AAA Good Experience

I was at my local home improvement store ready to load the truck up with a pile of lumber when I discovered two broken front struts. Struts are shock absorbers with giant springs around them. Although it seems I had been driving with them broken for a few days, one or both could have slipped going over a bump and gone through my tires or worse.

I have AAA with the extended coverage for about $71 a year. It is helpful to have extended coverage here because breaking down on the other side of the island means big issues if the vehicle has to be repaired far from home. It is very expensive to stay overnight away from home, there is a bus but many changes to get home and back and it can take all day each way.

So I called the number on the back of my card and got a recording that I can interact on my phone if I want. I got a text message and clicked on the link. It asked me my vehicle, it showed my current location on the map and asked me to verify that. It asked where I wanted to have the vehicle towed and I chose the location. The app said estimated time was 55 minutes. The driver arrived in 20 minutes and had my truck lifted in just a couple of minutes. He had all the info already and I didn’t need to show any paperwork, etc.

While waiting for the tow truck I located the parts I needed nearby and while he drove my truck way I picked up the parts. My Sister drove me (if you are wondering how I got there without going with the driver). We arrived as he was unloading the vehicle.

I was lucky that I had a guy who could put the struts on the truck. At this point It had taken about an hour and a half. He started working on it but because it was outside and raining he would finish it in the moring. At 6:30am I got a call that he was driving my truck to me.

The guy was probably going to do the work for free as he is doing other work on my farm, but I paid him cash for his trouble.

This could have been quite costly and a hassle but having the truck towed when and to where I did made all the difference. The AAA app was very easy to use also and the whole interaction was seamless.


When I had AAA, I used it several times and each time everyone was great. The last time was driving across the state for my daughter’s college graduation and the alternator in my Honda Odyssey decided it was done. Although the warning light was intermittently going on and off, I pressed on as I had no time to drive back home. It was December and we were driving over a mountain pass in a snow storm. My elderly parents were with me.

Once the alternator completely quit, it ran on the battery for a while, then interestingly enough the car started to shut things down in what I presume is an order to allow the car to run as long as possible. The heater fan stopped, the radio turned off, the dash information stopped (ie. no speedometer, odometer, and all that stuff). Then the headlights went off but that was a real drag as there were no street lamps on the highway and it was dark. The snow didn’t help things. I was getting pretty nervous, but I stayed with a couple of cars so I could see. I turned on the flashers and they worked at full brightness. We managed to make it to a chain up area that was about two miles long and lit up like the sun was out. The car ran for about another 5 minutes before it died. Called AAA and and the nearest tow truck was an hour away and he got there in about that time. He towed us to a friends house about 40 miles further down the highway. My friend loaned us his van and we continued on our way. After graduation, I fixed the van in my friends garage and drove home.

We were pretty lucky. Had the car died anywhere else along that that highway at night, in a snow storm, with large snow berms on the side of the highway and no place to pull over, I don’t know what could have happened. It was bad and I was nervous, but it all worked out.

I’ll take the alternator light more seriously next time. And thanks to AAA and the tow truck driver for saving us.