Drivers risk roadside breakdown mayhem this Christmas if they don't check three simple things

MILLIONS of motorists could face roadside breakdown mayhem this Christmas if they fail to check simple things – like their car battery and tyres, experts have warned.

Up to 18 million drivers are expected to take to the roads each day on December 23 and Christmas Eve this year – a million more than in 2019.

In 2020, leading breakdown provider, the AA attended 7,828 call outs on Christmas Eve- and expect similar levels this time around.

The roadside assistance service revealed more than a quarter of breakdowns (27%) during last winter were a direct result of issues with the car battery.

And one person travelling more than most that day will be Santa Claus – so the AA is offering him free breakdown cover for 24 hours this Christmas Eve, including "reindeer assistance".

Sean Sidley, AA Patrol of the year, said: “With Santa covering more mileage than most this Christmas Eve, he could be more at-risk of a breakdown, so we’ll be offering him bespoke AA Santa Assist cover for one night only.

“Whilst our patrols have UK drivers covered, we know that Santa and his team would need a special kind of roadside assistance, so we wanted to extend our services to support sleighs and reindeers too."

It also emerged that engine and exhaust problems accounted for 12% of last winter's breakdowns, while tyres were the cause of another 12%.

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Other common causes of breakdowns last year included electrical faults (11%) and problems with steering, suspension, and brakes (5%).

Sean Sidley added: “If Santa does need the AA to rescue him, he could use the AA breakdown app to track his patrol…it’s a bit like the Santa tracker app, but yellow!”

TOP TIPS FOR DRIVING THIS CHRISTMAS

When it comes to general maintenance, there are six key areas to keep on top of which can be easily remembered using the acronym FLOWER – Fuel Lights Oil Water Electrics Rubber.

BATTERY

Checking the battery is very important when it comes to vehicle maintenance, particularly when vehicles aren't being used very often.

CONDITION OF TYRES

It is vital that motorists check the condition of their vehicle’s tyres regularly – try and do this every two weeks.

This is done easily by looking over the surface of the tyre for cuts and uneven wear, but don’t forget to also check that the tread is within legal limits. 

It is advised that if your tread drops below 3mm you should think about getting your tyres replaced, and if the tread is below 1.6mm this is illegal, and your tyres must be changed.

It’s also worth checking the spare tyre (where fitted).

TYRE PRESSURE

Checking tyre pressures regularly will help keep your tyres in good condition.

Vehicle tyre pressures can be easily found in the vehicle handbook and is normally printed on either of the front car doors or on the inside of the fuel flap.

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