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BTA: TOP 3 reasons for requiring roadside assistance – engine stall, battery problems and road accidents

30.04.2015

BTA Insurance Company SE (hereinafter – BTA) statistics on the roadside assistance required last year and this year reveal that most often, disregarding the season, BTA CASCO and MTPL customers have requested roadside assistance due to stalling of the engine, battery problems and road accidents. However, there are also some seasonal mechanical and technical troubles, for example in spring the customers report more problems with the running gear of the vehicle, including damages due to hitting potholes, in summer – filling the tank with wrong type of fuel, but in autumn – failed electronics of the vehicle.

In winters of 2014 and 2015 a total of 3460 BTA customers had requested roadside assistance due to mechanical problems of the vehicles. The largest number of calls for assistance is recorded in winter and summer. BTA experts point out that the number of calls received in various seasons is determined by many interrelated factors. In winter these being changing weather conditions – frost followed by thaw, in spring – rapid on-set of spring weather, in summer – heavy thunderstorms, in autumn – continuous rain and wind gusts that all affect the driving conditions and road surface adversely with bad road surface damaging the vehicle.

Disregarding the season, TOP3 reasons why BTA customers have sought roadside assistance most often are engine stalling, battery problems and road accidents. Although car’s battery and engine failures are typical of winter, due to the low temperatures, BTA statistics reveal that these two problems are topical throughout the year. Also the number of road accidents is equal in all the seasons.

In addition to the above problems necessitating roadside assistance, BTA receives calls also for other types of damage that most often occur in a particular season. For example, in spring, compared to winter, there is a rise in roadside assistance calls for running gear damage, including damage resulting from hitting a pothole. Within the first four months of the year, as compared to the respective period last year, BTA has witnessed a significant 64% rise in the number of indemnity claims for the damages resulting from hitting a pothole. This year 141 indemnity claims have been received so far with more than 38 thousand euros disbursed in insurance indemnities for pothole damage. The increase of claims for running gear damage in spring is due to a car being subjected to excessive loads in winter as the quality of roads is poor. As a result, the running gear worn out during winter collapses even after a limited impact. To avoid unexpected mechanical problems on the road, it is recommended to do maintenance of the vehicle after winter and check the running gear.

Summer’s favourite is filling up the fuel tank with diesel fuel instead of petrol fuel or vice versa. Since starting of the engine with the wrong type of fuel would damage the fuel system, a tow-truck is required to take the vehicle to the garage without starting the engine.

Last autumn, as opposed to other seasons, there was a 39% rise in calls for failed vehicle electronics. With increased humidity and freezing temperatures, the vehicle electronics manifest their glitches exactly in autumn. Humidity accelerates corrosion of electrical cable junctions, especially in vehicles that have not been used for some time.

Iveta Rijniece, BTA, Director of Insurance Claims Handling Department: Every year the changing weather conditions and seasons take some drivers by surprise. Fluctuating temperatures and road surface changes not only make it difficult to drive, but also bring along a variety of technical problems for the vehicle. Since potholes have become a chronic ailment of the roads in Latvia flaring up in spring, the drivers must choose adequate speed and driving manner. In spring, apart from checking on the mechanical condition of the vehicle, one should keep in mind that the bright sunlight of spring may blind the drivers requiring extra caution and sunglasses.

Here are some useful tips by BTA for those who are still to prepare their vehicles for spring/summer season:

  • Since potholes of all dimensions are frequent in spring, pay more attention to the running gear of the car by checking serviceability of the braking system, shock absorbers and tyres. The thread depth is particularly important – if it has worn out, the tyres must be changed! Uneven thread depth suggests that balancing of the wheels must be scheduled. Check the tyres for pressure adequate to the season (in spring and summer the pressure should be increased slightly as opposed to winter).
  • If your vehicle has been installed studded winter tyres, rush to change them as studded tyres are allowed from 1 October till 1 May in Latvia.
  • After winter check the fluids and oils of the vehicle – if needed, top up the engine oil, brake liquid and transmission oil.
  • Check the battery of the vehicle since temperature fluctuations may lower the battery charge level and power.
  • Clean the air filters of the vehicle because clogged up or damaged air filters increase fuel consumption.
  • Make sure the heating and cooling systems work adequately as the cooling system may require topping up freon.
  • Take care of visibility! Carefully clean the headlights and other light signals from mud, salts and dirt having accumulated over winter. Also clean the windscreen wiper blades and, if worn out, change them!

BTA provides the service of roadside assistance to its All-inclusive CASCO and All-inclusive MTPL insurance customers. The service operates 24/7 throughout Latvia; it consults on and provides all types of roadside assistance, including transportation of the damaged vehicle from the place of the accident by tow truck.

Information prepared by:
Agnese Grīnberga
Public Relations Manager
BTA Insurance Company SE
E-mail: agnese.grinberga@bta.lv
Phone: +371 67025661, mobile phone +371 27828796