Battery problems dominate breakdown causes in 2020

Woman with broken down car
Woman with broken down car

29 March 2021: Of the almost 850,000 breakdowns attended by NRMA patrols over the last 12 months, almost half (46 per cent) were related to battery failure, according to new data released by the NRMA.

Analysis of 848,650 breakdowns from March 2020 to February 2021 found that batteries dominated the reasons for calling an NRMA patrol on the side of the road. Other major breakdown causes in a year of roadside service heavily affected by the COVID pandemic included:

  • Batteries (46 per cent)
  • Wheels and tyres (14 per cent)
  • Electrical (8 per cent)
  • Cooling system (4 per cent)
  • Fuel injection (3 per cent)

Over the same timeframe, NRMA patrols rescued 1,874 children and pets locked in cars and repaired 326 immobile wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Of the 848,650 breakdowns attended by NRMA patrols, 90 per cent got the Member back on the road again without the need of a tow and the average waiting time was 40 minutes. These performance levels are among the highest globally. 

Due to limited travel brought about by COVID, breakdowns over the last year have increasingly centred around metropolitan areas, with the top five areas across NSW and the ACT:

  • Central Coast: 43,987 breakdowns
  • ACT: 38,807
  • Blacktown: 33,420
  • Northern Beaches: 31,706
  • Canterbury-Bankstown:  30,160

NRMA Patrol Team Leader Kosta Karavanas said the importance of roadside assistance was again highlighted during the recent flooding in NSW, where demand for NRMA’s service on the side of the road rose by 40 per cent during the worst of the flooding.

“Families want peace-of-mind when they’re on the road that when an unwanted breakdown occurs they can rely on NRMA patrols for help and we saw that extensively over the last year, especially during extreme weather conditions,” Mr Karavanas said.

“We see massive spikes in demand when it’s very hot, cold or wet and getting to people quickly and getting them back on the road is critical to their safety and to help ease congestion on our roads.

“The NRMA is in its 101st year of operation and we are more committed than ever to helping our Members. Nowhere is that more prevalent than when we were called out to rescue almost 1,900 children and pets – these calls go to the top of our list, regardless of whether you are a Member.”

Contact: Rebecca Page, John MacGowan


The NRMA has teamed up with Destination NSW to make sure you can see the absolute best that NSW has to offer by road this year. Check out the video below for our top tips on keeping your car road-trip-ready.