Cars more advanced but still vulnerable to breakdowns

01 November 2017
father child car breakdown

Over one-third of the 1.2 million broken down cars fixed by the NRMA last year had battery and electrical faults according to our annual vehicle breakdown report.

The data shows that despite rapid advances in motoring technology the number of drivers stranded on the roadside remains high.

Last year, the NRMA’s reasons for callouts were:

  1. Flat batteries – (312,585 / 25.5 per cent)
  2. Wheels and tyres – (133,770 / 11 per cent)
  3. Electrical faults – (98,180 / 8 per cent)
  4. Vehicle lock-outs – (61,347 / 5 per cent)

The NRMA also rescued 3767 babies and pets from cars last year. The statistics were released several weeks after the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and China all announced a ban on the manufacture of petrol cars, some as soon as 2025.

The NRMA is playing a lead role in preparing Australia for an electric vehicle future. Last week it announced plans to build the nation’s largest EV charging network.

NRMA EGM Motoring Samantha Taranto said while the global car fleet would change dramatically over the coming decade to become more high tech, automated and electric; this year’s breakdown data showed car batteries, tyres and computers would always need repair.

“Regardless of how technology advances cars, it is clear from these statistics that there will always be a need for roadside assistance because while there are fewer moving mechanical parts in a car they still break down,” Ms Taranto said.

“Australia’s vehicle fleet is also older in comparison to other developed nations. The average age of vehicles registered in Australia is 10 years so we know many Australians’ are keeping cars longer or looking to buy smart on the second hand market.

“That’s why the NRMA is focusing heavily on preventative measures to keep our Members moving, such as the EV network and connected car technology, which enables us to diagnose and fix a problem before the Member breaks down.”

The 1.2 million breakdowns between September 2016 and September 2017 equated to two calls per minute. The average waiting time was 35 minutes and nine-times-out-of-ten times NRMA patrols got cars back on the road without a tow.

“The NRMA’s focus is to keep people moving and we are empowering our Members to take proactive steps to prevent their cars breaking down in the first place because nobody likes breaking down – especially over the holidays,” Ms Taranto said.

The top 10 locations of breakdowns were:

  1. Port Macquarie (8,148)
  2. Blacktown (7,662)
  3. Castle Hill (7,442)
  4. Sydney CBD (6,636)
  5. Baulkham Hills (6,339)
  6. Mascot (6,184)
  7. Coffs Harbour (6,034)
  8. Mosman (5,942)
  9. Marrickville (5,221)
  10. Randwick (5,111)

Before hitting the road this summer the NRMA recommends Members book their cars in for a service with an NRMA car servicing centre or mobile service.

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