Tuesday, May 24, 2016

AAA membership review

DH and I agree to disagree on the merits of an AAA membership.   His argument, I haven't used it (until this weekend) since 2006.  I say, the $100 I spend a year to have a card in our daughters name and one in mine is well worth it.

He was raised with the don't fix it til it's broke, where I was raised in preventing breakage.

So, we used our AAA membership not once but twice in the last three days. We had lent our DD our beater car (25 year old Mercury Mystique we bought from original owner with only 35k miles on it for 2400 cash), so that we could take care of some body work for her. She had been distracted when pulling into a parking spot, and had crashed into the posts that were in front of the parking spot to prevent people from crashing through the front of the store LOL.  

She had taken her car to a local dealer in Rhode Island to find out the cost of the repairs would be over $3000. We have friends in the car business here in Connecticut, so we bought the parts wholesale and brought them to another friend who owned garage. For the parts and the labor we spent $670 cash out-of-pocket. A true savings.  She has reimbursed us this money already.

She used our car for a week. We drove her car from our home to the garage and then back out to her. On the day we were meeting she texted us to say there was something wrong with our car that it kept overheating and the oil light was flashing. When we got to where she was parked, we found the coolant reservoir empty. We drove to an auto parts store, and purchased two containers of 50/50 coolant.

The car started fine but we knew quite soon,  within two minutes actually something was very wrong. It immediately shot up to hot.  Turning on the fan and heater did not produce any hot air. Definitely the thermostat if not something much worse.

After DH grumbled and shouted A bit with his head under the hood, I mentioned calling AAA. That said himoff again LOL.   I told you to get rid of that membership to waste of money. He finally relented and told me to call AAA. Granted it took them two hours to get to us. We were in the beach parking lot with no lights and there was some confusion as to what the crossroads were of the parking lot.

The driver was very cordial and actually quite entertaining the original plan was for us to have the car towed all the way to work garage in Wallingford Connecticut. But now because of the hour we knew we couldn't wake anyone up to meet us there so we asked him to just bring the car to our home.  It was a 72 mile drive. It would've cost almost $500 cash if I didn't have a AAA membership. It cost us nothing.

On Monday we talked to our mechanic, and again called AAA. Again the time frame of arrival was not correct. Both times we were told 40 to 50 minutes, yet the driver showed up two hours after we had called. This doesn't disturb me because both times I was with someone I felt safe with or in my own home. I do find it disconcerting that if my daughter was ever in trouble , she might be alone for such a long time in a disabled vehicle.  To make a long story short, the mechanic seems to feel it was the water pump and the thermostat. A $400 job. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the head gasket was not damaged. Upon first examination he feels it's OK but won't know for sure until the broken parts have been replaced.

With the DH out of work this expense truly is not at an opportune time. However, AAA saved us a lot of money.

Final cost, $487.00 cash.  Water pump, thermostat and serpentine belt all replaced.    

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