Parents, check these five breakdown causes this Summer.

Parents – don’t head off in your car this summer without checking these five most common breakdown causes


• The average person plans on driving 740 miles this summer, however 73 per cent and 76 per cent, respectively, don’t check their breakdown or car insurance policies before heading off¹

• AXA reveals that motorists are more likely to breakdown due to their cars overheating (50 per cent), gear box issues (31 per cent) and clutch issues (13 per cent) during the summer months²

• Motorists are also much more likely to have children in the car during summer months. In August alone, 17 per cent of AXA breakdown claims include children in the car, which is 71 per cent more likely than the rest of the year

With the average person planning on driving just over 740 miles this summer, AXA is releasing new data to help motorists avoid stressful journeys. We all know the roads become busy after the schools break up, however not everyone checks their vehicles properly before heading off on their journeys.

According to AXA, there are a number of breakdown causes that become increasingly common during the summer months compared to winter. Unsurprisingly, overheating is the top issue; however many people don’t realise that they are 50 per cent more likely to breakdown due to overheating during summer than they are in winter.

Five top causes of breakdowns in summer

Along with overheating, motorists are 31 per cent and 13 per cent more likely to breakdown during the summer months due to gear box and clutch issues respectively. AXA also receives 20 per cent more call outs for tyre punctures with no spare in the car (which is common for modern vehicles with run-flats), however many are too far away from home to arrange to have the tyres fixed.

The problem is that many people aren’t checking their vehicles properly before going on a car journey. For instance, 66 per cent admit to not checking their coolant before heading off, which can be a direct cause of overheating. What’s more, a whopping 94 per cent of people don’t check their gearboxes and less than half check their tyre treads before going on their summer holidays.

2015 + 2016 Breakdown Causes, Summer vs. Winter
Cause Percentage more likely in summer months compared to winter months
Overheating 50%
Gear box 31%
Tyre puncture with no spare tyre by design 20%
Clutch 13%
Loss of power 11%

Dashboard warning lights

Along with preparing your car before heading off on a summer holiday, you also need to prepare yourself in terms of what you should do should your car encounter an issue. For instance, fewer than 50 per cent of people would call their breakdown provider if their engine light came on during the summer months, and 16 per cent said they would just keep on driving!

It seems as though many people are confused when it comes to their vehicle warning lights, for instance if a battery charge warning light came on, 25 per cent said they would call breakdown, another 21 per cent would continue driving, 41 per cent would check the problem themselves and 14 per cent said they don’t know what they’d do. The answer here is to check what each warning light means in your vehicle handbook before you go so you know what steps you may need to take.

Protecting your family on the road

Along with not checking their vehicles, 73 per cent of motorists don’t check their breakdown policies and 76 per cent don’t check their car insurance policies before heading off even though they are much more likely to have children in the car. In August alone, 17 per cent of AXA breakdown claims from 2015 and 2016 included children in the car – that’s 71 per cent more likely than the rest of the year.

In June, July and August, 14 per cent of claims also had three or more passengers in the car, which is 41 per cent more likely than the rest of the year and 87 per cent more likely compared to November, December and January. No wonder 55 per cent and 51 per cent of motorists find driving with children or their family in the car stressful.

Gareth Howell, Managing Director of AXA Insurance, said: “By mid-July, thousands of schools will have broken up for the school holidays, which means millions of families will be hitting the roads and looking forward to spending time together. Whilst we can’t promise that this won’t come with a few stresses along the way such as a bit of traffic or the kids playing up, what we can help with is advice on how to avoid some of the biggest causes of breakdowns. Checking your vehicle before going away can make a huge difference, especially if you know what to look out for.”

For more information on the top five causes of breakdowns in both summer and winter, and the best ways to avoid these issues, please visit: