Summer vs Winter: The top five causes of breakdowns

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 breakdowns*. 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).

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.

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