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Thursday, February 3, 2011

AAA all the way

About a month ago, Fraser and I decided to go down to Colorado Springs for an overnight stay to celebrate out 7th anniversary. It was absolutely perfect...until we were about halfway home.

Our car stopped working on I-25. It completely died. No warning, nothing. Driving fine one second, completely dead the next. So, we had to pull over onto the shoulder to try and figure out what was wrong. We tried to start it...nada. After trying to get it so start a couple times, Fraser turned to me and said, "Well, honey, do you want to call AAA?" Oh yeah. I forgot. I have AAA. "Ok."

I never thought much about AAA before because I never knew anyone who had it. A couple years ago, we were going to drive down to TX to see my family one summer and my Scottish Mummy (Fraser's Mum) insisted on buying AAA for us. So, we let her. And the last couple years I've gone ahead and just done a straight renewal of the membership because I have decided that it is important for me to not get stranded by myself somewhere, especially with a young child in the car with me most of the time.

Until a month ago, the only thing I had ever used AAA for was a flat tire replacement. That alone was super handy as I have very little interest in doing that myself when it is 15 degrees outside.

So, back to the story. I called AAA and explained to them that we were on the side of the highway in a dead car. They got my information and put us in as a priority case (because we were on the side of the interstate). They told us it could be up to an hour and asked us to hang tight inside the vehicle. I was asked where I wanted the car towed and told them my preference was our mechanic's garage, but I wasn't sure how much that would cost. They asked me where it was and I explained that it was a few miles south of downtown Denver. They then told me that my membership was the "Plus" membership and I could get towed up to 100 miles free of charge! So, we told them to tow us to our mechanic.

The tow truck driver was at our car within 15 minutes and we were back on the road very quickly. He told us that the total amount for this tow out-of-pocket would have cost us $300. It cost us $0.

Fast forward a few days... We got a call from the mechanic and found out that the timing belt had snapped and that we needed a new motor because of it. Boo!! Well, they found us a used motor and after 10 days in the shop (bad weather slowed them down) Fraser picked the car up after work on a Monday and drove it home. No problem.

After dinner, we piled back into the car to go get Fraser's car that was left at the mechanic's. I drove. We did not get out of our complex before we noticed things didn't seem right. The clock died. Ok, that's weird. The lights on the dash were low. Huh, that's strange too. Then, a few miles down the road the car shows no rpm's and no speed (even though I was still driving). Incidentally, this is exactly what happened when the car died on the highway 10 days earlier. I told Fraser and he told me to pull of the road onto a side street. I didn't want to because I wasn't ready to admit defeat (that the car was broken again). But, I did. We pulled over, turned the car off, tried to turn it back on and nothing. Are you kidding me?!?! Ten days in the shop and this is the best we can get?? Oy!!

We called the mechanic and told them what happened and they said it could be the battery (something about it being out of the car for a long time and it could have been nearly dead already). So, Fraser called Rick to come and take him to a local shop to get the battery tested. In the meantime, we had called AAA again and I waited in the car (with Nathan) for them to get there.

They were there within 10 minutes and I told the driver what had happened. He asked me to pop the hood and he took a look. Well, wouldn't you know it, but the tow truck driver we had gotten had been a mechanic for 25 years before he began towing! He looked around and immediately found the problem. Our mechanic had forgotten to reattach the cable from the alternator to the battery. They also had not moved the fuel pump clamp back to where it should be. So, I asked the tow truck driver if he could fix it for me. He did!! And when Fraser got back with a new battery, he attached that for us and then canceled our service call (the new battery had "solved the problem"). God's hand was in that driver coming to us, for sure!!!

So, the car has worked like a champ since. And another good thing is that our mechanic is going to repay us for the battery (since it was their fault it died because they didn't attach it to the alternator). Yay!

So, the point of this long narrative is to tell you that I am completely sold on the value and validity of AAA. Especially for mothers who have young kids with them in the car most of the time. I hope you never have to use it, but I have kept it to give me peace of mind in case I am ever stranded in the car alone (or with my kid). It is totally worth that to me and I hope you will consider getting it for yourself (at least while you have younguns in the car!).

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I am married to an amazing man, who is also the love of my life. We have three kids who constantly keep me on my toes! God has richly blessed me and I am grateful for all He does for me.