News Driving Tips Car Care

Add Article to My Briefcase Print Friendly Version

April 18, 2018
Double Digits Means Double Trouble for Vehicle Breakdowns

AAA expects to rescue 7.7 million stranded drivers this summer
 

The average age of vehicles on the road in the United States is leaving a majority of drivers at a higher-than-average risk for a breakdown.

A new analysis of AAA roadside data shows that vehicles that have reached double-digits in age (10 years and older) are twice as likely to end up stranded on the side of the road compared to newer vehicles. The odds of needing a tow quadruples.

With more than half of cars on the road aged 10 years or older, AAA urges drivers to minimize the chance of a breakdown by getting their vehicle road-trip ready to keep their summer travel on track.

“It’s no surprise that older vehicles are more likely to encounter a serious breakdown, but it is surprising just how many people are at risk,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “All vehicles – even the newest ones – are prone to typical roadside headaches like dead batteries, flat tires and misplaced keys, but vehicles 10 years and older are four times more likely to encounter a problem serious enough to require a tow to a repair facility.”

Fortunately, most roadside trouble is avoidable. For vehicles of any age -- old and new -- AAA advises drivers make a good B-E-T to stay on the road by having the vehicle’s Battery, Engine and Tires checked before embarking on a summer excursion. Long trips coupled with hot weather place additional strain on vehicles and, in some cases, may accelerate a dormant issue. When these key systems are in good working order, AAA data shows the odds of encountering a serious breakdown are greatly reduced.

The top three types of vehicle issues most likely to derail a road trip are:

  • Battery-related issues, including faulty starters or alternators. A battery on the brink of dying rarely warns a driver before it fails, but having a simple battery test will.
  • Engine cooling system failures, such as the radiator, thermostat or water pump or engine parts such as the timing belt, most prominently in vehicles age 10 years and older. Much like a battery, the components of the engine cooling system may fail without warning. Drivers should look for fluids such as coolant pooling underneath the vehicle when it’s parked as an indication of an impending problem.
  • Tire damage severe enough to require repair or replacement. Drivers can minimize this risk by checking tread depth, tire pressure and whether their vehicle is equipped with a spare tire.

“Motorist should ensure all scheduled maintenance is completed as suggested by the vehicle’s manufacturer,” said Gene LaDoucer, North Dakota spokesman for AAA-The Auto Club Group. “Having your vehicle checked by a skilled auto technician can save you from expensive vehicle repairs or a disruption in travel plans.”

Additionally, AAA reminds drivers to take the following safety precautions on the road:

  • Drive distraction-free. Do not text or engage in distracting activities while driving, including interacting with a cell phone, talking with passengers or looking at other objects in the vehicle.
  • Comply with the Move Over Law. When law enforcement, tow providers or emergency vehicles are on the side of the road, change lanes or slow down to give sufficient clearance. This is the law in all 50 states.
  • Pull out of the traffic lanes if your car breaks down. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic, if possible. Once everyone in the vehicle is at a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.

AAA helps take the guesswork out of finding a trusted repair shop with its Approved Auto Repair (AAR) facilities.  Each AAR facility must adhere to a stringent set of standards for certifications, technical training, cleanliness, insurance requirements, and customer service set forth by AAA. To locate an AAR facility, drivers can visit AAA.com/AutoRepair. Additionally, AAA offers a free repair cost calculator, also found at AAA.com/AutoRepair, that provides drivers the ability to estimate the cost of a repair or to verify a quote received for their vehicle.

Contact(s):

Gene LaDoucer
phone: 701.893.3759

About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.5 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.  ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 58 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.



< back

Related Assets 
Other articles in Car Care: