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Car died driving back from skiing

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

My car died I had to have it towed off of the NYS Thruway by the authorized tow truck operator, on Friday.

 

I called the shop they towed it to on Monday, and got a rude brush-off from the guy who answered the phone.

 

It's now 11 AM Tuesday and I haven't gotten a call from them. I'm wondering if they plan on keeping it for weeks, charging me for storage, then demanding $1000 for a simple repair.

 

I'm also wondering if my skis, boots, etc have been stolen from the car. I had to leave that stuff there and take a Trailways bus home from New Paltz NY. On Friday night.

 

Anyone have any similar experiences in the past?

post #2 of 19

Sorry to hear of your troubles. I know if it was my car full of my gear, I'd be ringing their phone off the hook until someone gave me a straight answer. Yes your car is broken down, but you're the customer in this case, giving that business money. You deserve to be kept in the loop.

post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlogiston View Post

My car died I had to have it towed off of the NYS Thruway by the authorized tow truck operator, on Friday.

 

I called the shop they towed it to on Monday, and got a rude brush-off from the guy who answered the phone.

 

It's now 11 AM Tuesday and I haven't gotten a call from them. I'm wondering if they plan on keeping it for weeks, charging me for storage, then demanding $1000 for a simple repair.

 

I'm also wondering if my skis, boots, etc have been stolen from the car. I had to leave that stuff there and take a Trailways bus home from New Paltz NY. On Friday night.

 

Anyone have any similar experiences in the past?


heck yes I have and probably tons of people. tow companies are crooks. they got hold of my car once and it was $800 before I could get it back. watch out!

post #4 of 19

May I suggest an immediate visit to the repair shop to confront them and recover whatever gear still remains? Bring a beefy friend or 3.

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

The towing was covered by AAA.

 

I called AAA and they connected me through to the towing company.

 

The guy I spoke with was different one, older and fairly friendly.

 

He may have been the owner, and made a point of taking the call  from AAA. 

 

I'll keep everyone informed.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Lutes View Post

May I suggest an immediate visit to the repair shop to confront them and recover whatever gear still remains? Bring a beefy friend or 3.


The repair shop is about 90 miles from where I live; the car died shortly after I got on the interstate, about 30 miles from the ski area, after skiing all day.

post #7 of 19

I've had AAA for emergency road service for decades, and recently upgraded to Premiere, as it provides a 200 mile towing range. That gets from Tahoe to San Francisco, and I guess it depends on the driver, but I've caught a ride in the tow truck before. ( Not sure about adding two or three dogs in, though. ;-)

 

Here's the deal in CA/NV...

 

  http://go.aaa.com/membership/products

 

Sorry to hear about your experience - extra bummer after a long day of skiing. I would keep working the AAA angle, and try to get them to bring some pressure on the shop.

 

Hope it works out for you.


Edited by jc-ski - 1/29/13 at 10:13am
post #8 of 19

I once was with a friend in New York and had a fender bender on the LIE Service Road at 3 am one night.  We called AAA and the tow truck that came was an independent.  They took my friends car and kept it for quite some time while squabbling about who would do the body work etc.  He later found out that they were using the car for salvage parts on repairs for other vehicles at that same service station while it was there.eek.gif

post #9 of 19
Quote:
I've had AAA for emergency road service for decades, and recently upgraded to Premiere, as it provides a 200 mile towing range. That gets from Tahoe to San Francisco, and I guess it depends on the driver, but I've caught a ride in the tow truck before.

 

Was really happy to have this when I hit a patch of ice on the highway near Waterville Valley (NH) and totaled my old Camry.  (I didn't hit that hard, but I slid into the guardrail sideways and really messed up the rear axle and frame.)  The driver did let me ride in the cab, FWIW.

 

Definitely worth considering if you have AAA and drive up into the mountains on a regular basis.  Long-distance tows are VERY expensive.

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post

 

Definitely worth considering if you have AAA and drive up into the mountains on a regular basis.  Long-distance tows are VERY expensive.

 

Thanks for reminding me of that. I'll upgrade my AAA membership now that my car is also out of warranty...
 

post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

I once was with a friend in New York and had a fender bender on the LIE Service Road at 3 am one night.  We called AAA and the tow truck that came was an independent.  They took my friends car and kept it for quite some time while squabbling about who would do the body work etc.  He later found out that they were using the car for salvage parts on repairs for other vehicles at that same service station while it was there.eek.gif

I'm sure the OP will sleep better knowing that fact.rolleyes.gif

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 

The first guy I spoke with, before 9 AM on Monday morning,  did nothing. Didn't even look at the car. Bad attitude too.

 

I called AAA to complain, and they patched me through to the shop, and I spoke to someone different, possibly the owner.

 

He said he'd get right on it, and he did.

 

Assuming that what he told me is true, that the distributor (which contains solid state components to generate the spark) is bad, the work is worth it.

 

If this had happened in NYC it would have cost me nothing to have the car towed home. Then figure it out, then pay $300+tax for a new distributor, then install it.

