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Recovery services - any good for old cars?

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John-B
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Recovery services - any good for old cars?

Post by John-B » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:59 am

How good are the recovery services like AA and RAC at repairing old cars at the roadside?

Have they got imperial size spanners, etc.? Can they only do simple jobs like changing a fan belt or can they do medium standard jobs like changing a condenser, distributor part or thermostat (if you carry the spare) or can they do more complicated jobs like changing a shock absorber, brake pads or whole distributor (some people might be carrying these spares but I don't)?

I've got AA Home and Relay and I haven't checked what this covers, but I think Home means home start like a flat battery. I wouldn't want my car to be taken to the nearest garage with unknown reputation, I would want the car and me to be taken home if it couldn't be repaired.

Has anyone had a recent experience of repair or recovery? Please relate your opinions.

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Re: Recovery services - any good for old cars?

Post by Phillmore » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:04 am

If you have 'Relay' you can specify for it to be taken back home or to the nearest garage. It's your choice.
Andy

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Re: Recovery services - any good for old cars?

Post by Chris_R » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:38 am

It's very mixed and depends on the mechanic.
A friend with a Jensen suffered a failure to proceed, the AA mechanic on arriving wanted to know where to plug in his computer!
I once had a fan belt come off in my Jensen that sliced into an oil pipe which could not be repaired at the roadside so was relayed back home. Relay works as the words says. You and your car are recovered and transported to a relay point where you get transferred to another transporter for the next stage of the journey. Depending where you are coming from this may happen 2 or 3 times.
I recently had an alarm/immobiliser problem in my 1993 Range Rover after changing the battery and the AA engineer was delighted to be looking at something older where he had to do some real diagnosis and fixing work.

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Re: Recovery services - any good for old cars?

Post by John Hitchins » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:03 am

I have had AA relay for years, I only have as a means of getting the car home. I always carry a fully toolkit anyway. Plus I am covered for any car whether a passenger or driver. The only negative is every year now I have to bargain the price as I have to with insurance Sky TV etc. this year my bill was £180 but saying the usual OK I go elsewhere within 2 milliseconds the price dropped to £130. Other firms need a car registration to cover which is no good to me as I have more than one car.

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Re: Recovery services - any good for old cars?

Post by Vortex O'Plinth » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:11 am

I have AA breakdown cover as a fringe benefit of my bank account. This includes Roadside, Relay, Homestart and Stay Mobile. This applies to any car in which I am the driver or a passenger. This is useful since I currently have five cars registered for road use. Two of these - one being an SP - are pre OBD2 and have things like carburettors and distributors which may fox younger breakdown technicians; but at least if they can't fix it they'll transport it home.

Additionally I have the SP insured with RH who include breakdown cover in the UK and Europe as standard. Since RH specialise in 'Classic' cars, this might be more reliable in the event of a breakdown in the Daimler.
Nick

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Re: Recovery services - any good for old cars?

Post by John-B » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:32 am

Most of the comments above are about being taken home on a trailer, but it's obviously better to get a repair at the roadside and drive away rather than get relayed with consequent hanging about at a service station waiting for the next pickup, so I was asking how competent most recovery service personnel are. What training do they have with old cars?

I think RH breakdown cover means that you have to do the organising yourself. If you haven't got a local number to phone you would have to walk to the nearest house or pub and get a recommendation to phone. RH would then cover the cost later. A recovery service is more convenient.

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Re: Recovery services - any good for old cars?

Post by Chris_R » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:35 am

As I said John, it's variable. One AA guy wanted to know where to plug in his computer to a 1970s Jensen, another guy was only too happy to look at an older car for a change.

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Re: Recovery services - any good for old cars?

Post by John-B » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:51 am

I'm getting the impression that if a recovery person can't fix the problem within five minutes, like replacing a fuse, he/she would radio for a transporter and leave you at the roadside waiting it to arrive while he goes to the next job. I wouldn't complain, of course, any way to get home is good, but it seems you just have to hope the serviceman can repair your car there and then.

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Re: Recovery services - any good for old cars?

Post by soaringace » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:27 pm

John-B wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:32 am

I think RH breakdown cover means that you have to do the organising yourself. If you haven't got a local number to phone you would have to walk to the nearest house or pub and get a recommendation to phone. RH would then cover the cost later. A recovery service is more convenient.
I have RH cover and have had to use their breakdown cover which operates through a central telephone number and a local agent is then allocated for you. This has worked very well on the two occasions I have had to use it and on the second they did actually try to fix the car, but it had a serious gearbox problem so was transported home. They also use a ‘low ramp’ vehicle for SPs which means it can be easily and safely winched on board.

Alan

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Re: Recovery services - any good for old cars?

Post by Big Col » Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:43 pm

The whole point is to get you off the road side. In most cases safety is the priority. The fact that the technician can’t always get you going is hardly surprising considering the vast diversification of the vehicles on the road. Lets face it the majority of times it is a temporary fix to get you going if indeed they do.
It is of no surprise that most technicians don’t know the ins and outs of older cars considering how car technology has advanced. I wouldn’t know how to Start a veteran car, even at my age, but I like to think I am pretty competent on classics. I don’t even lift the bonnet on the modern car we have, it goes straight to the dealership. If that is the case then how can I be expected to think that a man with a flashing light on his van can ?
The one thing to do is shop round to get a good deal and don’t necessarily accept that the first quote is the best.
Colin,
I may be slow but I’m rough as well !

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