AAA: New Tech Isn't Enough To Prevent Breakdowns
Calls for roadside assistance reached an all-time high in 2015, with nearly one million motorists asking for help throughout North and South Carolina, according to AAA Carolinas.
Many of those distress calls came from owners of newer vehicles.
"We're talking about vehicles that are fewer than five years old. That's the part that's alarming," said spokeswoman Stephanie Wright. "You think when you get a relatively new vehicle that you're not going to get a lot of breakdowns, but unfortunately that's not what we've seen."
Despite advances in automotive technology, Wright said calls for roadside assistance continue to rise, due in part to unexpected consequences of new car trends.
Wright noted that many new models are sold without spare tires, something buyers may not even think to ask about. The inflation kits some dealers include with purchase aren’t always enough to fix every flat.
She said keyless starter systems are also contributing to an increase in calls for service.
"These keyless ignition systems, what we're seeing is they drain battery life, which is why we're seeing a lot more of our calls be battery-related, and they're on these newer vehicles," said Wright.
In addition to regular battery testing, AAA Carolinas recommends storing keyless entry fobs away from vehicles when not use.
Some of the problems drivers encounter are of their own making. Wright said a growing number of motorists are pushing their luck when it comes to relying on low fuel warning alerts.
"It's not a fool-proof system," she warned. "A lot of times these are ballpark figures. You don't exactly have twelve miles until you're empty. So folks think, 'Well, I can get home or I'll get gas in the morning.' Guess what happens? They get in traffic, they find themselves stranded, and they find themselves having to call AAA."
Wright recommends keeping an emergency kit in each car in case you get stranded, stocked with a cell phone charger, flash light, drinking water, snacks and any medications you might need.