“Sleek, low profile tires are highly susceptible to damage, electronic keyless ignitions can zap battery life and despite advanced warning systems, more than half a million drivers ran out of gas last year.”
Owners of new vehicles may be unaware that some new vehicle designs and features may leave them vulnerable at the roadside, AAA noted. “To reduce vehicle weight and boost fuel economy, spare tires are being eliminated from new vehicles at alarming rates, and are being replaced with tire inflator kits that can only remedy some flat tire situations.”
Additionally, new keyless ignition systems can drain the battery life when keys are stored too close to the vehicle and can lock a driver out of the vehicle while the engine is still running.
Also, despite nearly all new vehicles being equipped with low fuel warning alerts and range estimations, a higher proportion of drivers are using these systems to push the limits between fuel ups.
Other key findings from an analysis of Orlando-based AAA's 2015 roadside assistance data include:
- Battery failures, flat tires and keys locked inside the vehicle remain the top roadside assistance requests.
- Vehicles fewer than five years old have a higher proportion of tire, key and fuel-related issues than older vehicles. Due in part to complex, electronic vehicle designs, one-in-five service calls for a newer vehicle required a tow to a repair facility.
- Vehicles between six and 10 years old have the highest proportion of battery-related issues, as most batteries have a three- to five-year life.
- Roadside assistance calls peak in the summer (8.3 million) followed by winter (8.1 million), fall (7.8 million) and spring (7.7 million).