AUTO TECH AND ROAD SAFETY

Roadside Repairs

Roadside Repairs image

Text: Clyde Arcaina / Photos: | posted July 05, 2003 09:30

Deal with common roadside emergencies and breakdowns

Oh no!, not again. A flat tire, the car won't start, I'm stuck! Not anymore. This article is intended to help deal with common roadside emergencies and breakdowns.

After we have covered several safety precautions in dealing with vehicle repairs, now we are ready for the actual sweat.

Scenario 1:

If your car won't start and the starter motor does not turn:

- If it's a model with automatic transmission, make sure the selector is in "P" or "N".
- Open the bonnet and make sure that the battery terminals are clean and tight.
- Switch on the headlights and try to start the engine. If the headlights go very dim when you're trying to start, the battery is probably flat. Get out of trouble, call a friend and try to jump-start the car using your friends car battery. Here?s how...

When jump-starting a car using a booster battery, observe the following precautions:

* Before connecting the booster battery, make sure that the ignition is switched off.
* Ensure that all electrical equipment (lights, a/c, wipers, audio system, etc.) is switched off.
* Take note of any special precautions printed on the battery case.
* Make sure that the booster battery is the same voltage rating as the discharged one in the vehicle.
* If the battery is being jump-started from the battery in another vehicle, the two vehicles MUST NOT TOUCH each other.
* Make sure that the transmission is in neutral or PARK if its automatic transmission.
* Set the hand brake or parking brake ON.

Step 1: Using two battery jumper wires of course, connect one end of the red jump lead to the positive(+) terminal of the FLAT battery.

Step 2: Connect the other end of the red lead to the positive(+) terminal of the BOOSTER battery.

Step 3: Connect one end of the black jump lead to the negative (-) terminal of the BOOSTER battery.

Step 4: Connect to the other end of the black jump lead to a BOLT OR BRACKET ON THE ENGINE BLOCK, WELL AWAY FROM THE BATTERY, on the vehicle to be started.

NOTE: Make sure that the jump leads will not come into contact with the fan, drive belts or other moving parts of the engine.

Step 5: Start the engine using the booster battery, then with the engine running at idle speed, disconnect the jump leads IN THE REVERSE ORDER OF THE CONNECTION. [ from flat battery/chassis/engine block(-), booster battery(-), booster (+), flat (+) ].

HINT: Jump-starting will get you out of trouble, but you must correct whatever made the battery go flat in the first place. There are three possibilities.

1) The battery has been drained by repeated attempts to start, or by leaving the lights on.
2) The charging system is not working properly (alternator drivebelt slack or broken, alternator wiring fault or alternator itself is faulty).
3) The battery itself is at fault (electrolyte low, or battery worn out).

Scenario 2:

If your car won?t start even though the starter motor turns as normal:

- Is there fuel in the tank?
- Is there moisture on electrical components under the bonnet? Switch off the ignition, and then wipe off any obvious dampness with a dry cloth. Spray a water-repellent aerosol product (WD-40 or equivalent) on ignition and fuel system electrical connectors. Pay special attention to the ignition coil wiring connector and high-tension (HT) leads.
- Check the spark plug wires are securely connected at the spark plugs. Unplug and re-plug them if necessary.
- Check the connections on the distributor. Unplug and re-plug them if necessary.
- Check that all ignition wiring connectors are connected to their proper points. Points A, B, C, and D