Having a contract with a breakdown recovery service is one of the best decisions you can take as a vehicle owner.
Nothing can puncture your travel plans as much as a breakdown in the middle of nowhere. Modern vehicles are complicated with dozens of sensors and a fair-sized computer running the show. Everything from brake fluid levels to spark plugs is controlled by a complex web of gadgetry.
Unlike your father’s trusty Austin, you can no longer fix it using a spanner and flathead.
The only choice you have after your car stalls is to call roadside assistance service. It is best to have a fixed contract with one and allow them to haul your vehicle to a garage.
Why is breakdown recovery crucial?
You are driving down country roads and suddenly with a splutter the engine dies on you. What can you do? Precisely nothing. It is possible to change a flat but not much more. You would be surprised to learn that most drivers are not even equipped to change tires on their own (that is partly because tubeless tires are better at preventing flats).
From dead batteries to broken axle roadside assistance providers rescue thousands of vehicles in the UK every month.
Most importantly, you can also get fuel delivered to your location, and if needed, a tow truck sent out to carry you and your vehicle to the nearest town.
What matters when choosing breakdown recovery service
In the past, most towing services were provided by the regional AA. Now the domain has players from insurers, standalone breakdown recovery companies and even car manufacturers themselves offer 1-2 years of free towing.
How to choose one, and what are the right questions to ask? There are a plethora of service providers with numerous schemes. What is needed and which criteria are unnecessary. This article examines the issue thoroughly.
1. What is their area of coverage?
The United Kingdom sprawls across almost 94,000 square miles. Will you be assisted in every county and region of this vast island? Does the assistance extend to Ireland (north and south)?
This is indeed, the most important criteria. Not only must you ask for the area of operation but want to know the centres from where they send out their towing trucks.
It would be a real damper if you asked for help from Scotland or wales only to learn that they do not offer services there. There would be no alternative to knocking on doors of strangers and asking for directions to the nearest town.
2. Do they employ accredited technicians?
Modern vehicles are quite complicated machines. A grease monkey cannot set right the problem. The service personnel need to be well trained and have a fair understanding of the working of the most popular models on the roads.
It used to be easy to tune an engine. No longer can it be done with just a few years of practice. Mechanics need a diploma in repairing automotive engines to be of help.
Similarly, problems with ignition and brake failure need to be appropriately addressed, or more damage can be done to your vehicle.
Be frank and ask about the qualification of the mechanics who work. In the long run, it will save you from harassment should your vehicle be damaged.
3. Method of contact
Ideally, the service should have a toll free number that can be accessed from landlines as well as cell phones.
A toll free number allows you to call without any worry of incurring long distance charges.
It is even better if the service has an app. The app helps by pointing out your location by using phone GPS.
4. Hours of service
Roadside assistance is the same as a hospital. Instead of treating human beings, they treat cars. Naturally, it is expected that they should be able to provide you 24×7 coverage anywhere across the UK.
There is no way to know if the calamity would occur in fair weather or foul. That is why there needs to be reasonable reassurance that you would receive assistance promptly in all climatic conditions. Of course, floods and snow are an exception, but apart from such extreme situations, the coverage should extend support to you when necessary.
5. Number of services
A breakdown recovery plan is usually annual. But that does not mean you would be able to access the service as many times as you want.
Most service providers allow at most 2-3 cases every year. Of course, one has to understand that they run a business and need to make a profit.
However, what they should provide is an extra number of assistances at a slightly reduced rate than market cost. That way if you need more assistance than usual, they would not have to make a loss and nor do you have to suffer being stranded.
6. Age of vehicle
An older vehicle is likely to break down more often. That is why most service companies hesitate to provide a new contract for an old car. It is almost similar to medical insurance in this respect. Of course, running plans from the time the vehicle was purchased can be renewed until ten years in most cases.
But many breakdown recovery services provide assistance plans to older vehicles at more cost. You would have to shop around and find which one is the most affordable for you.
7. Hotel stay
Few roadside assistance providers arrange for overnight hotel stay if the repairs take time. Otherwise, they at least have tie-ups with local motels and can offer a discount.
This is, however, by no means a standard industry practice. It entirely depends on the policy that you purchase.
8. Vehicle fitness
Few of the breakdown service providers make an annual inspection of vehicles to find if you are maintaining it properly.
Some service providers insist that you service your car at regular intervals. This is, however, not necessarily a bad thing. Though expensive, your car would always be in superb condition.
Last words …
Buying a breakdown recovery service plan is crucial to your peace of mind. White Recovery provides excellent car breakdown recovery service in London and throughout the UK all day and every day. Filip Mijatov, popular British businessman is the founder of White Recovery.
They provide repair and towing for not only cars but also buses, coaches and motorcycles.
Breakdown recovery services might seem like an additional expenditure, but you would thank yourself later for the foresight to buy their plan.