One of the most unpleasant experiences one can go through is having to be stranded in the middle of the road due to your car breaking down. It can be incredibly stressful and scary to not know what to do or when the help is going to arrive. It can get even worse if you’re unfamiliar with the place you got stuck. Definitely, something you wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
Fortunately, roadside assistance companies exist and are the best way to get off this situation more quickly and easily than you think. With only making a call to your closest service-provider, you and your car will be safe and sound in no time. But how do they work, and how their aid can make the management of the situation more smooth to carry out? Here we made a compact guide for you to know all these details and more!
What is a roadside assistance company and how it works
Roadside assistance or breakdown cover is a set of services offered by some companies intending to rescue untoward drivers when a disablement or accident has occurred. Most often, these businesses partner with insurance companies, who assure their customers with access to this service in case of an emergency.
The way to get in touch with a roadside assistance company when needing their help, it’s by making a quick call to their customer service number. Firstly, they’ll make sure you’re doing good, and then you’ll be asked to describe the issue as precisely as possible. If the problem gets identified and can be solved via phone, they’ll guide you through the process until everything is settled, but if the situation is more acute, they’ll dispatch a roadside provider able to tow your vehicle to the nearest motor mechanic.
How can they help
Whether you contact them by yourself or by the policies of your auto insurance company, roadside assistance companies will provide a list of things that can get a car back in the road in no time. This goes from minor mechanical repairs to an empty tank, following are some of the basics about the general listed services you can get:
Sometimes the problem can be worse than you think, ruling out the possibility to make your car drivable or safe to drive. This is when the towing service comes in handy, taking your vehicle to the closest workshop possible within their limits.
The most frequent reason for getting stranded in the middle of the road is flat tires. It can happen to anybody! – When this occurs, the solution it’s pretty straightforward. An expert will arrive and change the flatted tire with the spare one that comes with the car. Keep in mind that this service won’t cover any two or three-wheeled vehicles.
Another annoying way to require such services is when one gets lockout of the car by letting the keys inside or losing them. A service-provider professional will try to open the door with a pump wedge or with an elongated tool that would help reach the keys. In the case of being not possible, a locksmith service would be required.
Unless you own one of those hybrid vehicles, which unusually require manual electric stimuli, perhaps your car can be rapidly revived by jump-starting the battery. In this instance, the sent provider can perform the procedure generally with the aid of jumper cables or by suddenly releasing the clutch.
Did you get out of fuel, or you don’t have enough to get you to the nearest gas station? Don’t worry, they can even assist when you run out of gas by bringing the right quantity to supply your tank, so your journey can carry on trouble-free.
But, what can you do on your own
Let’s be honest, there’s not much you can do once a major mechanical issue is happening with your car, especially when you’re in the middle of nowhere. In this context, asking for professional assistance should be your number one concern for both keeping your safe and not messing things up. Remember, it’s a car and not a toy. However, there are still some products that can be incredibly helpful at pulling you out of a cumbersome situation, as the ones we previously mentioned.
One of our main recommendations is to buy and always keep an emergency roadside toolkit in the trunk of your car. These multi-purpose kits are composed of all the essentials you can ask for when it comes to roadside assistance. As a general rule, it comes with a pair of jumper cables, as well as tire-repair tools, gloves, screwdrivers, and many other things required when the moment to help your four-wheeled friend arrives.
Another handy product you’d add to your road emergency checklist is a gas gallon can, capable of carrying a sufficient amount of combustible to get your motor back to normal. Just make sure to follow the safety measures to the letter when traveling with it, since its mishandling can carry to unfortunate outcomes.
Lastly, we included a portable air compressor for your tires. Compact machines that manage to function when connecting them directly to the battery with the help of alligator clamps and that through a LED light, smartly indicates when your tires are ready to continue.
What about a professional
The smartest decision one can make when stranded is giving an expert a quick call and letting them decide what’s the best way to put your vehicle up and running again. Remember that, while as of today, the majority of car-manufacturers include at least a 2-year free roadside assistance, having a professional’s number is a must.
Let’s talk a bit more about how some roadside assistance services work. Most commonly, such services will be included within your car insurance policy, making easier the communication in case of an accident. You can also be part of an annual membership directly with the company, which means that by a small fee each year, you’ll be included as a priority customer. And finally, stand-alone services, which tend to be a bit more pricey, but that works as responsible and professionally as the other options.
How much would it cost
As we detailed a bit, in the section above, the way a company that provides roadside assistance works can make a considerable impact when talking about their prices but don’t get stressed out, they can be narrowed down to approximate costs. It’s important to emphasize that these prices are bound to the type of service you are expecting to receive, and if you’re or not part of an assistance group.
Getting tow around has an average cost of between $35 to $130 for five-mile transportation. Those who required to be towed even farther would need to disburse an approximate of $275-$600 for 100 miles or more. Whereas membership members can spend from $36 to $100 annually, this depends on the level of the membership, the number of miles, and the services both the client and the provider agreed.
On the other hand, if your insurance carrier, fortunately, includes roadside assistance within their politics, it will offer a limit of coverage that ranges between $50 to $150. In other words, $2-$5 a month or $15-$60 yearly.
What you should be asking your professional
Before heading to use the help of a roadside assistance provider, there are certain things you’d have in mind that would make you feel like you’ve taken the best decision. Some examples are the importance of knowing what situations are they capable of handling, just as how their charging system works and how you are able to pay them back.
What about added services? Some roadside businesses are not only able to help you in the middle of a crisis, but can also offer you various associated services that can include even a hotel stay if your car needs time to be repaired.
Don’t get the situation to get into your head and take a deep breath. We certainly know that having a roadside emergency can be a strenuous and tiring moment, but having time to know the answers to these questions can make the difference between enjoying a satisfying outcome or worsening everything.
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How to prevent a roadside emergency
The nature of a roadside emergency is that it can happen unexpectedly, it doesn’t matter how new, old, big, or small your vehicle is. Nevertheless, there are certain actions you can do to prevent these situations from happening.
Give you tires a visual inspection each time you intend to drive, this will let you know if your tread is wearing out or if it has weak spots or cracks. You should also check that your spare tire is in good shape or if it has the required air pressure or defects. Keeping your battery safe can save a huge headache as well, everything that gets connected to your car’s system can have a direct impact on it.
Foresee when you can get out of gas, so you are able to have stops at the gas stations and fuel regularly and as early as possible. Little by little all these actions would be part of your routine before driving, decreasing your risk to suffer an accident, but in case it happens anyway, remember you can call an assistance company and everything would be fine.
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