I have recently read a very interesting article from Aaron Robinson, the chief-editor of Car and Driver, comparing the complexity of carburetors in the end of their lives with the current complexity of engines. According to AAA (American Automobile Association), that could be extended to car as a whole. In 2015, the association had an increase in the number of rescues it had to perform. Most of them were for cars that are less than 5-years old, but AAA does not mention how many among the 32 million calls it received were from these newer cars. And it has nothing to do with reliability, but with technology and emission demands. In other words, with keyless start systems and the lack of spare tires.
In order to reduce weight, many car manufacturers adopt run-flat tires or tire repair kits, with sealants and inflators, but they are hardly of any help in case a wheel breaks or a tire has a side damage. The keyless systems let people down when the “electronic keys” batteries run out or present any other sort of problem that makes the car be unable to detect its presence. And there is also a problem with board computers presenting the range. Some people just trust it too much and their cars run out of fuel way earlier than these computers indicate. Who would say you would get range anxiety from an internal combustion engine vehicle, right? Lots of drivers among these 32 million that got rescued would better have some.
AAA has seized the chance to warn driver to always have a “summer emergency kit”, since most of the calls happen during summer (8.3 million in this period, with 8.1 million in the winter). Always take snacks, water, tools and your cellphone with you, as well as a way to charge your mobile. And beware on these sily problems that may require roadside assistance.