ORLANDO, Florida — A startling new study from AAA finds that advanced vehicle designs and features may mean more roadside trouble.
"Owners of new vehicles may be unaware that some new vehicle designs and features may leave them vulnerable at the roadside," said the study, which was released on Wednesday.
AAA said it rescued a record-breaking 32 million drivers in 2015, with more battery, flat tire and key problems than ever before.
"Vehicles fewer than five years old in particular experienced a higher proportion of tire and key-related issues than older vehicles, suggesting that the trend toward eliminating the spare tire and moving to electronic keyless ignitions may have unintended consequences," AAA said in a statement.
The study found that sleek, low-profile tires ? a design signature in many high-end cars ? are "highly susceptible to damage." Many cars no longer come with spare tires and tire-inflator kits only fix some situations.
New keyless ignition systems may pose problems, especially when the keys are stored too close to the vehicle, draining the battery.
In addition, "due in part to complex, electronic vehicle designs, one-in-five service calls for a newer vehicle required a tow to a repair facility," AAA researchers said.
AAA is advising car shoppers to check that the vehicle has a spare tire or consider adding one as an option.
Special care should be taken of "smart keys" and keyless entry fobs.
"Always take keys when exiting the car, avoid exposing keyless-entry remote or smart keys to water and always replace the key or fob battery when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer," the study said.
Edmunds says: Car shoppers get an important new checklist to consider from the experts at AAA.