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Bad Batteries Mostly To Blame For Around 54,000 Roadside Rescues, According To AMI

As we careen around the corner into Christmas and the summer road trip season, AMI has looked at the most common reasons drivers have called for a roadside rescue, with batteries clearly the top cause of callouts.

“Between January and September this year, AMI Roadside Rescue has received over 36,000 callouts from customers caught on the side of the road, or simply stuck at home, with battery issues being to blame for nearly half of all of breakdowns,” says Dean MacGregor, Executive General Manager, AMI Roadside Rescue.

“In 2022 we responded to nearly 54,000 callouts in total.

“Other common callout reasons included, needing a tow, damage to tyres, mechanical concerns, keys locked in the car or keys not working, and electrical systems on the blink.

“But we’ve also had customers getting stuck in mud or grass, using the wrong fuel, and having the misfortune of two flat tyres at the same time or not having a spare at all.”

With summer on its way, many New Zealanders will be taking the opportunity for a well-earned break and planning a road trip somewhere in the country - and nothing stops a road trip faster than a car breakdown and not being able to get out on the road.

“As your battery ages, the chance of failure increases with every passing year, so as part of your road trip planning, make sure your car is also up to the challenge. Consider getting your car battery checked, ensure you have a spare tyre, and if the car has been playing up in any way, now’s a good time to get a professional to take a look”, says Dean.

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“It’s no surprise there are more callouts in regions where there are more cars on the road, so Auckland takes the top spot for the numbers of callouts by a country mile, followed by Christchurch, Wellington, and Hamilton.

“With around 2,000 roadside rescues on average each month, it pays to plan for the unexpected, because even though we’ll be there when you need us, there’s never a great time to have a flat battery, damaged tyre, or mechanical breakdown.

“And if the middle of a road trip, or the middle of the school pick-up, aren’t frustrating enough times to need a roadside rescue, 20% of callouts were made afterhours, either between 6.30pm and 8am, or during the weekend,” adds Dean.

So here are AMI’s tips for avoiding any unplanned breaks this summer:

• Make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape:

Check your battery is clean, there are no loose terminals or signs of corrosion, and if it’s a lead-acid battery, that the water levels are okay

Top-up your engine oil and coolant, and don’t forget your windscreen fluid too

Check your brakes and lights are working

Check your tyres are pumped with the correct air pressure and that you have a spare if you need it

Refuel or charge your car before you set off and plan your refuel/charging stops for the car - and for the passengers

• Travel early or late in the day if you can, check Waka Kotahi’s real-time Journey Planner for traffic updates before you leave, and be prepared for delays

• Stay fresh and alert - plan and take regular breaks, especially if you’re travelling for more than two hours, and don’t drive tired

• Ensure your passengers, including the furry ones, are all safely restrained

• Choose the best travel route – sometimes the fastest isn’t the most entertaining

• Check the weather conditions before setting off and plan accordingly

How AMI Roadside Rescue gets customers back on the road:

1. Battery – jumpstarting or replacing the battery

2. Tow – arranging the vehicle to be towed for further investigation

3. Tyres – fitting a new/spare tyre

4. Mechanical - investigating noise from the engine, fixing an oil leak, checking a broken or faulty drive/cam belt

5. Keys – unlocking the car when the key are locked in the vehicle, or when the keys are broken, or the remote is not working

6. Electrical – checking the starter if it’s not responding or there is no spark

© Scoop Media

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