A country-wide analysis of almost 130,000 AA rescue assignments, including many in Donegal, has revealed that motorists are continuing to wrangle with worn-out batteries and electrical faults, which combined caused almost one in four breakdowns reported to AA Rescue last year.
According to recent figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, new car sales in Ireland fell by 7% in the first 11 months of 2019. With more people opting to hold onto their current car for longer or buy through the second hand market, the AA continues to see a high number of callouts with battery faults and defective tyres among the leadings causes of breakdowns.
“Over the past three years, the story of declining new car registrations has been a consistent one as more people opt to go to the second-hand market in Ireland and the UK when searching for the best value when changing their car.
With so many people opting against a new car, we have seen a corresponding increase in the number of breakdowns reported to our AA Rescue team in recent years,” Conor Faughnan, AA director of consumer affairs stated.
In total, the AA attended to over 36,500 breakdowns caused by faulty batteries and electrics throughout the year, an increase of approximately 3,000 compared to 2018. While this year’s winter has been much more mild than conditions seen in 2018, the AA is warning motorists of the importance of car maintenance during winter, particularly for those gearing up to return to work after a lengthy break over the Christmas period.
“While conditions have been somewhat colder in recent weeks, we’ve largely avoided the stormy conditions and snowfall that we have seen in recent years. However, battery faults continue to be a major bug-bear for motorists, with this problem being magnified during the winter months when we see temperatures dip slightly,” Faughnan added.
“This is something that catches many people out on the first day back to work after the break over Christmas and New Year’s Day, meaning January 2 has always been a busy day for our AA Rescue patrols.
"If you’ve been using your car on-and-off over the Christmas period you won’t have much cause for concern, but if you finished work on Christmas Eve and the car has remained idle since then we would encourage you to start the engine for a few minutes before your first day back at work to make sure the battery is still in working order.
Where do we go from here ....car breakdowns your worst nightmare
The AA Rescue analysis also found that over 21,500 motorists contacted AA Rescue due to a puncture or otherwise defective tyre, an increase of approximately 1,000 motorists when compared to the last commissioned review. Ahead of the post-Christmas return to work for most commuters, the breakdown assistance provider is reminding motorists to take extra time to check the thread left on their tyres, as well as checking for cuts or damage as an unexpected tyre blowout while driving may increase the risk of being involved in a collision.
Among the less popular breakdown causes were suspension issues, worn timing belts, and lighting problems which, when combined, accounted for just over 1% of breakdowns.
The type of faults the AA were called out for in 2019 is broken down as follows:
Engine and Exhaust 15,832
Locks And Alarms 4,650
Other - Fault code unidentified 4,300
Ignition Coils 570
Grand Total 129,655
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