Car recovery experiences

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Spectric

Established Member
Joined
19 Feb 2015
Messages
3,836
Reaction score
2,021
Location
North Cumbria
I reckon many of us are in the AA or RAC but what are your experiences and do they fix most cars at the roadside?

Well I had to call out the RAC, first time in 23 years because I have a French car, don't ask me why but it won't happen again even though once upon a time I had many french motors that sailed past 200K and some even past 300K but that was when they built decent diesel engines like the old 2.1. Even my old Rover 400/45's always got me home but it seems these days are past as we hand over control to electronics and this has made the recovery firms very happy because of the volume of work. Well rang the RAC at six in the evening and they came out 40 minutes later, he was not surprised by the problem and went through wiggling the wiring to see if there was any loose connections but to no avail and accepted my diagnosis of gremlins in the BCM. So we limped the vehicle to a service station with him as an escort and this was 7.30 Pm. Two hours later a recovery vehicle turns up but not for us, he was dropping of another french motor that had terminal electrical failure that had occured in the fast lane of a busy road and these people were not being collected and taken back to Scotland until 4am. We waited until 11:00pm and phoned the recovery firm who was supposed to be coming out but the RAC had pulled the job. Phoned the RAC and they said it was with the despatch team who were going to get someone out. At 00.12 a recovery vehicle turns up, same firm who had dropped of the other vehicle. This guy said he was only taking us 60 miles because that is how many firms work, doing this means you do not require a tacho. When asked why the other vehicle from the same firm had not done this recovery and had sent him out instead he said this is just the way it works, it could easily have been the other driver who had come back instead of him but it can be very chaotic. So we end up 60 miles down the road with 50 to do and left in a business park. An hour and a half later another recovery driver turns up but not from a company anywhere near our destination, he was from Scotland and hence the delay, I asked why he had ended up being called out and not a company nearer to our destination which would have been more sensable, certainly less miles. He said that if there had been any thought put into our recovery then he would have collected us because he was not that far from our original location and given us a hire car so we could get home and then dropped off our car the next day saving many hours of hanging around but that is not how the system works, the despatch team are based in the midlands and just phone from a list without thinking about locations.

The common theme from the breakdown guy and both recovery drivers was that electrical failure is extremely high and that a lot of there work is not old cars and bangers but cars of five years old and less. When asked about EV's the big issue here is weight, many recovery firms use equipment for cars that are not as heavy as EV's and plus there are safety issues with them so if we all had EV's then there are not enough recovery firms with suitable vehicles at present, many have maybe a vehicle that can recover but not the rest of there fleet.

So who else has any experiences with cars leaving them stranded?
 

Jameshow

Established Member
Joined
4 Oct 2020
Messages
2,844
Reaction score
1,595
Location
Bradford
Yeap sounds about right broke down in my van on A1 rac came and diagnosed engine us. 6 hour wait for recovery (to yard) and the recovered home 2 days later.

We got a hire car!🙂

I don't think they have enough recovery capacity tbh. Hence the contracting out which is patchy.

Defo not buy french again (Renault master)
Either VW or Korean ..

Two my men's shed chaps went to same car superstore in same week and brought same model Kia - Tuscan!! Chances of that!!
 

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,396
Reaction score
2,494
Location
Derbyshire
Have had Peugeot 305 and 405 - both extremely reliable. Had VW Passat which was a disaster. Luck of the draw.
Have had breakdowns and Green Flag were OK. Last one was Fiat Doblo rescued by SureStart - about 2 hours wait then took car to local garage and me home.
 

Terry - Somerset

Established Member
Joined
22 Dec 2012
Messages
1,207
Reaction score
638
Location
Taunton
I would guess that car reliability has improved massively over the last few decades. What has changed is complexity and specialist parts required when they do fail.

In the good old days most faults would be traced to either ignition system components - coil, contact breakers, capacitor, leads, spark plugs, or fuel system - blocked jets, fuel filter, fuel pump. Many parts common across a number of manufacturers, and readily fixed at the roadside.

Specialist parts and software now needed mean that fewer can be fixed on the roadside. There has also been a real decline in the average motorists knowledge meaning call outs for things which in my youth I would have regarded as trivial. RAC report makes for some interesting reading - punctured tyres and flat batteries top their fault list. Driver error comes in 6th - RTFM problems!!

RAC report
 

AdrianUK

Established Member
Joined
6 Jun 2018
Messages
259
Reaction score
97
Location
Hampshire
I sympathise with your experience Spectric, if it had happened to me, I’d be letting RAC or whoever understand just what a shocking service I’d received.

Interestingly, RAC are regularly emailing me with 50% off offers, from your experience I’ll be thinking again.
Anyone of a certain age will remember when things were different, I’ve been with both RAC (company vehicles) and AA over the years, my experience was actually good on the whole.

