A country-wide analysis of over 130,000 breakdowns attended to by AA Ireland has revealed that motorists are continuing to wrangle with worn-out batteries and electrical faults, which combined caused almost one in four breakdowns reported to AA Rescue this year.
According to recent figures from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, new car sales in Ireland fell by 25% in the first 11 months of 2020, largely as a result of COVID-19 temporarily closing many dealers and reduced demand. With more people opting to hold onto their current car for longer or buy through the second-hand market, the AA continues to see a high number of callouts with battery faults and defective tyres among the leadings causes of breakdowns.
Over the course of 2020, the AA attended to 133,689 breakdowns in the period from December 1 2019 to November 31 2020. Despite the introduction of various lockdown measures in response to COVID-19 limiting national travel for months at a time, the number of breakdowns attended is largely in line with numbers for 2018 and 2019.
“While many of us spent a great deal more time at home in 2020 that we would have ever imagined or indeed wanted to, we were also more reliant than ever on our cars to help us travel when we needed to – be it to essential work, to aid family who were cocooning at different times during the year, or to finally get out for a holiday in Ireland when the situation allowed us to do so over the summer. As a result, our patrols continued to see a high number of breakdowns reported to them even during the lockdown periods,” Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs stated. “While it falls outside of the period of this analysis, the recent drop in temperatures has seen in mid-December saw further significant demand on our services as the combination of cold weather and idle cars led to many battery issues across the country.
In total, the AA attended to over 43,000 breakdowns caused by faulty batteries and electrics throughout the year, accounting for almost a third of breakdowns attended to by the AA. While this year’s winter has been much milder than conditions seen in previous years, the AA is warning motorists of the importance of car maintenance during winter, particularly for those gearing up to travel home after spending Christmas and New Year with family in other counties.
“If you were to look at this winter and compare it to previous years, you would think that there is less for motorists to be concerned about when it comes to car maintenance as we haven’t seen a great deal of serious weather events featuring flooding, ice or snow. However, our patrols actually had their busiest day since the Beast from the East in early December, so if you are gearing up for a lengthy journey after the holidays – and particularly if your car has been largely idle between Christmas and New Years – it may be a good idea to start it now for 15 to 20 minutes to ensure your battery is ready to go,” Faughnan added.