Do you have an older car? It’s not unusual to have a perfectly healthy car more than 10 years old, so long as you keep servicing it. As many as half of all cars on the road are more than 10 years old. Many car owners are driving around with vehicles that have done well over 100,000 miles.
If you don’t look after your car as it gets older however you could run into problems.
According to 2017 figures from the AAA:
- 67% percent of calls for roadside assistance were for vehicles 10 years and older.
- Vehicles 10 years or older were 4 times more likely to require a tow.
Top problems leading to a tow in older cars
1. Battery problems
Most battery problems can be fixed without the need for a tow. A quick jump-start is often all a vehicle needs to get running again; in older cars however, a near-dead battery can cause damage to other components such as your alternator or starter. When this happens you will need a visit to a repair shop, and a tow.
2. Engine cooling problems
Overheating is a quick way towards a breakdown. There are lots of components in car engines to help keep them cool, and as vehicles get older the chance of one of them failing increases. It’s not uncommon for vehicles more than 10 years old to overhead due to a failed radiator, thermostat, water pump, or timing belt for instance.
3. Severe tire damage
Sometimes tire damage is too significant to repair safely at the roadside; and if your car doesn’t have a spare tire then you’ll need a tow to a tire shop. Shockingly as many as 1/3 of cars sold today don’t come with a spare tire – according to Consumer Reports.
Breakdowns and roadside assistance aren’t exclusive to older vehicles, but they’re much more likely. If you have a vehicle more than 10 years old (and a lot of us do), then you need to be aware of what is most likely to cause a breakdown and be prepared for such a situation.
- Check your tires regularly for cracks, bulges, tread and keep them inflated; do this at least every 2 weeks.
- If you do lots of short trips – go for a long run every so often to charge the battery.
- Be aware that most car batteries last for around 4-6 years.
- Keep your car serviced and maintained regularly.
- Keep a local tow company phone number in your cell phone.
- Stay safe and know what to do while waiting for a tow.