Toledo, OH - (April 18, 2018) – With millions of drivers gearing up for a summer road trip this year, AAA conducted an analysis of roadside data to understand if age impacts a vehicle’s reliability and identify the top reasons for breakdowns for all vehicles.
The findings are not surprising.
- AAA found that vehicles 10 years and older are twice as likely to breakdown compared to newer vehicles and four times more likely to have an issue serious enough to require a tow.
- In 2017, 67 percent of calls AAA received for roadside assistance were for vehicles 10 years and older, while 33 percent of calls received were for newer vehicles (age 9 years and newer).
- In addition, approximately 35 percent of the vehicles AAA responded to at the roadside required a tow to a repair facility. Of those vehicles, 81 percent were 10 years and older.
“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 AAA Public Affairs Manager, Cindy Antrican. “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.”
During the summer travel period last year (June 21 – September 23) more than 275,000 Ohio drivers called AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team for assistance. Although batteries and tires created headaches for drivers, more than half of all calls resulted in the vehicle being towed. AAA projects the number of stranded Ohio drivers could reach 280,000 in 2018. AAA urges motorists to get their vehicle road-trip ready to keep summer travel cool.
Drivers are encouraged to check the status of their AAA memberships. Make sure the membership is up to date and review coverage level options to ensure lifestyle needs are met in case of a roadside emergency. Drivers should also program 1-800-AAA-HELP in their phones.
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 a vehicle’s Battery, Engine and Tires checked before embarking on a summer excursion. Long trips coupled with hot weather places 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 that could 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. Through its mobile battery program, AAA offers its members free testing of a vehicle’s battery and electrical system.
- 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 is 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.
A professional and thorough vehicle inspection can help reduce the chance of a serious breakdown. If a car does end up at a repair shop, not only will a road trip be interrupted, drivers can expect to spend anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars to get back on the road. Unfortunately, many drivers may hesitate to schedule an inspection. Not only are the majority of U.S. drivers leery of repair shops, one-in-three cannot afford an unexpected vehicle repair.
“Drivers may skip taking their car in for an inspection, hoping to avoid an expensive repair bill,” Antrican said. “But, when you factor in the cost of an interrupted trip, having a vehicle inspected and proactively repaired will cost much less in the long run.”
AAA helps take the guesswork out of finding a trusted repair facility with its Approved Auto Repair (AAR) facilities. These shops must adhere to a stringent set of standards for certifications, technical training, cleanliness, insurance requirements, and customer service set forth by AAA. Shops with the AAR designation signal to drivers a vetted facility, inspected annually, that will offer fair pricing and quality service. To locate one, drivers can visit AAA.com/AutoRepair. Additionally, AAA also 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.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.