3 things that my first ever break down taught me.
So a year ago I traded in a car that served me and my family for over 12 years. It was properly sad, but the days have come as the shock absorbers are weeping, the belts and pulley are squeaking and the paint work is properly bodged by me. It doesn't look good, nor does it drive good anymore.
However, and to be fair to the car itself, it served us well, and educated me well too. Since I had my first ever break down in that car. Follow me and I'll walk you through what happened, and what to do when your car breaks down like mine did.
Storytime!: How a leaky radiator screwed me over big time.
Funny how I actually foresaw that coming. When I looked down onto the parking space earlier in the day, it pooed itself quite a bit. There was water and coolant dripping out of the radiator and on to the floor. Typical me and I thought at the rate this was dripping, it's not going to matter. So I topped the radiator up and went for a drive. Plus, the mechanic isn't opened on a Saturday. So I had to wait anyways (you have no space to work yourself in Hong Kong, no chance sorry).
I was actually going to have sushi with my brother. And I was stuck in traffic on a narrow bridge. So the traffic lights in front changed green, and the traffic finally got unstuck. And as soon as I stepped on the throttle to get down the bridge, the engine just hissed and poured steam everywhere. The windscreen was full of cooked coolant and the car lost power. It was terrifying. I then looked down on the temperature gauge and it was right up there in the red, an area the needle never ever reached in the 12 years of it's life.
I was forced to completely shut it off to protect what was left of the engine. And thanks to the slope, I was able to roll down the bridge and stop the car. The traffic jam got even more jammed and the looks on everybody behind me weren't happy at all. I basically shut down half of a very busy intersection. It was horrifying and it feels terrible.
That was a horrifying experience, but it's excellent teaching material for you to learn from my mistakes. Here's 3.
1. Never take your car out if you've got a potentially big problem.
Even if you've thought that you've bodged the car up so that it'll hold up, never drive it. Just don't. It's potentially not fixed at all, and a small leak or something of that nature could result in many more expenses that you'd never expect. For example, my car could've completely seized up it's engine and melted itself if I hadn't shut it off. And rebuilding engines is certainly more expensive than replacing a radiator. So unless you've got it fixed, please just don't drive it anywhere.
2. Bring essentials in your car
You never know when your car is going to break down, it can be tomorrow, or it can be ten years later. You never know where your car will break down too, it can be a highway, or it can be a not-so-busy street. It can happen anywhere and everywhere. So just bring all the essentials just in case things happen.
Warning triangles for notifying fellow drivers to beware; a spanner set in case something has fallen off; a spare tyre or those new puncture sealants in case of a puncture. The list can go on, but adjust the list to fit your needs. It's going to come in handy one day.
3. Always bring your car to a trustworthy mechanic
I know a lot of mechanics who work for money. And I only know a handful who work on your cars because they love their job and they need money. That's how I think of mechanics. If they love cars, they will do whatever they do to bring them back into life for the bare minimal. There are mechanics who would tell you that you're car is good even though they know full well that the car is going to break down a lot and they can charge you more. Just build a relationship with the mechanic who works on your car, it can save you time, effort and money for sure.
I mean nobody would want their cars to break down halfway through their journey. But seriously, chances are you're going to encounter one or two in your life. So just bear these in mind. It can save you and your car.