AAA said it came to the aid of 32 million drivers last year, and that is a record number with more battery, flat fire and key problems than ever before. Vehicles fewer than five years old in particular experienced a high proportion of tire and key related issues than older vehicles. AAA said that suggests that the trend toward eliminating the spare tire and moving to electronic keyless ignitions may have “unintended consequences.”
“Sleek, low profile tires are highly susceptible to damage, electronic keyless ignitions can zap battery life and despite advanced warning systems, more than half a million drivers ran out of gas last year,” said Cliff Ruud, managing director of AAA Automotive Solutions.
The auto club said that tire inflator kits can only remedy some flat tire situations. And despite low fuel warning alerts and range estimations, a higher proportion of drivers are using these systems to push the limits between fuel fill ups.
Don’t ask me why, but drivers are most likely to request assistance on Mondays and least likely to request assistance on Sundays. Also AAA said more than four million drivers were locked out their vehicles last year.
One more AAA note. It said gas prices have hit their lowest July level in a dozen years even during the peak summer travel season. Prices have dropped in 39 out of the last 40 days the auto club said yesterday. Mainly, Saudi Arabia has held down prices to keep their share of world markets.
GM said it would cost up to $550 million if has to fix Takata airbag inflators in up to 4.3 million pickups and Sport Utility Vehicles. It is hoping to convince regulators that the air bags are safe. The estimate came in a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
GM will recall some 290,000 Chevrolet Impalas because installed airbags may not recognize that some seats actually have people in them. Named in the recall are model years 2009-2010. It said damage to an air bag fuse could result in a loss of all air bags and seat belt pretensions, according to the Detroit News.
Saab may not have made it but Volvo wants us to know it is doing rather well. Volvo reported a strong first half with operating income more than tripling. First half sales rose 10.5 per cent internationally.
And McLaren is celebrating its fifth anniversary with record sales of 1,654 cars in 2015, a number that is expected to double this year. It rang up a third consecutive year of profitability. All good news for a company that produces some first class GT cars that are just incredibly fun to drive.
(Yes, I like them. I admit it.)