AAA reports record number of roadside breakdowns

Last summer nearly 25,000 Miami Valley area drivers called AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team for assistance. While battery and tires played a primary role in breakdowns, more than half of the calls required a tow.

“Service requests that result in a tow are often times indicators of more serious mechanical problems” said AAA Tire & Auto Manager Jason Brown. “In addition to the routine things like checking tire pressure and having your oil changed, staying on top of routine maintenance is the key to avoiding breakdowns.”

Roadside assistance calls peak in the summer (8.3 million) followed by winter (8.1 million), fall (7.8 million) and spring (7.7 million). As temperatures climb into the mid-90’s later this week, so will the calls from stranded drivers.

Cliff Ruud, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Solutions says sleek, low profile tires are highly susceptible to damage, while electronic key-less ignitions drain battery life. He says despite new warning systems, more than half a million drivers ran out of gas last year.

Owners of new vehicles may be unaware that some new vehicle designs and features may leave them vulnerable at the roadside.

To reduce vehicle weight and boost fuel economy, spare tires are being eliminated from new vehicles at alarming rates, and are being replaced with tire inflator kits that can only remedy some flat tire situations. Additionally, new key-less ignition systems can drain the battery life when keys are stored too close to the vehicle and can lock a driver out of the vehicle while the engine is still running.

In order to avoid roadside breakdowns, AAA advises new car owners to check tire pressure at least once a month, avoid leaving key-less entry remotes in vehicles, test batteries when a car reaches the three-year mark and pack an emergency kit for emergencies.

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