More than 50% believe that the condition of Irish cars is worse now than last year. That’s according to an AA Membership poll of over 20,300 people. The condition of cars on the roads appears to have deteriorated most in Co Cavan, where 56% said that cars were worse off this year. This was closely followed by participants in Kildare with almost 55%.
“We’re not surprised with this figure, the recession has had a detrimental effect on car sales. Motorists are holding onto their cars for as long as they can, as buying a new one is a luxury they can’t afford” says Arwen Foley Media Spokesperson for The AA. In a separate poll conducted by the AA in January, it was discovered that 79% of those polled said they were planning to hold onto their current vehicle for as long as possible.
New car sales have seen a decline; there was a drop of 15.7% in sales in the first three months of this year compared to last year. New car registrations fell by about 10% in Dublin but the car sales industry has been hit hardest in Leitrim, Roscommon, Offaly and Longford where registrations dropped by 30%. April continued to see a fall in car sales, where there was a decrease of 9.5% compared to April 2012.
The AA who attend about 140,000 breakdowns every year, has seen a 5% increase in calls to assist motorists in the first 5 months of this year compared to last year. “There has been a visible increase in the amount of breakdowns over the last few years” said AA Patrol Supervisor John Merriman. “People aren’t getting their cars serviced as often as they should. Older cars need a lot more looking after and without a regular service, they are likely to breakdown.”
Parts of the car that need to be checked regularly include the tyres, brake pads, clutches and fuel filters. It is these car parts which have seen the most increases in AA call-outs. Call-outs for problems with tyres have gone up by 7.5%, brake pads 21%, clutches 13.5% and fuel filters 66% since this time last year. “A lot of this is to do with wear and tear” said John. “Having worn tyres, brake pads or a damaged clutch, can be very dangerous. All of these things need to be checked by a qualified mechanic.”
Whilst making sure your car is serviced regularly can prevent some breakdowns, they can and will still happen. Making sure you’re covered is equally as important. The AA fixes 80% of breakdowns at the side of the road and are readily available 24/7 365 days a year. Membership can cost as little as €8.25 a month.