Avoid ‘Flat Battery Thursday’: Tips for Irish Drivers

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High number of car breakdowns expected after Christmas holidays

Irish motorists are being advised to keep their car road-ready as Ireland’s workforce gear up for their first day back at the office after the Christmas break.

Allianz Global Assistance Ireland, one of the country’s largest roadside assistance providers, is anticipating a four-fold increase in calls on Thursday, 2nd January, better known as ‘Flat Battery Thursday’. Hundreds of drivers, who haven’t used their cars for many days, typically find that their cars won’t start on their first day back at work.

On the corresponding day in 2013 (January 2nd 2013), Allianz Global Assistance saw a massive jump of over 400% in call-outs compared to an average weekday, with the busiest time of the day between 8am and 2pm.  The company is therefore encouraging motorists to avoid the hassle of car trouble, by planning ahead.

Roland Hesse, Allianz Global Assistance Ireland Country Manager, says: “The vast majority of call-outs on January 2nd will probably be to a customer’s home, with a flat battery being the main culprit. Our advice is to drive your car for at least 30 minutes before January 2nd therefore ensuring your car battery is fully charged and ready for that first day back at work.”

He added: “We’d also recommend motorists make themselves aware of the public transport options, in case the breakdown is a more complicated issue than a flat battery.”

The Dublin-based company, which is part of the Allianz Group, provides roadside assistance and customer services to insurance companies and car manufacturers including BMW, Toyota, Volkswagen, KIA and Volvo.

While flat batteries are the main cause of vehicle breakdown call-outs during winter months, accidents and flat tyres are also major issues for motorists. Other causes for breakdown call-outs are running out of fuel, putting petrol in a diesel engine, broken lights and faults caused by alarms or immobilisers.

To help prevent breakdowns, Allianz Global Assistance Ireland has some simple measures it recommends motorists follow:

  1. Ensure the anti-freeze has been checked
  2. Check windscreen wipers for damage and replace if necessary
  3. Ensure there is plenty of washer fluid in the windscreen washer bottle
  4. Check oil level
  5. 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).  Also be aware that in wet weather, tyre performance drops considerably below 2mm of tread
  6. Check tyre pressure, over-inflated tyres are especially dangerous on icy roads
  7. Regularly clean lights and mirrors
  8. Ensure there is sufficient breakdown cover
  9. Get the car serviced regularly at the car brand dealership

(Source: Allianz Global Assistance Ireland)