Be prepared for flat battery problems

Drivers are being advised to check their car batteries and tyres as we wade in to the New Year.

Research from roadside assistance provider, Allianz Global Assistance Ireland, shows demand for jump-starts dramatically increases on the first day back to work after Christmas due to cars not being driven over the extended holiday period.

The research showed a 30 per cent increase in flat battery call-outs on the first days back to work in January 2016. Figures also showed an increase in calls for flat tyres and clutch faults on that day.

Roland Hesse, managing director Allianz Global Assistance Ireland, says: “We strongly advise motorists to avoid a flat battery commuter meltdown this January. Every year we see an increase in calls on the first day back to work after Christmas because cars have not been used over the holiday period. We advise motorists to drive their cars at regular intervals over the break in order to keep the car battery charged, and to check on tyres to ensure the pressure doesn’t go down. This will help avoid stress on the first day back to work or on the school run.”

He added: “Going back to work after hibernating over the long break is tough enough. But realising that your car won’t start that morning can make matters worse. Our advice is to be prepared. Don’t leave it to the last minute to check that everything in the car is OK.”

Top five reasons for roadside assistance calls (January 1 to December 1 2016 )

1. Battery Flat: 24%

2. Wheel Change (Puncture ): 10%

3. Clutch: 5%

4. Engine Management Unit: 4%

5. Alternator: 3%

Motorists' post-Christmas car check list

1. Drive the car regularly over the holiday period to keep the battery charged.

2. Check tyre pressure. Note: Over-inflated tyres are especially dangerous on icy roads.

3. Check that the tread depths on all car tyres are legal - at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth and in a continuous band around the entire circumference of the tyre.

4. Be aware that in wet weather tyre performance drops considerably below 2mm of tread.

5. Ensure there is enough anti-freeze.

6. Check windscreen wipers for damage and replace if necessary.

7. Ensure there is plenty of washer fluid in the windscreen washer bottle.

8. Check oil level.

9. Clean lights and mirrors.

10. Ensure there is sufficient breakdown cover.

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