AAA isn’t the only show in town these days. Thanks to a competitive market and a determination to draw in consumers, everyone and his mother is offering roadside assistance programs, including dealerships, cell phone providers, auto clubs and credit card companies. This is actually great news. Nothing ruins your day more than being stuck on the side of the road with a flat, a stalled engine or being in the middle of nowhere with an empty tank.
Now, the Motor Bookstore is about empowerment for car owners. Our library is filled with manuals about how to save money and getting yourself out of vehicular jams. But even we’d admit our best Haynes manual can’t help in every situation. That’s why everyone should look for the best roadside assistance program.
But, considering the market, which one? Your dealer or triple-A? The one that costs less but has the tendency of leaving you waiting for hours in a pouring rain? The affordable program that discounts services, i.e., your tow is only going to cost half the normal price? The full service program that may require financing but will bring coffee and donuts?
Always remember, the plan offered is going to be the best roadside assistance program. It’s the salesman’s job to convince you of that. But here are a few things to keep in mind when negotiating the murky waters.
The web is, of course, information central. Find out what the Better Business Bureau is saying about a service, go to the forums (be fair, look at reviews and complaints; remember, people are more than happy to vent while the satisfied are more likely to stay mum) and talk with authorities like the guy you trust to work on your car.