The RAC scored particularly well on performance of the operator/ dispatcher (friendliness, reassurance and time taken to answer the phone) and mechanic/vehicle driver (eg, appearance, courtesy and ability to do what was needed).
However, the AA continued to lead on timing (the time taken for help to arrive and time to carry out roadside repair or recovery work.
Mondial made the biggest improvement in customer satisfaction and was ranked third overall in the seventh JD Power report but, along with Green Flag and Mercedes, was below the industry average performance level.
As in previous years, satisfaction ratings were higher when a motorist was assisted by a mechanic perceived to work for the roadside assistance organisation, rather than a subcontractor.
Engine problems were the most common cause of callouts (at 30%), followed by flat tyres (19%) and other mechanical problems (17%). Only 2% of callouts were the result of an accident, while a further 2% were due to the caller being locked out or having alarm problems.
The survey was based on responses from randomly-selected owners of ‘51’ and ‘02’ registered vehicles. Among the 24,000 owners who took part, 15% required some form of roadside assistance in the first two years of ownership, up from 12% in 2003, with increased reports of flat tyres and engine problems.