Have you had any recent good or bad experiences of using car breakdown recovery services?

Have you had good experiences of using any of these car breakdown recovery services?

  • AA

    Votes: 8 66.7%
  • Green Flag

    Votes: 5 41.7%
  • RAC

    Votes: 1 8.3%
  • Car Insurance cover

    Votes: 1 8.3%

  • Total voters
    12
  • Poll closed .

MotCO

Established Member
Joined
25 Aug 2014
Messages
2,174
I have recently had a poor experience when needing assistance from a car breakdown recovery service - I won't name them at the moment but will do so later. My membership runs out shortly, and I am thinking of changing, but don't know if they are all the same. Have you had any recent experiences (good or bad) when using recovery services?
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Cowley

Established Member
Associate Staff
General Discussion
Railtours & Preservation
Modelling & Games
Joined
15 Apr 2016
Messages
10,905
Location
Devon
I have recently had a poor experience when needing assistance from a car breakdown recovery service - I won't name them at the moment but will do so later. My membership runs out shortly, and I am thinking of changing, but don't know if they are all the same. Have you had any recent experiences (good or bad) when using recovery services?

Well I will name and shame then. :)
I’ve had cover with all four named in the poll over the years.

The AA - probably the best overall but if you break down on a busy day they can still be slow to get to you due to overstretched resources. That’s understandable though and I found that they communicated quite well the times I used them.

Green Flag - I recently had to join them in an emergency when my old van broke down on the A30 in Devon. They were really good and only charged me £150 to load the van up and take it away to a garage. This was done within an hour!
I’ve used them at other times though and they’ve still not been too bad.

Cover via insurance - A mixed bag really but the worst experience was again with my old van when it took four hours for someone to come who couldn’t fix it and then they couldn’t find a recovery vehicle so in the end after six hours of waiting I got a bus home and dealt with it the next day, luckily I wasn’t far from home that day

The RAC - I’ve found them to be the worst of the lot for waiting times, lack of communication, price for the service offered and hidden costs.
I asked Mrs C to sort out cover for the new van and she just told me that we’re still with them! :s
That will be cancelled this week and swapped to the AA…

This reads like I break down constantly, but it’s just that we seemed to have a flurry of problems a couple of years ago. We don’t own those vehicles anymore though.
 

Dai Corner

Established Member
Joined
20 Jul 2015
Messages
3,430
I can't say I've had a bad experience after breaking down.

My main complaints are having to swap providers every year via a cashback site to get a reasonable premium and paying more over the years than if I'd done what Cowley did and join if I needed them.

I wonder if they prioritise existing members over people who do that?
 

skyhigh

Established Member
Joined
14 Sep 2014
Messages
1,380
The RAC - I’ve found them to be the worst of the lot for waiting times, lack of communication, price for the service offered and hidden costs.
I asked Mrs C to sort out cover for the new van and she just told me that we’re still with them! :s
That will be cancelled this week and swapped to the AA…
I had a very bad experience with the RAC - broke down approx. 250 miles from home at 9pm. Car had just had some work done at a garage near home and the failure was the new part, so it needed to go back for repair under warranty. Thankfully my policy included nationwide recovery so it was covered to be towed back. I phoned up just after 9pm, was told a van would be with me within an hour. Van eventually turned up about 11.30pm, quickly agreed it would have to go back to the garage and phoned to arrange recovery. Was told there was a van on the way and would arrive within 30 minutes. The recovery van actually arrived at 10am the next morning. Every time I phoned I was told 'it's on the way, it'll be within 30 minutes'. Eventually got to the garage about 2pm the day after I'd broken down. I could understand if it was a peak period and I was in the middle of nowhere, but this was mid-November in a town centre.

Emailed to complain about the extended wait and the complete lack of communication (wouldn't have been so bad if I knew when the van would actually arrive, rather than being told '30 minutes' every 30 minutes for hours) and was pretty much just told 'your policy entitles you to nationwide recovery, you were recovered to the garage of your choice so we did what you pay us to'.

I'm now with Green Flag but never needed to use them.
 

bramling

Veteran Member
Joined
5 Mar 2012
Messages
13,002
Location
Hertfordshire / Teesdale
I have recently had a poor experience when needing assistance from a car breakdown recovery service - I won't name them at the moment but will do so later. My membership runs out shortly, and I am thinking of changing, but don't know if they are all the same. Have you had any recent experiences (good or bad) when using recovery services?

Can’t really knock Green Flag. Been with them for many years, used them on a handful of occasions and they’ve always been fine.

On just one occasion when I had a car with the battery repeatedly draining they started to get a bit arsey after I think the third call-out. That issue was a total pain to sort as it took several attempts to trace the faulty piece of equipment which was intermittently not switching itself off. That’s the only occasion I’ve had issues with them - they still sent someone out, but weren’t overly happy about it.

My only other thing is their price does seem to inflate itself with auto-renew, but this is fairly standard business practice nowadays!
 

