Summer vs winter: the top five causes of breakdowns

Tips and guides

17 April 2018

A breakdown is the bane of any driver’s life no matter what time of the year it is. So we’ve got the lowdown on the most common causes of breakdowns1. And some tips to help your journey run as smoothly as possible.


Going nowhere fast

Cars can lose power while driving and this is 11% more likely in the summer.

Top tip: Check your fuel filter for clogs and use an additive for a good clean.

Wear and tear on your clutch

In the summer your 13% more likely to experience clutch problems.

Top tip: If you notice a change in the way your clutch performs, it may be time for a service.

A spare in the boot

You’re 20% more likely to get a puncture in the summer with no spare.

Top tip: Not all cars have a spare, so be sure to keep one in the boot.

Keep the fluids up!

In the summer your car is 31% more likely to have gearbox problems.

Top tip: Cars need a bit of energy too, so top up on transmission oil.

Too hot to handle!

In the summer cars are 50% more likely to overheat.

Top tip: Check your coolant/antifreeze levels to keep your engine cool in the summer.


Engine warning light

4% of breakdowns in the winter are due to the engine management light.

Top tip: Slow down to see if the light stops flashing if it won’t, stop in a safe place, turn off the engine and call for help.


In the winter your car is 18% more likely not to start.

Top tip: Use your heaters and gadgets sparingly in the car, and remember to switch off your lights (we've all done it). And, as you’ll be using these more in the colder, darker months – check out our tips on how to get your car winter ready.

Start and then stop

You're 27% more likely to have a cut out in the winter.

Top tip: Make sure you always have enough fuel and let the air filter breathe by cleaning it regularly.

Avoid extra pressure

There are 36% more flat tyre changes in the winter.

Top tip: Be more mindful of kerbs, pot holes and bumps in the road to avoid extra pressure on your tyres.

Dead battery

Your car is 51% more likely to have battery problems in the winter.

Top tip: Think ahead and get your battery checked out for a clean bill of health.

1 Statistics from Direct AXA Insurance and Swiftcover breakdown claims made between January 2015 and December 2016.