Thursday, June 1, 2023


You gave us the ‘good, the bad, and the ugly’ on road service plans

Last Saturday we set off on what’s turned out to be a rather ambitious project. We asked about your experiences with emergency road service plans. “Give us the good, the bad, and the ugly.” On top of it, we wanted the statistics so we could provide you and others with some solid numbers to help make a choice.

Flood of responses regarding road service plans

Did we say, “rather ambitious project”? Hoo, boy! The responses have been pouring in like a monsoon rain on the Quartzsite desert. As we write this, we’re still getting survey responses—those hard numbers we really want. Thank you! We also included a comment box where you could share what’s happened in your personal experiences with service plans in ways numbers just couldn’t explain.

Your commentary has been a similar gusher. Keeping in context with our question, here’s just a sampling of those responses.

The good

Laura B. was headed for the beach while camping out in Estero, Florida. You know equipment—it doesn’t always cooperate with your plans. “The tire pressure monitoring system on our tow vehicle warned of a tire rapidly deflating,” she recollects. That’s enough to take the wind out of any recreational plan.

Laura and company pulled into a parking lot and called their road service plan. This one was from the Escapees Club. “Assuming that it would take a while for them to get to us, we started trying to get the spare tire down from its stowed position,” Laura says. Pardon our editorializing, but, hey, isn’t that a job for the tow driver? Oh, well, some folks—like Laura—are just plain nice.

Anyway, back to Laura: “Within a few minutes we saw a truck approaching with a flashing light and much to our surprise it was our roadside assistance! Fastest response time either one of us had ever experienced. In a matter of minutes he had changed the tire, found the puncture, and sent us on our way with directions to a Costco to purchase a replacement.”

The bad

Not everyone who wrote in had such a pleasant, and speedy, experience. Bill H. was traveling through Arizona with his motorhome and toad car. At around 10:00 in the morning, along I-40 near Kingman, the motorhome decided to croak. Bill called his service plan folks, in this case, AAA. “Get in your toad car, and meet the driver at such-and-such a dealership in Kingman,” were the instructions.

Bill and the rest of the humans in his party did just that. They drove on to the dealership and waited. And waited. Then they waited some more. Finally, at 3:00 in the afternoon, they called their road service plan. Bill relates, “The towing service was unable to contact the driver.” Is this a “Car 54, where are you” situation? When the driver still didn’t show, Bill was a bit concerned. Not only was it getting late, the family dog was in the motorhome—and who knew where. Alarmed, he called the highway patrol—just to make sure they didn’t have reports of a wayward motorhome behind a tow truck being involved in accident.

Bill relates, “Finally, about 12:00 midnight, the tow truck showed up. A different truck and driver.” The driver rolled out a long list of excuses, but it was a bit too late. Since it was Friday, and long after closing, the dealership couldn’t get to Bill’s motorhome until Monday rolled around. Happily, the dealership made arrangements for Bill to have power while he waited it out. But when all was said and done, Bill footnotes, “Never made it to our destination. Not enough time.”

And the ugly

A lack of communication can really throw a monkey wrench in the works. Or the wrong fluid—in the wrong place. That’s what befell Thomas P. when he ran out of fuel about six miles from the nearest station.

“Naturally,” says Thomas, “it was Friday, before a three-day weekend. I called the service company, who called a local provider.” That started a chain of events that Thomas will probably remember for a very long time. Speaking of time, watch and see how what should be a quick fix gets real ugly, real fast.

Thomas and the thirsty RV were on the freeway—stalled out in front of a mile marker post. Of course, they’d given that information to the dispatcher, but, sure enough, for some reason the driver couldn’t find them at first. It seems the service plan dispatcher hadn’t passed on that little tidbit of information. So when he finally rolled up, the driver must have been in a hurry. “He dumped fuel in the RV,” says Thomas, “then realized the service provider told him diesel. Six gallons of diesel in the gas tank.”

A quick “fuel delivery” suddenly elongated into a long wait for a tow truck. There was no way Thomas was starting up his engine and pumping diesel oil though his fuel lines into his gas engine. “Eventually the RV was towed to a truck service center,” says Thomas, “where both fuel tanks were pulled, flushed out, lines cleaned, and everything reinstalled.” The service plan “pumped” not just fuel, but also paid the $900 in charges that rang up for the goober, caused by their own dispatcher not doing his job.

So which emergency road service plan comes out on top?

We’re still crunching the numbers. And as your experiences flow in, they’ve raised a few questions that need answering. To keep everything on the level, and light shown into the dark corners, we’re taking a few more days to do the job. We’ll report back to you next week with the results of the survey, and advice on how to shop the service plan that’s best for you. And thanks, for the chance to “make my day!”



