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How To Pick the Best Roadside Assistance Program

Posted by Mike Hornok
February 29, 2016 at 8:48 pm

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.

How to Pick the Best Roadside Assistance Program

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.

  • Make sure you understand the circumstances in which your program kicks in. There are plans that won’t offer services in bad weather. One may have a completely free service and another will want payment for any service on top of membership fees. Know what you want versus what they’re offering. And do not be afraid to walk away from the table. It’s your money, your decision and there are plenty of options.
  • When it is time to look into a program, find out if you already have options. Ford provides a range of roadside assistance services with new purchases, including filling an empty tank. American Express offers emergency services to all its cardholders. Contact your credit card company or cell phone provider. Talk with the manufacturer.
  • Decide what you need and be prepared to pay for it. If you want full roadside assistance, it’s going to cost more than a company offering partial services. Another company may offer a limited number of times they’ll come out before charging. One may not do lock-outs and another will charge extra for extraction from mud and snow. Keep it affordable, but be aware the more comprehensive the package, the more you’re going to pay for the best roadside assistance program.
  • Look for extras. Focus on what the service offers you as a driver, but there can be some nice incentives, like discounts on hotels.

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.

9 thoughts on “How To Pick the Best Roadside Assistance Program

  1. Lillian Moore

    I like the suggestion to make sure you understand the circumstances in which your program kicks in. This is a great way to be prepared in case of a vehicle emergency. When you know what type of damage can require a towing service then you can be adequately prepared when a problem happens. I like to check with my insurance provider to see if they have a specific coverage on towing services and accidents.

  2. emily bennette

    This is some really good information about roadside assistance. It does seem like it would be a good idea to look into the extras. It would be awful to be stranded in the middle of now where without any help. It might be smart to look into reviews of services you are thinking of.

  3. Jade Brunet

    We can never fully anticipate when an accident will happen in a car. Thank you for this information of how to pick the best roadside assistance program. I agree that it would be wise to look for extras when choosing a program. I think that another important factor would be to choose something within a specific price range.

  4. Kody Loveless

    Wow, I had no idea that my credit card could offer me emergency services. I will have to call them and see if they provide that to me. I have had some issue where I am broken down hours away from home. That is never any fun.

  5. Christina Black

    You gave very detailed information about road assistance. Many people have no idea about it. Like Kody said I also have no idea that credit card can provide road assistance service. I will contact my bank for this service let’s see they are offering this service or not.

  6. Sarah Smith

    I just got a car and now I need to find a towing service to have on hand. Keeping things affordable is the best advice, that and getting packages so that you can save money that way. I would also suggest getting a roadside service that accepts your insurance so that you can not spend as much money out of your pocket.

  7. Annika Larson

    I want to make sure I know what to do if my car were to ever break down on the side of the road. It’s important to choose a program that will be reliable in an emergency. As you said, looking to see what plans they offer and making sure you know what circumstances your program covers is essential. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Frank Delaware

    My wife always gets worried when she is driving, and we were curious about how you would choose a roadside assistance company. I really like that you say to look for a program that has plenty of different options. It would be nice to know that you will be able to choose the exact service that you want.

  9. Callum Palmer

    Not many people would think about it, but I really like the suggestion to look for other services the tow driver offers. For example, if the towing service will take your car to the auto shop for you then that can be very helpful. Of course, you should focus on making sure that the core service that the towing company offers meets all of your needs first.


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