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The AA is reminding motorists that new cars are still vulnerable to breakdowns after attending to over 4 a day in January alone.

An analysis of AA Rescue assignments for the month of January reveals how they were called out to fix 128 brand new 161-registered vehicles. Last month also saw them attend to 741 breakdowns of cars that were less than one year old.

“You would like to think that when you drive out of a showroom enjoying that new car smell you won’t have to worry about a breakdown for a while, but in fact cars are vulnerable when they are very new,” says AA Director of Consumer Affairs, Conor Faughnan. “We get called nearly 30 times a week for brand new vehicles.”

Modern cars are increasingly complex machines and include finely tuned electronics and software that can be prone to teething issues, says The AA. Owners may make mistakes because they don’t know the car very well, with dashboard warning lights and mystery ‘won’t starts’ tending to be more common in younger cars.

“Older motorists will remember when new cars had to be ‘run in’ for a month or so,” says Conor. “That is long gone but it is still true that if there is an issue with a car it will turn up in the first few weeks.”

On foot of a 30,000 surge in new car sales in January, The AA is advising motorists of the importance of familiarising themselves with their car’s service manual and settings.

“Driver error is often the cause of breakdowns, so it’s vital that you are clued up on your car’s service manual. It’s key to keeping your car in good repair, and helps you get to know its settings and characteristics as models do differ on the details,” advises Conor.

The AA Rescue study also ranks the most popular faults among 161-reg motors, with almost a quarter (23%) of motorists battling with vehicles that won’t start. This is followed by lit up dashboard warning lights (15%), wheel changes (15%), cutting out (6%), and simple misfuelling incidents (4%).

“Buying a new car means you get the benefits of the latest advances in technology, comfort and security, but often that means an array of complex – and confusing – issues to deal with,” advises Conor. “Non-starting is a popular find in new car breakdowns and it can be daunting for any motorist, seasoned or not, to even begin diagnosing the issue.

“New cars generally have a breakdown service of some sort to cover this but be warned; not all of them have cover provided by AA. In many cases it is a much more limited ‘fetch-and-tow’ type service which can be frustrating,” says Conor. “An AA van is more like a mobile garage carrying sophisticated electronics, with the capability to attend to any car on the road.”

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