 

The fact that the whole job, including the initial diagnostic will cost me $550 is not that bad.

 

It's basically a $200 premium for dying on the highway 90+ miles from home

during one of the coldest days of the year

in the dark

when I'm tired from skiing....

and basically not having to do anything myself, with my own hands.

 

Of course if it's not the distributor, but just a fuse, I'm getting robbed. But I'll never know, will I? I'll see if it has a new distributor, but I won't know if it needed one.

 

I paid $1600 for the car in 2007, and have never had it towed until now. Replaced a battery, CV joint, one fuel injector, etc. but no real problems until now.

 

I'm picking up the car early in the morning and going skiing the same day. The shop is less than 50 miles from Hunter Mtn.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

I once was with a friend in New York and had a fender bender on the LIE Service Road at 3 am one night.  We called AAA and the tow truck that came was an independent.  They took my friends car and kept it for quite some time while squabbling about who would do the body work etc.  He later found out that they were using the car for salvage parts on repairs for other vehicles at that same service station while it was there.eek.gif

In New York City there are pirate tow truck operators who listen to the radio calls for AAA towing jobs and hijack them.

 

AAA tells you, on the phone, the name of the towing company, and tells you not to let anyone else tow the car, to prevent this.

 

I learned about this a few years ago when one of the brake lines failed on my 1985 Cutlass, in Manhattan, and I almost mowed down a line of pedestrians at a red light. That car was a rusty classic.

 

Someone who was not from AAA showed up and wanted to tow the car to his garage.

I had already told AAA, on the phone, that the car was going to my home in Queens, where I would fix it myself.

A length of brake line and two compression fittings, $30, and I was driving that baby again. That big rusty baby. That 'Baby Huey of a car'.

The car that put the 'Old' in Oldsmobile.

post #14 of 19

I haven't renewed my AAA in over 5 years, probably closer to 10.  My vehicle full coverage insurance has 24 hour roadside assistance.. and they have a strong, vested interest in no further harm coming to my vehicles while being towed or repaired.  They do everything AAA does and more and it is already included in the cost of the insurance. 

 

The funny thing is, I STILL get "welcome back" packages from AAA every single month like clockwork including new cards... keep the coverage this month and pay the special low rate to continue it next month.. So, I guess I still have AAA for free too!

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

I haven't renewed my AAA in over 5 years, probably closer to 10.  My vehicle full coverage insurance has 24 hour roadside assistance.. and they have a strong, vested interest in no further harm coming to my vehicles while being towed or repaired.  They do everything AAA does and more and it is already included in the cost of the insurance. 

 

The funny thing is, I STILL get "welcome back" packages from AAA every single month like clockwork including new cards... keep the coverage this month and pay the special low rate to continue it next month.. So, I guess I still have AAA for free too!

 

I had roadside assistance through my insurance and when I locked my keys in the car I regretted not having AAA.  I called my insurance company and they couldn't find a tow truck company who would come get my car (after spending close to an hour on the phone), eventually they told me to call CHP or the fire department and have them smash the window in.   The local calfire station was happy, I guess none of them had smashed a car window with a fire axe recently :)

 

At least the insurance company paid for the broken window without charging me a deductible. 

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlogiston View Post

 

I paid $1600 for the car in 2007, and have never had it towed until now. Replaced a battery, CV joint, one fuel injector, etc. but no real problems until now.

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsbJA9RM4Cc

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

The funny thing is, I STILL get "welcome back" packages from AAA every single month like clockwork including new cards... keep the coverage this month and pay the special low rate to continue it next month.. So, I guess I still have AAA for free too!

They kept bugging me for a few years after I stopped renewing. What I don't like about them is the premium keep going up while they keep adding completely useless services. I just want a tow when needed and that's all, not which restaurant to go to or which home window replacement company to go with.
post #18 of 19

I have nothing but confidence that my auto insurance would either take care of everything or fully reimburse my out of pocket expenses within reason should I be able to secure services quicker than they can.  The agent is a really good friend of the family.

 

Many cell phone plans also offer roadside assistance.  I believe Verizon costs $3.00 per month.  However, you must sign up 48 hours before first using it for obvious reasons.  It wouldn't surprise my if the wife also signed up for their version too.  I guess I should check and see sometime.

post #19 of 19

I have the long distance CAA (Canuck AAA).  Works great.  The great thing is it's all paid for up front, you don't have to front the money and wait to get reimbursed.

 

How many miles on the car.  I'm pretty sure my old wagon died due to faulty distributor too.  Mechanic told me I needed a new engine.  I always felt the car needed more torque, so was set to put in a bigger engine, but the mechanic was a little too greedy (wanted 3K to install a 350 cid from the recycler)  I could pick up the engine from the recycler for 600, but had no where and no time to do the work.  Car has been scrapped.  Probably a good thing, as it had a few other repairs that would have had to have been redone pretty soon, not to mention new problems on the horizon.

 

Once a car gets to a certain point, it's just not economical to keep it as a daily driver.  It's worth keeping it if it's a black '57 Chevy Impala and you can afford it, but for an ordinary car...not so much.

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