Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Easter Brings on Breakdowns

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Easter Brings on Breakdowns

Article excerpt

Byline: By Steve Hughes

It seems quite remarkable in this age of the almost perfect motorcar that so many will be left stranded by the roadside next weekend.

Nonetheless, according to breakdown organisations, that is precisely what happens every Easter, and this one is not expected to be any different.

Green Flag is predicting an incredible 17,000 calls for assistance over the weekend, with the worst day of the lot likely to be the Tuesday when everyone tries to go back to work.

What is perhaps even more remarkable is that this phenomenon of breaking down is not restricted to Bank Holiday weekends, but is apparently quite normal.

Indeed on any weekend of the year, the number of pleas for help will be three quarters of those at the busiest periods, amounting to an average of about 12,000 for this one breakdown organisation alone.

Add to that the figures for the two largest companies, the AA and RAC, plus the rest, and it amounts to something like 60,000 vehicles every weekend conking out in the UK.

This seems odd, bearing in mind the demise of the most common causes of faults, which used to be flat batteries, boiling radiators, troublesome distributors and coughing carburettors.

These days batteries and radiators are more or less maintenance-free, and distributors and carbs have been replaced by electronic fuel injection.

So how come so many cars are still breaking down? The answer is two-fold. Firstly, the vast majority of cars on our roads are much older than we may imagine.

Consider there are about 25 million cars in daily circulation, of which an average of two million a year are new.

That is just 10 million under five years old, and 14 million more than six years old.

Secondly, the much-publicised concept of the virtually maintenance-free cars of recent years has tricked owners of older models that this applies to them too, which it certainly does not. …

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