Six Car Problems That Strand Drivers on Holiday Roads


Halloween is a thing of the past, and we’re on our way to celebrating Thanksgiving next. Most people drive a lot over this long weekend, not only to family and friends’ houses but also to the stores on Black Friday. You don’t want to get stranded roadside over this long weekend. Clark’s Car Care lists six common problems that often strand holiday drivers on the busy roads so you can avoid them.

1. Battery

Whether you end up with a dead battery or your alternator or starter gives out, you might find yourself in a lurch over Thanksgiving, especially if the mercury drops below freezing. Have your battery tested now if it’s three years old to avoid getting stranded at a rest stop unable to start your vehicle.

2. Brakes

If you get stuck in crazy holiday traffic, you’ll need your brakes to work as best they can. If you smell hot chemicals and your brakes start squeaking in the stop-and-go traffic jam, your brakes are overheating. They will fail once they get too hot, so it’s best to pull to the side of the road and call for a tow.

3. Engine

Engine trouble can range from performance issues to complete stalls. Many drivers end up stranded roadside on Thanksgiving because their engine quits and won’t start again. This could be caused by a broken belt, an exhaust or fuel problem, worn spark plugs, or misfiring plugs.

4. Radiator

One of the most common reasons you see drivers on the holiday roads’ sides is overheating. Check your engine coolant before your leave on your Thanksgiving trip to make sure it isn’t low. If it’s been years since you had the radiator serviced, schedule an appointment for a flush and refill.

5. Tires

Check your tires in good lighting to make sure you have plenty of tread left on them. Nothing is worse than getting a flat tire on your way to Thanksgiving dinner and trying to change it in the cold. Many drivers end up stranded because of flats or because their tires are skidding on icy roads.

6. Transmission

Finally, if you’ve noticed your clutch feels weird in your manual transmission, or you’ve had some transmission problems with your automatic transmission, don’t take chances and ignore the problem until after the holiday. Slipping or grinding gears is not normal and can strand you.

Clark’s Car Care in Naperville, IL, would be happy to give your vehicle an inspection so you can rest assured it’ll be safe and reliable this Thanksgiving.

Photo by Ivanko_Brnjakovic from Getty Images via Canva Pro