AAA Northern California’s Latest Car Trouble Trends

AAA Northern California reveals the most common reasons vehicles are breaking down this summer
Photo Credit: Jamie Street / Unsplash


WALNUT CREEK, Calif. – AAA Northern California wants to help drivers outsmart life by unveiling the most common reasons members are running into trouble on the road.

A review of data from AAA Northern California’s emergency roadside assistance and AAA Auto Repair Centers reveals battery issues are plaguing drivers across the state. In May and June of 2020, AAA Northern California saw a 34% increase in roadside assistance calls for battery service compared to the same time in 2019. That’s equal to about 28,000 more calls in 2020. AAA Auto Repair Centers across the west have also seen battery services increase 23 percent since stay-at home orders were enacted.

All other calls for service including flat tires, vehicle lockouts and tows declined compared to last year.

“Many vehicles have sat idle in driveways and garages since directives to stay at home were enacted,” said Sergio Avila, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “As drivers get behind the wheel, we’re seeing the impact of that idling.”

The coronavirus pandemic has also caused drivers to forego routine vehicle maintenance. AAA Auto Repair Center data reveals a 17 percent drop in vehicle maintenance services since mid March.

Vehicles typically associated with work, like trucks and SUVs, have been especially impacted by the stop-and-go of the economy. AAA Auto Repair facilities have seen repair services for these types of vehicles dramatically rise.

Protect your ride before a break down

To keep motorists moving, AAA Northern California is sharing five pieces of roadside wisdom that can help drivers stay safe on the road:

Drive your vehicle at least once a week for at least 30 minutes. This will help keep your battery charged. Take a longer route that you normally would when running errands to let your vehicle run more.

If you’ve postponed routine maintenance, make sure to have your vehicle inspected at a AAA Auto Repair Center or a trusted mechanic.

Check your tire pressure. Tires should be checked when your vehicle has not been driven recently. Low tire pressure can lead to blow outs, can affect handling and braking of a vehicle.

Check your fluids. Your engine, brakes, transmission, radiator, and power steering all need to have optimal fluid levels to function properly. Proper fluid levels are essential for keeping your vehicle running smoothly.

Have a breakdown plan. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers. Once in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider. Under most circumstances, it is safest to remain buckled in your vehicle until help arrives.

“Vehicles of all ages are susceptible to roadside trouble. Minimize your risk by being prepared and having a roadside assistance provider,” Avila said.