May 12, 2022
It’s a horrible feeling when your car won't start, especially if you know nothing about engines. You keep on turning the ignition key and nothing happens. What makes it worse is if you are in a hurry to get to the dentist. Find out more about what South African motorists could do if your car fails to start.1
The answer is not straightforward, and problems could range from a lack of fuel to some electronic issues. But let’s discuss this in more detail. It is best to read your vehicle’s manual and contact the closest dealership for advice before you do anything to your car so you don’t accidentally damage anything and make matters worse.
This tends to happen the most with motorists. Perhaps you left on the car’s lights, or an alternator may not be charging the battery sufficiently. It could also be something in the electronics that is draining the battery. Finally, the battery itself could have died. Remember, the average age of a battery’s life span is about four years.
Jump-start your car by connecting the leads from your battery to another car’s fully charged battery, with the latter car's engine running. Make sure it is safe to do so concerning the car’s electronics. Roadside assistance teams usually use a battery pack to jump-start cars.
You’ll need 30 minutes of driving to give the alternator sufficient time to recharge the battery. But before you do that, it will be best to visit a battery centre immediately where they can test your battery and alternator if need be. If the battery is dead, your only choice is to buy a new battery.
Perhaps the battery is fine and just needs to be recharged. But it’s still vital to establish why it went flat in the first place. The battery professional can test the alternator to see if it’s delivering sufficient current to the battery. The battery centre can also charge the battery overnight if you don’t have a dedicated charger at home. Use trickle chargers for batteries of those cars not driven often.
You could have just run out of fuel. So, fetch some fuel from the nearest garage, and use a special funnel to pour it into your tank. Hopefully the fuel gauge is not playing up.
Sometimes you can't turn the ignition key because of a jammed steering lock. It could be due to a front wheel touching the kerb, preventing you from moving the steering wheel.
If the battery is fully charged, and yet you hear a clicking sound when turning the ignition key, it means the starter motor is malfunctioning.
Car insurance is complicated and that’s why this article can only provide information. In the same way, first contact a certified financial advisor for professional advice before contemplating buying car insurance.
Breaking down somewhere can be most unpleasant, but you’ll have peace of mind if you have access to 24/7 roadside assistance and towing services. Does your current car insurance company provide such a service? Why not find out more from PMD who has on offer affordable, comprehensive car insurance with 24/7 towing service, fixed premiums* and reduce to zero excess*? T’s and C’s apply.
November 7, 2023
November 7, 2023