Most common winter breakdown problems


OK, we’re going to paraphrase a certain TV blockbuster of recent years when we say that ‘winter is coming’. But it’s true. Winter actually IS coming. Which will undoubtedly usher in a whole host of vehicle breakdown and recovery issues for our team to deal with out on the road.

The thing is, most vehicles – while designed for many circumstances – need a little TLC as winter approaches. Nothing too extreme, yet very important tweaks nevertheless. To ensure that vehicles are effectively winter-proofed as the days shorten, the temperatures plummet, and with it comes rain, snow and ice.

From tyre pressure, freezing fluid and windscreen wiper issues, through to frozen doors, windows and locks, and the dreaded battery draining problems, winter isn’t a driver’s best friend. And we should know, as we have over 50 years’ experience of rescuing drivers and vehicles when they experience difficulties out on the roads of the UK.

5 of the Most Recurrent Vehicle Winter Breakdown Issues

Based on roadside call-outs over winters gone by, we would say that the following 5 are repeated examples of why commercial fleet vehicles experience breakdowns. For commercial fleet vehicles, also read LGVs and cars more generally, as reasons can often be very similar. Of course, this isn’t taking into account road traffic accidents, which – like the great British weather over winter – in pretty much impossible to forecast.


In order to power a vehicle’s battery – otherwise considered the heartbeat of any vehicle – then your alternator has to be working properly while the vehicle is running. Basically, an alternator converts an engine’s rotational energy into electricity, ensuring that the battery is subsequently topped up with optimum charge.

During the winter, alternators are put under a lot of duress, and in demand more than at other times. So, stay vigilant for battery warning lights appearing on a vehicle’s dashboard. Along with suspiciously dimming headlights and windscreen wipers working slower than normal. The early warning signs that an alternator might be on the way out.


As soon as the thermometer dips, then vehicle batteries can become more vulnerable to wear and tear. So again, be wary of warning lights. However, drivers don’t always get a timely heads up in advance. And the only indication they get is a grinding starter motor followed by a deafening silence. Followed by a call out to Egerton’s.

Starter Motor

It’s not unheard of for many types of vehicles to refuse to start on cold days. So don’t be shocked when trying to turn the engine over and nothing happens. Starter motors are prone to become temperamental and stop working completely over time. And un-functioning starter motors are often found to be the root cause of commercial fleet vehicle breakdowns.


A vehicles’ tyres have a lot of responsibility thrust upon all four of them when they’re in contact with the road surface at the best of times. More than four, depending on the proportions of your commercial vehicle too. Icy conditions mean you’ll be using brakes more, resulting in tyre tread depth being depleted quicker.

Debris accumulated on roads during winter will play a further part in the degradation of tyre rubber. Blow-outs are commonplace on UK roads, especially in terms of HGV’s. How many times have you seen the after-effect on motorway hard shoulders.

Electrical Problems

They typically oversee the functionality of many aspects of our vehicles, fleet, commercial or otherwise. If batteries are the heartbeat of vehicles, then electrical systems are the lifeblood. A range of circuitry which controls everything from headlights to heating. Burned out bulbs, faulty wiring, blown fuses or general wear and tear can all take their toll.

Running diagnostic tests and checks roadside will quickly establish just where the problem is in the system, enabling Egerton’s roadside breakdown crews to resolve the issues and get you back out on the road.

Egerton’s Recover Commercial Fleet Vehicles 24/7, Throughout the Seasons

At Egerton’s we are well versed in recovering all types of vehicles 365 days – and nights – a year. Our team works tirelessly around the clock to ensure that vehicles of all descriptions either remain on the road or are returned to it ASAP. But we are the first to acknowledge that the winter increases workloads, as both vehicles and drivers aren’t always prepared for what’s coming.

Whenever – and wherever – possible, our roadside assistance crews will strive to repair a range of commercial fleet vehicles. Answering your distress calls and arriving on the scene complete with the right recovery vehicle for the job. The result of a tried and tested triage process which quickly identifies individual needs as and when required. So that the correct Egerton’s recovery vehicle can be deployed to the scene to streamline response times.  

Commercial fleet management companies tend to have robust and rigorous duty of care protocols in place to ensure that fleet vehicles of all types remain fit for purpose and roadworthy throughout the winter months that stretch ahead. Including maintaining tyre tread depths, fluid levels, condition of lights and more general wear and tear provisions. However not all eventualities are predictable or foreseeable.

Which is why Egerton’s are here to help.

We Aim to Keep Commercial Vehicle Fleets on the Road Throughout Winter

Egerton’s appreciates that driving commercial fleet vehicles during winter isn’t without its challenges. High winds, fog, snow, black ice and slush can all quickly transform road surfaces making them instantly treacherous to drive on. Adverse weather conditions can bring with it reduced visibility, compromise tyre traction, increase braking times and distances, reduce stability and manoeuvrability and generally make driving commercial fleet vehicles unpredictable.

Of course, some breakdowns or accidents might potentially be avoided by driving at lower speeds, drivers of commercial fleet vehicles familiarising themselves with traffic flow once conditions change for the worse, and prepping vehicles in advance. Yet despite the best laid plans, winter breakdowns will happen.

Egerton’s Take the Worry Out of Winter Driving

Cars, large bikes, mobile cranes, HGV’s and everything you can think of in between, Egertons can repair or recover roadside. Come rain, snow or shine. It’s just what we do.

Whether they’re located halfway up a mountain or languishing in a ditch. Our on-board equipment is state-of-the-art, while our technicians have undergone highly specialised training before going out on the road.

All in all, we can make your commercial fleet’s life on the road a whole lot easier, and afford you the confidence to go about your business like usual. Regardless of how bad winter gets. Get in touch with us today for more information.