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When your car breaks down and you don't have the necessary spare parts, and how many of us ever do, it is handy to know some alternatives that may get you out of trouble, such as -
If the ignition light comes on while you are driving this indicates the generator is not charging the battery, the reason may be a broken drive or fan belt.
Do not be tempted to use string, nylon tights or cord, although they are often recommended they do not work. Modern fan belts work under greater pressure than older models which means these substitutes break after a few minutes resulting in debris which can cause greater damage.
Drive on, keeping the engine speed as low as possible by getting into a high gear quickly. ONLY DRIVE FOR 3 MILES (5 KMS) MORE THAN THIS WILL CAUSE OVERHEATING AND EXPENSIVE DAMAGE.
If you need to continue wait a further thirty minutes before repeating the above.
If you turn the heater on full whilst driving this will draw the heat from the engine preventing it from overheating so quickly. This journey will be draining the battery so turn off as many of the car's electrical systems as possible.
In many modern cars the fan that cools the engine is driven by an electric motor not a fan belt and therefore a red light in this instance would probably mean that the belt which drives the alternator is broken. If this is the case the engine will not overheat if you drive without the belt, but it will drain the battery.
Remove belt debris, turn off unnecessary electrical systems such as heater fan, radio etc. to conserve the battery as much as possible.
Drive carefully to the nearest garage for help.
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