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On The Brink Of Vehicle Breakdown Season: You Play A Key Role In Keeping Customers Safe And Happy

Just knowing that the average age of vehicles on the road is 11.6 years should be music to your ears. After all, older vehicles rack up more miles, and with that comes more wear and tear. Add to that new AAA roadside research that reveals vehicles that are 10-plus years old are twice as likely to end up stranded on the side of the road compared to newer vehicles, and you’ve got the perfect storm brewing for service opportunities with the upcoming summer road-trip season, says Mary DellaValle, editor of Shop Owner magazine.

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Mary became editor of Tire Review in April 2019. She joined Babcox Media in 1988 as the senior editor of Brake & Front End. In her 32-year career with Babcox, Mary has contributed across the brand portfolio in a variety of ways, most recently serving as the editor of ImportCar before joining the Tire Review team. Her appointment to Tire Review makes her only the 10th editor of the brand in its 118-year history.


Just knowing that the average age of vehicles on the road is 11.6 years should be music to your ears. After all, older vehicles rack up more miles, and with that comes more wear and tear. Add to that new AAA roadside research that reveals vehicles that are 10-plus years old are twice as likely to end up stranded on the side of the road compared to newer vehicles, and you’ve got the perfect storm brewing for service opportunities with the upcoming summer road-trip season.

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With 64 percent of family travelers planning a road trip this summer, and with more than half of cars on the road aged 10 years or older, according to AAA, the potential for roadside trouble escalates.

“All vehicles – even the newest ones – are prone to typical roadside headaches like dead batteries, flat tires and misplaced keys, but vehicles 10 years and older are four times more likely to encounter a problem serious enough to require a tow to a repair facility,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair.

As you already know, certain vehicle components take the brunt of the summer heat, so they are more prone to having an issue during a family road trip. Help your customers avoid a breakdown by keeping these key vehicle systems in top-working order, advises AAA.

Battery-related issues, including faulty starters or alternators. A battery on the verge of dying rarely warns a driver before it fails, but performing a simple battery test will.

Engine cooling system failures, such as the radiator, thermostat or water pump, or engine parts such as the timing belt, occur most prominently in vehicles that are 10-plus years old, and may fail without warning.

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Tire damage can be severe enough to require repair or replacement. Minimize your customers’ risk by checking tread depth, tire pressure and whether their vehicle is equipped with a spare tire.

Taking a proactive approach to ensuring your customers’ vehicles are operating at their peak for upcoming summer travel is good insurance that they will continue to call you first for all of their service needs.

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