Archive for October 13th, 2015|Daily archive page

Driver learns the value of a dashboard camera the hard way

Are you tempting fate? You are if you are among the 35% of Americans who have been skipping or delaying vehicle service and repairs, according to a new study by AAA.
The motoring and travel organization wants that putting off repairs, such as oil changes, and battery and tire replacements, can not only leave a family stranded on the side of the road but put their health and safety at risk. A delayed repair also can mean higher costs later.
“According to a survey of AAA’s certified Approved Auto Repair shops, consumers that forget or ignore recommended maintenance ultimately pay higher repair costs,” cautioned John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “These repair facilities estimate drivers can save an average of one hundred dollars per visit simply by properly maintaining their vehicle.”
AAA and other experts found that U.S. motorists routinely put off service and repairs during the Great Recession, a common problem during economic hard times. But the new study shows that more than one in three American vehicle owners are still delaying action even as the economy recovers.
That’s one of the reason AAA reports it had to respond to 29 million calls for roadside assistance in 2014. Three issues accounted for nearly 60% of those calls:
  • Dead batteries. The organization says two-thirds of Americans have never had their vehicle batteries tested;
  • Flat tires or blow-outs.  The AAA says 60% of Americans don’t regularly check tire pressure, despite the fact that can reduce fuel economy and lead to potentially deadly tire failures;
  • Keys. Even with the rising use of keyless entry systems, AAA has seen “no significant reduction” in calls from drivers locked out of their vehicles.
But a number of other roadside service calls – about 12 million annually – are caused by engine problems, fuel issues and other “mechanical mishaps,” according to Nielsen, who stressed that many of these are the result of delayed or skipped service. Repeatedly putting off oil changes, for example, can eventually lead to an engine failure.
The study of 2014 roadside calls showed that AAA towed 2 million vehicles due to engine problems, and another 600,000 for transmission issues. Another 235,000 were towed to a service shop because of brake problems.
Fuel problems present another big problem. AAA says its service teams were called out 500,000 times last year because motorists ran out of gas. Meanwhile, more than 13,000 were towed in for repairs because diesel owners inadvertently filled up with gasoline – or vice versa.
Automotive service experts warn that such problems are likely to get worse in the months ahead as the weather starts turning cold in much of the country. That routinely leads to an increase in a number of common vehicle problems, notably battery failures.
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