It’s not just breakdown insurance, it’s so much of everyday service and stuff that’s become, well, just dung%#£&.
There has been a race to the bottom on so much over the years, in the interests cost savings and margin.

Some may say it was ever thus, and their correct up to a point, but once upon a time, sensible heads knew when to draw a line, I understand the process well enough as it had played a large part of my previous corporate life.

Unfortunately, I fear we in UK are about to under go the biggest drop in standards and service on much of every day life ever seen over the next few years, for different reasons, but mostly because those that can say no - won’t, and those that will benefit will say yes.
 
Last edited:

Jacob

Pint of bass, porkpie, and packet of crisps please
Joined
7 Jul 2010
Messages
22,396
Reaction score
2,494
Location
Derbyshire
Current "Which" choices:
Screenshot 2022-05-14 at 17.04.39.png
 

Jameshow

Established Member
Joined
4 Oct 2020
Messages
2,844
Reaction score
1,595
Location
Bradford
Have had Peugeot 305 and 405 - both extremely reliable. Had VW Passat which was a disaster. Luck of the draw.
Have had breakdowns and Green Flag were OK. Last one was Fiat Doblo rescued by SureStart - about 2 hours wait then took car to local garage and me home.
I had 205 and 306s great cars all the cars post that generation were a disappointment imho!

Had an Audi 80 great car then a4 TDI and 2.8 both were trouble!!
 

Spectric

Established Member
Joined
19 Feb 2015
Messages
3,836
Reaction score
2,021
Location
North Cumbria
I would guess that car reliability has improved massively over the last few decades.
Yes and no, when you had a carburettor and distributor they were easily kept going and for many the main dealer was not involved although they were a lot more susceptable to corrosion, how many can remember the Fords where the underseal covered the bottom of the doors due to rot. Now there are so many more components that have become servicable items, parts that may have only been changed once in the lifetime of the vehicle but now get replaced a lot more frequently, ie suspension springs & drive shafts. Components are made a lot cheaper and you can easily tell. Complexity always comes at a cost, try and cut cost then reliability will suffer and it has, the modern car is made to a cost and has a limited lifetime, they do not want you to keep a car on the road for decades anymore, much better for them to keep selling you a new one every three years.

if it had happened to me, I’d be letting RAC or whoever understand just what a shocking service I’d received.
Apparently I was lucky, it was a B3 or something which is a higher priority due to location of breakdown, had it been on a backroad with no safety implications I may still be there!

Unfortunately, I fear we in UK are about to under go the biggest drop in standards and service on much of every life ever seen over the next few years,
The race to the bottom has been driven by greed and profit margins, we are now in a vicious circle which is self fueling itself. The UK is no longer a major player on the world stage, we had our time and the empire but basically blew it. Now it is the east that is having it's time at the top and is rising fast, until we accept this and settle into our new place we will struggle and having idiots like Borris thinking he is the new Churchill is not going to help. We need to crash so as to rebuild new, get back to reality and reward hard graft and not social media "influencers" and change the way people think, money is not the sole objective in life, having a skill is in my opinion something to look upto.

The modern cars complexity is often blamed on emision and pollution control, yet we are doing SFA when it comes to global warming and what we are really achieving in car pollution reduction is like peeing in the ocean compared to the aviation industry and so many other countries yet it is us paying for this pointless exercise, to stop a boat sinking you block all the holes and not just the ones you fancy.
 

AdrianUK

Established Member
Joined
6 Jun 2018
Messages
259
Reaction score
97
Location
Hampshire
Yes and no, when you had a carburettor and distributor they were easily kept going and for many the main dealer was not involved although they were a lot more susceptable to corrosion, how many can remember the Fords where the underseal covered the bottom of the doors due to rot. Now there are so many more components that have become servicable items, parts that may have only been changed once in the lifetime of the vehicle but now get replaced a lot more frequently, ie suspension springs & drive shafts. Components are made a lot cheaper and you can easily tell. Complexity always comes at a cost, try and cut cost then reliability will suffer and it has, the modern car is made to a cost and has a limited lifetime, they do not want you to keep a car on the road for decades anymore, much better for them to keep selling you a new one every three years.


Apparently I was lucky, it was a B3 or something which is a higher priority due to location of breakdown, had it been on a backroad with no safety implications I may still be there!


The race to the bottom has been driven by greed and profit margins, we are now in a vicious circle which is self fueling itself. The UK is no longer a major player on the world stage, we had our time and the empire but basically blew it. Now it is the east that is having it's time at the top and is rising fast, until we accept this and settle into our new place we will struggle and having idiots like Borris thinking he is the new Churchill is not going to help. We need to crash so as to rebuild new, get back to reality and reward hard graft and not social media "influencers" and change the way people think, money is not the sole objective in life, having a skill is in my opinion something to look upto.

