With many of us taking advantage of the summer heat and heading to seaside towns to soak up the sun, The AA is warning motorist not to become complacent when it comes to your car. There has been an increase of more than 19% in AA Rescue call outs to motorists who have locked their keys in the car, between the 3 months from February to April compared to the time period from May to 18th July.
In the first 18 days of July, The AA dealt with 130 cases where people had locked their keys in the car. Motorists are more likely to do this at the weekend, as according to The AA’s figures there was an increase of about 36% in call-outs to people who had locked their keys in the car at the weekend compared to midweek.
There has also been a significant increase in cases where the vehicle’s battery had gone flat, with The AA reporting 57.5% more flat batteries so far this year compared to last year. AA Rescue call-outs for flat batteries are up 33% so far this July compared to July 2012. “We see a lot of people using their car radio as a stereo when the sun comes out or sitting in the car with the fans blowing out air, whilst the engine is off and this wastes the battery” advises Conor Faughnan Director of policy at The AA.
The AA has already seen an increase of 4.4% in overall breakdowns compared to this time last year and is advising motorists to make sure their car is summer-ready. Checking your tyre pressure is very important; under-inflation causes friction and even more heat which will have an effect on any weak spots and causes punctures and blow-outs. Over-inflating your tyres can also cause havoc as the air in your tyres expands in the heat and could also cause a blow-out. Check your car manual to find out the desired air pressure.
“Irish cars are getting older year by year as new car sales remain at very low levels.” Says Faughnan. “One consequence of that is that they are breaking down more often.”
The sunny weather will always bring extra motorists to seaside towns and AA Rescue has seen an increase in call-outs to these areas. The AA has noted a particular rise in breakdowns in Skerries and Balbriggan in Dublin, as well as Bettystown in Meath and along the coast in Counties Wexford, Kerry and Clare. Anyone travelling to these areas is advised to fill up the tank before setting off. “Running out of fuel while queuing to find a parking spot near the beach, can really ruin your day” remarks Faughnan.
Before you next get into the car, it would be a good idea to have a look under the bonnet and top up your oil and coolant fluid. Coolant fluid is very important to keep your car from overheating. The high temperatures can also aggravate any existing problems with the cooling system such as a leaking hose, or broken electric cooling fan. You’ll know if your fan is broken as the temperature of your engine will soar if you’re stuck in traffic.
Wherever you’re driving this summer it’s important to be prepared for the journey ahead. The AA fix 80% of breakdowns at the roadside and Rescue agents are available to help 24/7 365 days a year.