Examining the Data Can Show the True Source of Mechanical Problems

Data analytics is becoming vital to the field of automotive mechanics.

big data car mechanics
Shutterstock Photo License - By Andrey_Popov

Mechanical Breakdowns? 

As we have stated in the past, big data is transforming the automotive sector in strange ways. It has created a lot of new opportunities for experts in this sector to help solve the most pressing problems that their clients face. It can also help address other mechanical problems facing other devices.

Big Data is the Key to Solving Mechanical Issues

Deloitte addressed some of the biggest ways that big data is changing the automotive sector. We decided to cover the issue in more depth.

How many times have you heard your mechanic talking about the common causes of mechanical breakdowns in cars? He will probably tell you that it is because of the alternator or the battery. Warranties can include a major vehicle system, air conditioning, electrical components, steering, safety systems, and more. Even for him, the data speaks. But a recent analysis of big data around mechanical breakdowns shows more concrete examples than a single mechanic or shop could give.


You may have thought that big data was only useful for creating smart vehicles. However, it can also be very important for addressing mechanical issues in regular cars too.

So, what is really behind mechanical breakdowns? At the top, data show that the battery and alternator will be the common cause of mechanical breakdowns. The battery is the one that stores the energy produced by the engine for longer periods of time. And when this energy is suddenly used, it will produce heat and the battery will have to be cooled down, forcing a failure in the alternator.  This is the best example of data analytics can help with preventive maintenance.

But we cannot rely on data alone, and require a deeper look: The alternator is another part that produces power for your car. If the alternator malfunctions, the car will not work properly. The problem could lie in the starter, which is also one of the common causes of mechanical breakdowns. And since the starter is also the one responsible for starting the engine when it is not running, if it is faulty, then it can also be the culprit. When seeking a deeper look, this is where AI could come in – to examine and extrapolate the proportion of battery problems that might have actually been alternators leads to better data, and better decisions!

Similarly, a lot of engine failures can be traced to the starter. This is why most mechanics always check this component when they are repairing any part of the car. But sometimes, it can be hard to determine the exact cause of the problem. If you notice sudden engine shutdown or startups when you start your car, it is best to have it checked out. Aside from causing engine malfunction, a dead starter can also lead to a fire. Make sure to check for any crack or tear on the starter, so as to prevent any unfortunate occurrences. 


Is an oil leak and oil leak? Not when it’s a faulty filter! When you have an oil leak, there could be some causes. One of the common causes of mechanical breakdowns is faulty oil filters. It is imperative that you change your filter once a month to keep your engine running smoothly. If the filter has cracks or any kind of defect, it can actually break off and spill oil all over the place, thus causing catastrophic engine failure. This is yet another example where we cannot trust the data itself, but a deeper understanding in needed.

Some other common causes of mechanical breakdowns include worn out parts and worn-out lubricants. Some of these parts can be replaced, but there are times when you just have to resort to replacing the entire lubricant tank. It is important to check for any kind of cracks or discoloration on the tank, as it can actually lead to leaks. This is also one of the causes of mechanical breakdowns. 

And common sense is also important: When you think about what are the common causes of mechanical breakdowns? Most people can actually pinpoint the problem of why their car is breaking down. However, you need to pay attention to all kinds of warning signs that your car is experiencing trouble. Once you find out what exactly is wrong with your vehicle, you will be able to take the appropriate actions to solve it. 

Some of the more common signs of mechanical malfunction include overheating and engine problems. There are other causes, but these are some of the most common causes. The thing is, it doesn’t really matter how the breakdown happened. What matters is that you get it fixed as soon as possible. In this way, you will prevent further damage to your vehicle and save yourself from huge expenses that you might have gone through if you had ignored the problem.


Of course, one of the things that can cause mechanical breakdowns in cars is poor maintenance. Looking at data alone, the numbers that could be attributed to poor maintenance are not clear. The main reason why there is a mechanical breakdown is because of your car’s engine not working properly. You need to take care of the various parts of your car so that they will last for a long time and will not break down. An auto extended warranty usually will cover many of these mechanical issues if you buy a service contract for them. A Subaru extended warranty is different from a Honda extended warranty and different from a Toyota warranty so look into the right one for your car. There are things not covered in a car warranty so be sure to check your contract and purchase one from a reputable company. 

Aside from poor maintenance and breakdowns, the data analysis also shows another one of the common causes of mechanical breakdowns is low oil level. Sometimes, when you change your oil, it takes some time before it starts working properly again. It is advisable then to regularly check your oil and make sure that it is at the proper levels. This is important so that you do not have to deal with a broken-down car anytime soon. 

Apart from these reasons, the remaining causes of mechanical breakdown include parts that have been overworked, dirty tires or bad quality engines. Another common cause of mechanical breakdown is the alternator or fan belt. Knowing these things will help you know what are the common causes of mechanical breakdowns in cars.


So, while the analysis of big data around mechanical breakdowns is important, having a human or artificial intelligence also interpret the data is important. In the future, certain AI instances that are trained to understand specific data will be as important as the AI systems that are being trained to understand languages.


Sean is a freelance writer and big data expert. He loves to write on big data, analytics and predictive analytics.