The modern cars complexity is often blamed on emision and pollution control, yet we are doing SFA when it comes to global warming and what we are really achieving in car pollution reduction is like peeing in the ocean compared to the aviation industry and so many other countries yet it is us paying for this pointless exercise, to stop a boat sinking you block all the holes and not just the ones you fancy.
Well said.

As for Mr Johnson, he is in many ways quite like Churchill.

Churchill held by today’s standards, very unpleasant ideas, racism being one, but also many other views that would not be tolerated now.

His bigoted opinion of Africans and Indians not being capable of governing themselves and his opinion that he was the greatest expert on India, when he’d only been there once when serving as a junior officer for a few short months is stark.

Churchill was, ( Mr Johnson is not ) and rightly so, a great leader of his country and its people at an important moment in world history.

Churchill, in some small way to his defence, was a product of his time, Mr Johnson has no such defence.
 

Jameshow

Established Member
Joined
4 Oct 2020
Messages
2,844
Reaction score
1,595
Location
Bradford
Well said.

As for Mr Johnson, he is in many ways quite like Churchill.

Churchill held by today’s standards, very unpleasant ideas, racism being one, but also many other views that would not be tolerated now.

His bigoted opinion of Africans and Indians not being capable of governing themselves and his opinion that he was the greatest expert on India, when he’d only been there once when serving as a junior officer for a few short months is stark.

Churchill was, ( Mr Johnson is not ) and rightly so, a great leader of his country and its people at an important moment in world history.

Churchill, in some small way to his defence, was a product of his time, Mr Johnson has no such defence.
Johnston is a project or his time, his parents obviously...his education and his social circle... Just as much as Diane Abbot is..... Neither are representative of the majority....
 

Sandyn

Established Member
Joined
19 Jul 2020
Messages
1,632
Reaction score
1,361
Location
Scotland
last time I had to call the RAC was a few years ago. Vauxhall clutch cable broke. 4 hour wait until they appeared. They had a try at doing a temporary clutch cable, but he didn't have a cable clamp of the correct size, so car and I given a lift 60 miles back home.
When the cable snapped, the clutch pedal completely disappeared. That confused the hell out of me. I could not figure out where it had gone. Had a good look in the bulkhead area above the pedals. it had swung right up into the bulkhead.
 

ian33a

Established Member
Joined
18 Mar 2021
Messages
236
Reaction score
257
Location
the centre of Devon
I think we have been lucky, or managed to choose our cars wisely.

I had the usual rust buckets when I was young - mostly unreliable too. Then, over many years I had company cars, all fine. When the BIK became an issue I switched to a car allowance and ran a couple of 5 series BMW's. Neither broke down ever. Now retired, I've switched to Jaguar XF's - both of these have behaved beautifully. My wife's BMW and now Passat - both flawless too.

I've always serviced the cars through the main dealerships. More expensive up front but have hoped that it would generate goodwill if I ever had an issue. Which hasn't happened.

My current XF, bought at a year old, and now just coming out of warranty will not enjoy an extended warranty. I will cover it using Start Rescue (as the Passat has that) and I'll keep my fingers crossed. Nice to see that their Which? reports are good.

I think that these firms are chasing a profit, but the public are also chasing a cheap price. Some say it's savvy shopping, and in the current times, it's understandable. Trouble is, to keep the businesses profitable they need customers and if customers are price conscious, service quality is the first thing to go.
 

Spectric

Established Member
Joined
19 Feb 2015
Messages
3,836
Reaction score
2,021
Location
North Cumbria
With all this talk about global warming and climate change that the government has happily talked about but has no real intention of acting upon the lifecycle of the products we buy have a big impact. It would take proportionally not much more energy to produce a car with a guaranteed lifespan of say 15 years, also the same could be applied to white goods and many other products but instead we are being taken further into the throwaway world which must be having a bad impact on both resources and global warming. The downside is that it will impact profit margins and so we are back to that big stumbling block the "economy" which so many countries are willing to put first and just lip service to our planet. So if you think of the issues with cars and electronic's then would anyone really trust a driverless vehicle? If they claim they can be 100% safe then why do they then not make reliable vehicles or is that just another part we play in supporting the economy.
 

