Roadside Assistance

When I was growing up, AAA was the only roadside assistance I ever heard of. Now in 2010, there seems to be hundreds of companies touting their roadside assistance packages. Car dealers try to up sell you on theirs and then you find you get charged fees for everything you do. That is about as effective as most people’s health insurance right now – not good.

I recommend sticking with the old school AAA, but if you must venture out, try to stick with some kind of brand name that has a good reputation for service and integrity, rather than some kind of fly by night front operation that is here today and will have flown the coop by the time you actually need them. Ideally you want to already have decided on which company you are going to align with for your roadside assistance needs before you go car shopping. That way, it’s one less thing for them to be able to up or side sell you on as they try to dig their claws into you and suck you dry for all you are worth so they can make their monthly bonus. That way also you aren’t going to just sign on with some third party company they have a side deal with who has no track record of anything other than taking people’s money.

AAA is the gold standard because they are the best. They always came for me when I needed them. The tow truck system seems a bit fishy at best with all roadside assistance situations. It seems like it takes far too long to get a tow truck out to a job site – that is money the tow truck companies are losing every minute of every day really. They need to run their operations better, maybe increase their equipment and clean up. If one towing company did that and guaranteed tows in an hour, they would corner the market and it would make brilliant financial sense all the way around. Not to mention being better for the customers as well. The industry has lagged for years operationally and systematically and sooner or later one bold company is going to step up and get their operations tightened up in this manner and leave all the other laggards in their dust.

Mike Machina has written for 944 Magazine/944.com, Comcast, The Onion and Westword and has been a car enthusiast since he was first able to get behind the wheel of a truck on his friend’s farm in elementary school. He specializes in blogging about classic cars, everyday driving tips, maintenance, insurance and car humor.

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