Flat Batteries Top AA Breakdown Fault In 2011

A pair of jump leadsThe AA has published a list of its top ten breakdown call outs in 2011. Unsurprisingly battery problems top the list, despite the milder winter weather of 2011 causing fewer flat batteries than the severe chill of 2010.

In total, The AA attended 3.4 million breakdown calls in 2011, including 920,000 recoveries and 160,000 motorway rescues.

Here are the top ten breakdowns in 2011 (AA roadside patrols only):

  1. Battery: 450,000
  2. Tyres: 363,000
  3. Lights: 162,000
  4. Alternator: 124,000
  5. Clutch: 118,000
  6. Keys: 103,000
  7. Starter motor: 88,000
  8. Engine: 68,000
  9. Brakes: 56,000
  10. Fuel pump: 53,000

Keith Miller, AA Patrol of the Year, says that “many breakdowns are avoidable” and cites his particular concerns over motorists’ increasing risk-taking behaviour when it comes to replacing and maintaining tyres:

Increasingly we’re seeing cars with barely any tread on the tyres. As well as being illegal and potentially dangerous, the tyre is much more likely to puncture. Members tell us that they have put off replacing them due to money worries.

How To Beat Flat Batteries

Flat batteries can be hard to avoid with modern cars used only for short, low-speed journeys – but if you are aware that this risk applies to you, you can act to keep your battery topped up and prevent that dreaded Monday morning flat battery.

Check out these two guides for more information:

The simplest step to take to avoid your car getting a flat battery when you leave it standing for a weekend is to ensure that you switch everything off before you turn the engine off. This includes:

  • Heater fan
  • AC
  • Stereo
  • Lights
  • Demister
  • Windscreen wipers

Make sure that none of the interior lights are left switched on and try to check that the one in the boot isn’t staying on when the boot is closed – you can always try taking the bulb out if nothing else worked. As a last resort, Honest John suggests closing all the air vents and setting the heater to recirculate in case air movement is causing your alarm to be repeatedly triggered, which will gradually flatten the battery.

Finally, if you depend heavily on your car, then why not replace the battery before it fails? If your car’s battery is 5-7 years old, it will be near the end of its natural life anyway. A replacement will help ensure trouble-free starting and will mean that you are not caught out by your old battery, which is guaranteed to fail at the worst possible time…

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