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Coralie Myers
9 months ago

We had AAA – Premier RV coverage. First time we tried to use it was when our water pump went out, naturally on a Friday morning. After 3 hours we called back and were told it would be another 4-6 hours. The repair place was FOUR miles away. We called them back and they suggested we take the tow car to Walmart and got enough Prestone to nurse it to the repair facility. We got there at 4pm, and they got us out at 5pm, no thanks to AAA.

The next time we were locked out of the coach in the Newmar lot after closing, in the rain. No one available to help. I called AAA and they said they didn’t know anyone in the area, so find someone myself and send them the bill. Right….We finally found a retired race car driver in the area who shimmied in the window and let us in – 6 hours later. Not happy.

Matt Johnson
9 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Myers

Very same experiences with AAA myself with extremely long waits. Also when my Alfa Romeo broke down they wanted to tow it to the closest mechanic that could fix it. They found one, Jauns garage about 4 miles away.
I had them get on a conference call with the garage and ask the mechanic if he knew how to work on a double overhead cam, bucket and shim motor, and of course he did not. After a while the AAA guy on the phone agreed it needs to go to an Alfa dealer.

Mike Schmitz
9 months ago

I have had good and bad service from towing services, mostly good. Some things you have to remember is all tow truck drivers are independents in most cases working under contract. Sometimes they might be the only one within 50 to 100 miles that can handle your rig size. Complain to your plan provider if you get bad service. Maybe with enough complaints they will find other operators.Your service provider may have to use them. Your coverage stops if you are more then 50 foot off a road (check plan some go to 100). Your experience will only be as good as the as the driver operating the truck!

9 months ago

The good, bad & the ugly! Hmmm thinking yee ol saying! You can please SOME of the people ALL of the time & ALL of the people SOME of the time but NEVER all of the people all of the time! So thinking that sometime you get great service from a plan & from the same plan at the same place but a different day its not so good. So I have had those issues over the past 25 years or so! Hey you pays your money & take your chances!

9 months ago

HUGE difference between a car & a RV when it comes to emergency roadside service especially if your own a big bus type coach which requires larger equipment than a simple car. I have owned Coach-Net since May 2010 when we went Full-Time on the road. BEST decision I could have made. They have towed my 40-foot coach and 30-foot cargo trailer three different times without any difficulties or damage. The most challenging was a 200-mile tow from the Cassier Highway to a shop in Terrance BC. That ends up to be a 400-mile tow job. Not an easy task by no means. That $7000 tow didn’t coast me a penny.

Bob M
9 months ago

While I didn’t comment. I have AAA North Penn. Over Ten years ago I need my truck pulled out of a ditch. Towing service damaged my truck. When he got back to the garage he denied doing any damage. AAA said there was nothing the could do about it. I had to pay my $500. insurance deductible. Three years ago when I got their RV coverage I asked them about the same situation should it occur with my travel trailer. They asked if I still had the receipt, the would reimburse me. When I go to there motor vehicle department. They always give bad information. It again happened this past week. I’d like to find some towing service that’s good. Not enough room here to write about my bad experience with AAA north Penn

Ed K
9 months ago

I signed up for the FMCA plan and less than a month later I slid my car into a snow bank and called for a tow. I was told by the provider that sliding into a snow bank was an accident and they would not cover it. I paid for a tow truck to pull me out and then continued into work. When I got there, I called FMCA and they contacted their provider and was told the same thing. I cancelled the FMCA plan and went back to Coachnet and have never looked back.

Dixie Snyder
9 months ago
Reply to  Ed K

You must have used the same FMCA plan I had. Ended up doing the same thing, back to Coach-net.

Glen Cowgill
9 months ago
Reply to  Ed K

I got into some soft mud and got stuck. Called Coach-Net who said the closest provider was 70 miles away but if I gave them a number for a closer provider they would call them. 20 minutes later I had a tow truck who winched me out. Thank you Coach-Net for the continued good service.

Bob p
9 months ago

I wouldn’t trust any CAR service plan for my motor home, you are dealing with car oriented millennials or younger who probably don’t know what a RV looks like. That’s why I stick with groups that deal with RVers every day. That would compare to going to a podiatrist with chest pain. Lol

9 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

Common Bob, let’s not insult the millennials. Dollars to donuts, they know exactly what an RV is because many of them live in one! However, your advice about roadside assistance companies is good. I’m looking for a new company myself so am interested in the outcome of this survey. No need to insult anyone, though.

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