AAA Says Vehicle Breakdowns Could Top 5 Million During Winter Holidays

Orlando, Fla. – 11/21/2003

AAA, the leading provider of automotive services to North American vehicle owners, is projecting nearly 5 million motorists will experience a vehicle breakdown during the holiday travel months of November and December.

AAA said its emergency road service forecast for the months of November and December is based on requests for emergency road service received during the same period one year ago.

In November and December of 2002, AAA-affiliated service personnel responded to 4.95 million requests for road service. They towed 2.13 million cars and trucks; serviced 930,000 batteries; unlocked 840,000 doors; changed 640,000 flat tires; provided fuel to 70,000 motorists that had run out of gas; and extracted 90,000 stuck vehicles. Another 250,000 motorists required miscellaneous roadside assistance from AAA.

Two years ago — in November and December of 2001– AAA-affiliated service personnel responded to 4.5 million requests for road service.

During recently concluded AAA Car Care Month inspections — performed free by AAA in various U.S. cities during October — the 46-million-member auto and travel club found more than one-third of all vehicles tested required some form of basic maintenance.

The most frequently encountered problem was improper tire pressure, found on 38 percent of all vehicles inspected. The next most common maintenance issue was low or dirty motor oil, antifreeze, or other automotive fluids in 34 percent of cars checked by AAA Approved Auto Repair technicians.

Insufficient tire tread depth was a concern on 20 percent of vehicles, with at least one tire needing replacing. Battery problems, including low charge or loose or corroded connections, were found on 18 percent of vehicles. Another 6 percent of vehicles had faulty headlights with failed bulbs, switches or misdirected beams.

Vehicle hoses were blistered, cracked or glazed on 6 percent of vehicles, indicating they were likely to fail in the near future and should be replaced.

“Although today’s vehicles are built better than ever, they must be consistently and professionally maintained to ensure their continued reliable operation,” said Marshall L. Doney, vice president of AAA Automotive.

“Vehicle owners that need information on vehicle maintenance or help finding reputable and reliable repair providers are encouraged to contact their local AAA club or visit,” he said.

AAA club web sites contain a wealth of information on all things automotive, and AAA has inspected and approved more than 7,600 repair providers nationwide — including new car dealerships and independent shops — and recommends their use to AAA members and non-members as a public service.

AAA provides emergency roadside assistance to members through a network of 71 club-owned fleets and more than 12,000 independent service providers who operate 42,500 service vehicles — the largest such fleet in North America.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.

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