Flat batteries No.1 problem

Worn out or faulty batteries are still the number one cause of breakdowns in Ireland, according to the AA’s Annual Breakdown Review.

Worn out or faulty batteries are still the number one cause of breakdowns in Ireland, according to the AA’s Annual Breakdown Review.

A review of their extensive data highlights how flat batteries accounted for nearly one quarter of all the AA’s call outs in the last 12 months.

The countrywide analysis of over 100,000 AA rescue assignments also revealed that tyre failures top the agenda for distressed Irish drivers.

Over 15,000 road users experienced defected tyres, up one percent from the last commissioned review, which according to the AA is often avoidable.

“Tyre failures can arise for any number of reasons such as poor road surfaces but quite often they’re self-inflicted. The legal minimum tread depth for tyres is 1.6mm which in the AA’s view is not enough; we recommend at least 3mm. If your tyres are worn it is potentially very dangerous and puts lives at risk,” says Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs, AA Ireland.

Miss-fuelling your car by picking up the wrong nozzle at the garage is still a common mistake.

That is not quite as drastic as in years gone by when it meant a very expensive repair; the AA can now resolve miss-fuels on the spot using specialist equipment.

Men fare worse than women for making this error - roughly three men per day made the slip up during 2014 tracking at about twice the rate of females.

However, blunders were not confined to men with the AA study highlighting how women routinely misplaced their keys.

“While we might be analysing cars, our annual breakdown review can be a bit like a sociology exercise,” quips Faughnan.

“We find that women, for example, won’t think twice about calling us out to sort a puncture whereas men will definitely hesitate even when the wheel nuts are machine tightened.

“Every year when we conduct this exercise there’s always a stark difference between men and women, particularly when it comes to call outs relating to human error.”

Malfunctioning clutches and worn-out engines also prompted drivers to call for AA assistance, with the figure for each remaining the same since 2012.

Issues normally associated with ageing vehicles, such as steering, suspension and braking systems have risen with nearly one third reporting these to AA Patrols.

“Although more people are buying cars, particularly in the latter half of 2014 when there was a 50% increase in new purchases, it will be some time before this is felt in the landscape of breakdowns. For older cars as well as newer ones it’s vital that you have it serviced regularly, checking everything from the oil filter to the efficacy of seat belts,” says Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs, AA Ireland.