Heatwave breakdowns

Weather conditions trigger a surge in breakdowns from Cumbria to Cornwall

Weather conditions trigger a surge in breakdowns from Cumbria to Cornwall

Weather conditions trigger a surge in breakdowns from Cumbria to Cornwall

The AA has seen a high breakdown workload across many areas as the country continues to swelter.

By mid-afternoon on Wednesday, the hottest July day on record, the AA had attended more than 8,000 breakdowns across the country and was dealing with around 1,000 every hour.

After a cloudier and less hot day on Thursday, temperatures are expected to soar again going into the weekend.

Be prepared

We often advise drivers to be prepared in cold weather but it is equally important in hot conditions.

It’s getting pretty sticky on the roads and there’s nothing worse than being stuck in a jam with the mercury rising, so make sure you carry plenty of water – at least a litre per person – and sufficient fuel, so you can keep the air-conditioning on.


15:00, Thursday 2 July

Although not quite as busy as yesterday, breakdown workload continues to remain high across many areas with the AA attending around 7,000 breakdowns nationwide so far today.

AA figures show a 26% increase in overheating call-outs this week compared to last.

AA Insurance reports a spate of claims for cars damaged by giant hailstones damaging cars, particularly in North-east England. There has also been a small number of claims for fires after engines had severely overheated.

Torrential rain, hail and lightning late in the day tomorrow and overnight into Saturday could cause difficult driving conditions almost anywhere.

Mark Spowage, AA patrol of the year

It only takes one incident to cause long tailbacks

Delays and tailbacks

Mark Spowage, AA patrol of the year, says: “It only takes one incident to cause long tailbacks, so keep tuned to local traffic reports; and plan in sufficient stops – frequent short ones are better than one long stop.”

The AA also recommends using window blinds to help shield children and passengers; and the use of sunglasses to reduce glare. In these hot temperatures, children or pets should never be left in parked cars.

Cooking engines

The AA is also encouraging drivers to check their car’s cooling system as a cooling fan that doesn't work when it's needed is the most common initial cause of overheating, which can quickly become apparent when sitting in slow-moving traffic.

Mark Spowage explains: “When you get caught in traffic, the cooling fan will come on automatically and draw air through the radiator. If the fan motor has seized, say through lack of use, the coolant will get hotter until it boils and is lost from the system. If you don’t spot this and turn off the engine, you potentially risk a four-figure repair bill.”

(2 July 2015)