Have you ever had your car just "die" on you, you try to start it and it just will not start. You end up calling a tow truck and paying those big tow bills, then to make matters worse the technician at the shop tells you that it will cost hundreds of dollars to make it run again, is that true? Maybe maybe not.
I own and work as a diagnostics Tech here at Ace Automotive in Lakewood Wa and I can tell you from experience if some people knew just a little more about their cars workings they could save a whole lotta money. Say for instance you are driving at night wipers and heater, lights and radio on you notice that the headlights keep getting dimmer and dimmer soon the vehicle "dies" and now will not start the most likely cause is the alternator has failed, not the battery because if the battery failed the alternator would still keep power to the vehicle until you turned it off then it would not restart.
You are driving for a while and the car just "shuts off" all the instrument lights come on but when you try to start it it just turns over but will not start. First it depends what kind of car this happened to if it was an import like say Honda, acura, toyota, subaru, nissan, mitubishi, the engine timing belt may have broken (if it's been more that 60,000 miles since you changed it last time ) you should be able to tell if when you try to start the engine it sounds different like its just "freewheeling" faster than normal, this is bad cause most of the import cars mentioned will do expensive damage to the engine when the timing belt breaks .
If your vehicle is a domestic one chevy ford etc, be patient wait a little bit maybe 30-45 min and try to start it if it starts hurray! But it will "die" again once it's hot enough again, be sure to tell your local tech this valuable information and ask for all parts that they replace to repair your vehicle to let them know you know something about the car too.