Stevekane

Established Member
Joined
24 Feb 2018
Messages
456
Reaction score
166
Location
Nr Bournemouth
Neighbour has spanking brand new BMW Hybred, company lease car, broke down on motorway at night a few days ago, completely dead, the car automatically contacts BMW service and its just recovered,,no attempt at repair. BMW have it a few days and dianose a faulty engine battery which they've replaced,,quite why this should imobilise the entire car, no lights, locks nothing,,I suppose shorted itself out?
This came a few weeks after the drive shaft failed which took ages to fix because no parts available. Doesn't inspire confidence in BMW.
Another mate had a brand new Merc SUV, it was only 2 or 3 yrs ago, endless trouble, and he ended up telling the maindealer it was a pile of dung! His view of repping always new cars was get a Hyundia touson,,,that was the best car he ever had.
Amongst other issues the big Merc had rattles the dealer couldnt find and at one point the fuel guage stopped working, took it in and the dealer wanted it for 4 days, he kicked up and questined why they wanted it for so long, it is a 3 day job for two mechanics who have to remove most of the rear interior and the rear suspension etc, the tank is then replaced because the sender unit is built in,,,fast forward 6 yrs and I would guess that a top of the range Merc SUV is worthless with a duff fuel gauge!
 
Last edited:

Spectric

Established Member
Joined
19 Feb 2015
Messages
3,836
Reaction score
2,021
Location
North Cumbria
There are a lot of manufacturers that rely on their past reputation, VW and Mercedes to name a few. One problem now is that many parts are made by a few companies so your expensive range rover may well have vauxhall parts. People say that brands like Fords and Vauxhalls are better than they were but in reality they have gone up in quality whilst others come down so they end up much the much. The better option for buying a car may well be the newer manufacturers like Hyundai and Kia that still have something to prove and do not have the huge financial burdens round their knecks of legacy pension schemes to fund. The big issue for me is that there used to be the construction and use regulations that ensured vehicles were roadworthy but now you have to question the safety aspect of these vehicles where electronic issues can prevent the operation of electric windows, you have no hazzard warning lights, brake lights become intermittent and in a situation where you have lost all power you are left with no means to warn other road users, accidents waiting to happen.
 

Fordgate1

Established Member
Joined
27 Jul 2021
Messages
25
Reaction score
13
Location
Bridgwater
I had excellent service lst month., from the AA, paid for through our Bank. With a 1952 Citroen, Traction Avant, light 15 on AI near to Newark. Problems with petrol into Carburettor. Spoke to AA man at services, we replaced gaskets and diaphragm in petrol pump, I have had a spares kit in the boot for years unopened. Then found the delivery pipe at top of tank had become brittle and fractured. letting air in, the dreaded E10 petrol. So pipe replaced, had a minor kink, which got us as far as just before M5 Junction 24, towed off motorway by highways agency, on AA subcontractor truck, 3 miles to home. Excellent response, problem, too tight a bend in the delivery pipe, now rectified. Both AA people old car enthusiasts.
 

Jameshow

Established Member
Joined
4 Oct 2020
Messages
2,844
Reaction score
1,595
Location
Bradford
I had excellent service lst month., from the AA, paid for through our Bank. With a 1952 Citroen, Traction Avant, light 15 on AI near to Newark. Problems with petrol into Carburettor. Spoke to AA man at services, we replaced gaskets and diaphragm in petrol pump, I have had a spares kit in the boot for years unopened. Then found the delivery pipe at top of tank had become brittle and fractured. letting air in, the dreaded E10 petrol. So pipe replaced, had a minor kink, which got us as far as just before M5 Junction 24, towed off motorway by highways agency, on AA subcontractor truck, 3 miles to home. Excellent response, problem, too tight a bend in the delivery pipe, now rectified. Both AA people old car enthusiasts.
I bet it made thier month to work on a car like that!!

Turning over Fuel, spark, etc....

Won't be needing the obd2 reader guys!!
 

Stevekane

Established Member
Joined
24 Feb 2018
Messages
456
Reaction score
166
Location
Nr Bournemouth
On this cars theme, I read about the chinese electric mini car, its a no frills 4 seater, but still has elect windows and air con, the no frills are more to do with tech, so no regenerative braking, fast charger or fancy displays etc, 160 kilometer range and a 6 hour recharge, presently selling in china for £3500, the writer claimed that so far for every Tesla sold worldwide these have sold 5,,,so not a concept or an idea but actually happening. I thought the return to a more basic technology to produce a city car was a very clever idea.
Steve.
 

KeenToLearn

Established Member
Joined
30 Aug 2021
Messages
21
Reaction score
8
Location
Birmingham
Cannot recommend StartRescue too highly. £35 a year and during Covid, they rescued us twice, once when slave cylinder popped and covered clutch plate and again when the engine dropped out of our car due to the company who replaced all clutch not actually tightening up the engine mounts correctly..... Either time the service was perfect, why anyone pays £150+ for RAC/ AA is absolutely beyond me!!!
 

fishe_17

New member
Joined
8 Jan 2022
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Location
Oxford
I had a really bad experience with the RAC - van broke down on the side of the motorway, they came out and refused to fix it (claimed it was 'starting' and so was fine, but it absolutley wasn't!) and also refused to take it away. In the end I had to call another breakdown company and get them to come out - they towed the van away, and took me too. RAC left me stranded, so woudln't recommend!
 

Latest posts

Top