Factotum

Member
Joined
10 Jun 2021
Messages
100
Location
Stockport
I have recently had a poor experience when needing assistance from a car breakdown recovery service - I won't name them at the moment but will do so later. My membership runs out shortly, and I am thinking of changing, but don't know if they are all the same. Have you had any recent experiences (good or bad) when using recovery services?
I pay my recovery money to Toyota who outsource it to the AA.
Last week I had a puncture and couldn't find a jack in the car. The AA where there in fifteen minutes and sorted the job in another ten.
Couldn't ask for better.
 

gswindale

Member
Joined
1 Jun 2010
Messages
502
I go through Toyota as well. Needed it a few years back after a holiday and we then had a drive up to the NEC. The stop/start decided not to restart in the middle of the M4 j8/9. Rang them up & they couldn't find any trace of me despite the cover being included when I purchased the car 4 months earlier. Eventually they said somebody (not from the AA but a local firm) would be with us within an hour. About 15 minutes later a van from the RAC pulled up alongside us and the driver said " I'm here for you, well I'm not but I am", and fixed the issue and got us on our way free of charge and without any further issues.
 

Ostrich

Member
Joined
15 Jul 2010
Messages
155
I'm with the AA. Last callout was a couple of years ago at 9:30 pm to a local football club car-park due to a completely flat battery. They took 40 mins or so to arrive, and said they could charge it up and get me on the road or flog me a new battery, which he had in the van. I opted for the latter, paid around £80 for it which was reasonable, and the change-over was accomplished in 10 minutes or so, (not exactly helped by the football club who turned off the floodlights midway through the exercise! :lol: )

I've never had any complaints with the AA over their breakdown service, but having been with them for around 40 years, they are pretty expensive - that is the only thing that might eventually force me to change to another provider; the old "customer loyalty" problem. Still, they are there when you need them, that's what matters.
 

Dai Corner

Established Member
Joined
20 Jul 2015
Messages
3,430
I've never had any complaints with the AA over their breakdown service, but having been with them for around 40 years, they are pretty expensive - that is the only thing that might eventually force me to change to another provider; the old "customer loyalty" problem. Still, they are there when you need them, that's what matters.
They'll probably negotiate if you quite the prices other providers are offering new customers, and the cashback available through websites such as Quidco and TopCashback.
 

MotCO

Established Member
Joined
25 Aug 2014
Messages
2,174
As promised in my opening post, I will recount my experience of my current provider. I contacted the RAC at 17.00 on the recent Bank Holiday Friday, since I could not open my fuel filler cap to get some petrol. I was able to drive home and called the RAC. I got 30 minute texts saying they were busy, and eventually at 22.00 got a call saying that they were very busy, could they come the following day. At 6.30 the following day, they phoned to say there was a technician in the locality and I was the next call. By 08.00, there was still no tehnician, so I phoned again. They then discovered that the reg number they had was wrong, so I had to start all over again with a new call, and at least another 90 minute wait :frown:.

The only saving grace was that a technician phoned and was able to offer some advice over the phone which fortunately worked, but I was none too pleased by the service I received (or rather, didn't receive). My subscription expires in a week or so, and I intend dumping the RAC after 35 years for an alternative provider.
 

Cowley

Established Member
Associate Staff
General Discussion
Railtours & Preservation
Modelling & Games
Joined
15 Apr 2016
Messages
10,905
Location
Devon
As promised in my opening post, I will recount my experience of my current provider. I contacted the RAC at 17.00 on the recent Bank Holiday Friday, since I could not open my fuel filler cap to get some petrol. I was able to drive home and called the RAC. I got 30 minute texts saying they were busy, and eventually at 22.00 got a call saying that they were very busy, could they come the following day. At 6.30 the following day, they phoned to say there was a technician in the locality and I was the next call. By 08.00, there was still no tehnician, so I phoned again. They then discovered that the reg number they had was wrong, so I had to start all over again with a new call, and at least another 90 minute wait :frown:.

The only saving grace was that a technician phoned and was able to offer some advice over the phone which fortunately worked, but I was none too pleased by the service I received (or rather, didn't receive). My subscription expires in a week or so, and I intend dumping the RAC after 35 years for an alternative provider.

I knew it would be the RAC after reading your first post.
I read a lot of stuff online about them and this sort of thing seems to be a common theme with them unfortunately. I definitely wouldn’t recommend them for cover personally.
 

Mcr Warrior

Established Member
Joined
8 Jan 2009
Messages
4,146
I've never had any complaints with the AA over their breakdown service, but having been with them for around 40 years, they are pretty expensive - that is the only thing that might eventually force me to change to another provider; the old "customer loyalty" problem.
The old "this offer is not available to existing members or at renewal" issue. A right faff!

Why do so many firms (selling insurance type products) consider that ripping off existing customers at renewal is such a great idea?! :rolleyes:
 

seagull

Member
Joined
28 Feb 2011
Messages
278
Britannia Rescue (who I think now operate as part of LV insurance) I've always used and have been good on the three occasions needed (one with a trailer that suffered a blow-out).
 

