The number of Irish motorists experiencing a breakdown has increased by over four per cent year on year according to AA Ireland’s Annual Breakdown Review. This follows an increase of approximately five per cent in the number of breakdowns attended by the organisation in 2017.
According to recent figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, new car sales in Ireland fell by 4.4 per cent in the first 10 months of 2017. With more people opting to hold onto their current car for longer or buy through the second hand market, the AA has recorded a corresponding increase in the number of breakdowns.
“In the past two years the number of new car registrations in Ireland has dropped off quite significantly as consumers favour purchasing second-hand through the UK market or retain their current car for longer. The upside of doing so is that you can save a substantial amount, but with traffic volumes rising and more people opting against a brand new car each year an increase in breakdowns is to be expected,” Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs stated. “On top of that we also had freak weather events, such as Storm Emma, which brought with it a spike in breakdowns and the number of cars struggling to start during the cold spell.”
The country-wide analysis of almost 142,000 AA Rescue assignments also reveals how motorists are continuing to wrangle with worn-out batteries, which have caused almost one in four breakdowns this year.
In total, the AA attended to over 33,000 breakdowns caused by faulty batteries throughout the year, an increase of approximately 3,000 compared to 2017. While this year’s winter has been much more mild that conditions seen in late 2017 and early 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.
“Ultimately, as the nation saw during Storm Emma in early 2018, any time you combine cold conditions with idle vehicles it’s almost guaranteed that cars failing to start when it’s time to get them back on the road will be a major issue for motorists,” Faughnan added. “If you are someone who finished up at work on Christmas Eve and left the car in the driveway untouched since, it can be a good idea to start it for a few minutes ahead of your first day back at work. Our AA Rescue team are anticipating a busy day on January 2 as people realise their car won’t start, so getting ahead of the game now may ensure you’re able to make it to work on time on your first working day of the new year.”
The AA Rescue analysis also found that over 20,000 motorists contacted AA Rescue due to a puncture or otherwise defective tyre, an increase of approximately 1,100 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 one per cent of breakdowns.