It is safe to say that it is a good idea to take out breakdown cover before your vehicle gives up on you, but what can you do if you get stuck roadside without cover?
Before you begin to worry about getting your vehicle back on the road you need to make sure you and your passengers are safe.
This could simply involve putting your hazard warning lights on and moving the car to the side of the road, but if you have lost power on a duel carriageway or motorway you need to take extra care with your actions.
Read What to do if your vehicle breaks down for a run through of what you need to do to stay safe at the roadside.
Can you fix the problem yourself?
Some problems can be fixed at the roadside without the need for further help or a history in car mechanics.
However, before you get to work you need to make sure it is safe to do so; changing a tyre on the hard shoulder of the motorway for example simply is not worth risk.
Here are some of the most common quick fixes you can apply
Changing a tyre is a real hassle but something once you have got to grips with can usually be done without calling for help. You will need a car jack and most cars have these in the boot, watch this video for more help.
If your exhaust has dropped from its holding and is dragging on the road you will need to re-fasten it before you continue.
Using rigid metal like a coat hanger or similar you may be able to re-attach the exhaust to the main shaft and get your car to a nearby garage.
Blown radiator hose
If your radiator hose blows you may be able to temporarily patch it up using strong self-sealing tape.
You will need to switch your engine off, wait for it too cool down and then wipe the hose to ensure the tape gets the best level of adhesion possible, watch this video for more help.
You are then ready to continue your journey, although you should stop at your nearest garage as soon as you can.
You will need a hand for this one, but if your car will not start because you have a flat battery you should be able to get the engine going with a pair of jump leads or a portable car jump starter to give the battery plugs a jolt.
For a step by step guide, watch this video.
Call for help
Thankfully, most of us now carry a mobile phone with us when we are out and about driving; so if you are stuck, broken down without cover, you can call for help.
Family and friends are a good place to start and may be able to tow you to a local garage to get your car looked at by a mechanic.
If you have run out of fuel or need a jump start a quick ring to a friend could solve your problems and have you back on the road quicker and cheaper than the alternatives - although you might need to buy them a drink for their trouble.
Can you safely leave the car?
Depending on where you are and whether it is safe you might want to consider leaving your car until you can arrange for it to be towed or repaired.
Remember, you should only leave your vehicle if it is safe to do so, is not causing any obstruction to traffic or breaking any road regulations.
It also makes sense to add a note to the windscreen stating the vehicle has broken down with a contact telephone number in case the authorities want to get in touch with you.
Take out breakdown cover
Even if you are not an existing customer you can still call still call for help from a breakdown service it will just cost you much more than usual.
Broken down at home?
If you have broken down at home and have other means of getting where you need to go signing up for breakdown cover online could be a cheaper option.
Most breakdown cover policies will not cover call outs within the first 24 hours, so if you can hold out for that long you can compare breakdown cover options and pay a much cheaper price for your cover and avoid hefty new member call out charges.
In fact, paying for a taxi to your destination and leaving your vehicle at home could be cheaper than calling and registering as a new member with instant cover.
By the roadside?
If you are stuck by the side of the road with no way home then unfortunately your options are much more limited.
If you have broken down without cover you can compare providers offering instant cover or call the numbers below to pay for a breakdown service to come out to your vehicle.
AA: 0800 88 77 66
RAC: 0800 197 7815
Green Flag: 0845 246 1557
You will usually have to pay a call out charge and the full price of 12 months cover but this is still likely to be cheaper than paying a garage to collect your car.