37114

Member
Joined
4 Jul 2019
Messages
166
I am with the RAC but nearly left last renewal because of the quote for the cover was double compared to being a new customer. Eventually they matched it which I was pleased about as the were the only one of the big 3 to offer cover on a vehicle over 15 years old and my 2nd car is 43 year old Land Rover.
 

thejuggler

Member
Joined
8 Jan 2016
Messages
973
Last call I had was at least 12 years ago, it was an 18 month old Jaguar so to be expected!

It was the local dealership technician who turned up and as the car was driveable (failed EGR) he followed me to the dealer.

Last couple of times my car has developed an issue I've fixed it myself. Wierd electrical gremlin cured by disconnecting the battery for 10 minutes, it never happened again.

Whilst on holiday a few weeks ago I wanted to check the oil etc before a long drive home, bonnet lever worked, but the latch wouldn't release. Managed to lever it with a screwdriver and the release cable had become dislodged, the car had a new condenser a few weeks previously and I suspect it wasn't refitted properly.

I have reduced the chances of needing call outs by having Japanese cars for the last 7 years, but I do use Autoaid just in case.
 

Factotum

Member
Joined
10 Jun 2021
Messages
100
Location
Stockport
Last call I had was at least 12 years ago, it was an 18 month old Jaguar so to be expected!

It was the local dealership technician who turned up and as the car was driveable (failed EGR) he followed me to the dealer.

Last couple of times my car has developed an issue I've fixed it myself. Wierd electrical gremlin cured by disconnecting the battery for 10 minutes, it never happened again.

Whilst on holiday a few weeks ago I wanted to check the oil etc before a long drive home, bonnet lever worked, but the latch wouldn't release. Managed to lever it with a screwdriver and the release cable had become dislodged, the car had a new condenser a few weeks previously and I suspect it wasn't refitted properly.

I have reduced the chances of needing call outs by having Japanese cars for the last 7 years, but I do use Autoaid just in case.
I have just scrapped a Totota Yaris which I had had for 12 years without a single need for assistance on the road. That is probably why Toyota assistance is so cheap.
 

PaulC1309

Member
Joined
27 Nov 2019
Messages
24
Location
Glasgow
I had to call the RAC a few years ago after having a blowout on the M6 while on the way to Wales for a holiday with 2 young children in the car. Wheel was totally stuck solid to the hub. Prioritised call because of kids and they arrived in about 15 mins which was great as being on the hard shoulder was not fun! Only other time was a works van when the key jammed in the ignition. AA that time took about an hour, was 4.30 on a Friday afternoon so not to bad. Been driving for nearly 30 years and only 2 times ever needed to call for breakdown assistance.
 

ainsworth74

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
16 Nov 2009
Messages
23,623
Location
Redcar
I've had to call the RAC once when my front passenger side coil spring made a bid for freedom through the wheel arch leaving the car totally undrivable. Was approaching 11pm and had fully expected to be waiting for hours (solo male, parked up at a station car park) but they rocked up in about half and hour and towed me home. Mum put her car in the soft verge of a roundabout in one of the worst nights of the Beast from the East ("it was fine when I set off!") and couldn't get it out (rear tires on the tarmac, front tires, where the power is, in the mud). That took the RAC considerably longer to get to (she was close enough to walk home so did before ringing for help which will have clearly moved her down the priority stakes!) but they still appeared after a couple of hours (I feel like she rang at about 11pmish and they appeared around 1am) and pulled the car out of the mire.
 

Spamcan81

Member
Joined
12 Sep 2011
Messages
842
Location
Bedfordshire
Had a timing belt go on my Zafira few weeks ago. AA patrol attended in around 30 minutes and towed me the 10 miles home to save waiting for a rescue truck.
 

High Dyke

Established Member
Joined
1 Jan 2013
Messages
3,165
Location
Yellabelly Country
For many years I was with Autohome. They were cheaper than the mainstream companies, but couldn't fault the service.

I currently have AA cover through my bank. Used them a couple of times in the past 8 years. Again no issues with service, including attending to the wife's car when it had a problem.
 

Islineclear3_1

Established Member
Joined
24 Apr 2014
Messages
4,007
Location
PTSO or platform depending on the weather
I've only ever used the AA and they have always been reasonably prompt and helpful.

My only gripe with them was the high cost - however when my renewal quote comes around, I tell them I am leaving and as if by magic, the cost comes down - works every time :D
 

EC Traveller

New Member
Joined
28 May 2019
Messages
4
Location
Mainly up and down
Recently I've (personally) heard of a few cases where the RAC have been particularly slow at getting to the stranded vehicles - leading to an overall unsatisfactory event (all recovered in the end but many, many hours later).

Oddly enough, these are the only breakdowns known to me so I can only think the RAC have had a successful customer recruitment campaign but not enough 'breakdown bods'.

Nothing recent from myself; my last was Brittainia (happy with) but I've recently switched to autoaid (untested).
 

karlos

Member
Joined
29 Sep 2018
Messages
7
I've never had breakdown cover in 28 years of driving. On the two occasions I have broken down, I called a local recovery service and paid cash for them to take me home or to a garage. Total cost so far: £110.
 

Top