men. But just before you begin your ‘battle of the sexes’, let me say that this can grind an engine to a halt and even leave it in a very damaged state if the rising temperature sign is ignored long enough (assuming that this is working).
It is wise on seeing a rapidly surging temperature gauge, to quickly pull over and allow your engine cool down until it is safe to either pour water into the radiator or troubleshoot the cause of the overheating. Known causes of overheating will be discussed in the very near future.
4. Check For ‘Sensitive’ Sensors
For most recent cars, an ‘aggrieved’ sensor can choose the wrong time to pay the car owner in a very hard and painful currency. Resolving this often needs the intervention of a skilled technician. Where such a technician isn’t within quick reach, towing the vehicle to a mechanic’s workshop might be a safe option.
5. You Might Have Fuel Pump Issues
Remember, the fuel pump is a pump. If its pressure fails or is weakened significantly, this pump can give in suddenly and without warning. Especially if you are thinking of travelling a long distance and haven’t changed the fuel pump recently, you might want a mechanic to look at the pump and filter and clean the latter if need be.
6. Avoid Petrol-water Filling Stations
During the rainy seasons and in areas prone to flood, a few filling stations with faulty storage systems will suffer an influx of water into their storage tanks. If these water-fuel mixtures find their way into the fuel tanks of cars, in a matter of meters, most cars will choke to a halt. Again, if this is the case, towing the vehicle to a mechanic’s shop is the best bet. It also goes without saying that when the rains come, double your caution level on where you fuel your tank.
The loyalty of cars will always be tested from time to time. While these are the major tests these cars will experience, this is by no means an exhaustive list. Do your regular checks on your vehicle’s health and stick as much as you can with manufacturer’s recommendations and hopefully, you will, have no cause to fret while in transit.
Has your car engine ever stopped abruptly in motion? Do share briefly in the comment section below.