HARTFORD, CT (April 27, 2021) - AAA Emergency Roadside Service has seen calls for battery replacements jump by almost 25% in the first three months of this year, compared to the same time period last year, an indicator that the pandemic has taken its toll on vehicles – and the issues are not limited to dead batteries.
With more cars sitting idle for long periods of time and many drivers putting off basic vehicle maintenance during the lockdown, AAA is reminding drivers who are now getting back on the roads, to also get back to car care to avoid becoming stranded roadside.
“Don’t wait until Memorial Day to get ready for that summer road trip,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in greater Hartford. “Whether planning a short trip, a long trip or just a quick trip to the mall, it is critical that drivers make plans sooner rather than later to catch up on car care many put off during the pandemic.”
It’s a trend AAA is already seeing across its network of Approved Auto Repair shops and at the AAA Car Care Center in Southington.
“As the vaccine rolled out, the vehicles started to roll in,” says Eileen Chesney, Manager of the AAA Car Care in Southington. “We’ve seen at least a 15% increase in business within the last month.”
For every battery replacement now through May 2, AAA will fund the planting of a tree in a national forest in recognition of Earth Day and Arbor Day.
AAA expects more than 80,000 calls for Emergency Road Service this summer.
Last summer (June 20 - September 22), just in the greater Hartford area alone, AAA came to the rescue of almost 74,000 motorists. This summer, AAA is preparing to rescue more than 80,000 members as pent up travel demand and an increase in vaccine distribution spurs on travel.
AAA Automotive experts say the top three types of vehicle issues that could derail a road trip are:
- Battery-related issues, including faulty starters or alternators. A battery on the brink of dying rarely warns a driver before it fails, but having a simple battery test will. Through its mobile battery program, AAA offers its members free testing of a vehicle’s battery and electrical system.
- Engine cooling system failures, such as the radiator, thermostat or water pump or engine parts such as the timing belt, most prominently in vehicles age 10 years and older. Much like a battery, the components of the engine cooling system may fail without warning. Drivers should look for fluids such as coolant pooling underneath the vehicle when it is parked as an indication of an impending problem.
- Tire damage severe enough to require repair or replacement. Drivers can minimize this risk by checking tread depth, tire pressure and whether their vehicle is equipped with a spare tire.
A key factor to making sure that the long awaited summer road trip is less stressful is to ensure the family vehicle is properly maintained. AAA understands that choosing a repair shop is a personal decision and when asked what was most important, consumers overwhelmingly choose the 3 C’s.
- CONFIDENCE ranked at the top of the list with 89% of consumers saying having a trusted relationship is important when choosing a repair shop for routine car maintenance.
- COST is the second most important factor when deciding where to take their car for service, important to 83% of consumers.
- Consumers also rank CONVENIENCE high on the list with shop hours (78%), located near home (78%) and ability to schedule appointments (77%) all tying for the third most important factor.
A professional and thorough vehicle inspection can help reduce the chance of a serious breakdown. If a car does end up at a repair shop, not only will a road trip be interrupted, drivers can expect to spend anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars to get back on the road.
AAA Car Care Centers in Connecticut
AAA Car Care Insurance and Travel Center
75 Queen St.
Take the guesswork out of finding a trusted repair facility by trusting a local AAA Car Care Center or AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) facilities. These shops must adhere to a stringent set of standards for certifications, technical training, cleanliness, insurance requirements, and customer service set forth by AAA.
CT Mailing Address:
815 Farmington Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06119
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than one million members in Connecticut. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.aaa.com.