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Ashyukun
Ashyukun Dork
8/25/14 12:50 p.m.

So, after a year of having my '79 El Camino that was originally intended to be my Challenge car like 3 years ago and all my shop tools out in a workshop storage unit, I finally got settled in enough at the new house to be able to move everything back to the new garage over the weekend. Except for the El Camino itself- I don't have anything capable of towing it, and we figured trying to get it on a U-Haul car hauler along with dealing with moving a 17' truck's worth of tools & car parts was just too much. And when I called and asked a towing company they quoted me nearly $150 to tow it back to my house.

Now, I have a AAA Gold membership which I don't make very much use of- haven't needed anything towed this year, so I'm wondering what people's experiences and advice regarding getting them to tow it for me have been. There was a thread on this a ways back, but it was long enough ago I figured I should ask again.

The good news is that the car doesn't really look any worse than what I see driving around on the roads around here all the time. Sure, the driver's floor is rusted through, but it rolls and looks like it's in one piece (it actually is, it just will take a while to get it the rest of the way ready to move under its own power). Does not currently have a plate- but if necessary I do have a bunch of plates from previous cars that I could throw on.

How have everyone else's experiences doing this have been? Any tips? Thanks!

Powar
Powar SuperDork
8/25/14 12:54 p.m.

Put a current plate on it. Wipe off the dust and cobwebs. Call AAA.

"It won't start. I need to get it home."

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/25/14 1:03 p.m.

The towing company is being paid by AAA to tow your car. Yes, what Powar said. I'd have a plate on it, too.

RealMiniDriver
RealMiniDriver UltraDork
8/25/14 1:05 p.m.

I've used AAA to move derelict cars a few times. As long as it's complete, meaning has a drivetrain, windows, interior, etc. and not look like a junker, they'll tow it without question. Just tell them something like, "It puked a rod," or "It went bang and let out lots of smoke." to avoid them wanting to attempt to start it.

Will
Will SuperDork
8/25/14 1:06 p.m.

Yup. The operator is going to get paid by AAA and may not even care.

When I spun a rod bearing in my Camaro at an autocross, I used my AAA card. The rollback and driver showed up, saw a Camaro with numbers on the door, still wearing slicks, street tires in the back seat, and the race going on. He never even asked what was wrong with it.

Xceler8x
Xceler8x UberDork
8/25/14 1:19 p.m.

I've had AAA tow cars I own that won't run a few times. Sometimes I owned them for a whole half an hour before hand.

turboswede
turboswede UltimaDork
8/25/14 1:28 p.m.

Yep, that's how I got the 944 Turbo home. Bought it and then called AAA to pick it up. Remember, AAA will just dispatch the driver and they're getting paid anyway, so they rarely care.

Now if you need something other than towing, that might be a problem, but that's not what you're asking for....

Grtechguy
Grtechguy UltimaDork
8/25/14 1:36 p.m.

When I had AAA, I was told by the agent that I didn't even need to own the car, just be there with my card when the tow guy showed up.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UberDork
8/25/14 1:37 p.m.

I've done it before with the '72 Chevy pickup. Wasn't a problem.

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
8/25/14 1:53 p.m.
Grtechguy wrote: When I had AAA, I was told by the agent that I didn't even need to own the car, just be there with my card when the tow guy showed up.

I've used AAA a number of times over the past few years (definitely gotten my money's worth...). I don't recall any of the drivers asking me for my AAA card.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Dork
8/25/14 2:03 p.m.

Thanks guys, that makes me a lot more confident that it will work. I'll snag a plate off one of my other cars so it at least looks current and give it a shot.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
8/25/14 2:04 p.m.
Grtechguy wrote: When I had AAA, I was told by the agent that I didn't even need to own the car, just be there with my card when the tow guy showed up.

Yes, AAA does not cover a specific car but rather covers a specific driver.
Prove that you are you (Driver's License) and prove you are a customer (AAA Card) and you should be good to go.

The real line of defense is the tow-truck driver. If the driver thinks your car does not qualify then he can turn you down. A quick tip and thanks to the driver should have him seeing things your way.

neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
8/25/14 3:02 p.m.

+1 on get a plate on it, as I have seen a driver refuse to take a car under AAA for that, so it went out of pocket.

AngryCorvair
AngryCorvair UltimaDork
8/25/14 4:16 p.m.

i've had one AAA-dispached TT driver ask me for current registration and insurance cards, and i've had another AAA-dispached TT driver laugh at me when i asked if he needed to see my AAA card. "wouldn't start" doesn't mean "i drive it everyday and today it wouldn't start"...

nocones
nocones SuperDork
8/25/14 4:54 p.m.

I wonder about putting current plates on it from another vehicle. At that point aren't you committing fraud? Your illegally taging the car to pass it off as registered. I would feel better about calling and if AAA asks questions to screen towing about the car that you would answer no to then it's not what you pay AAA for and you get to pay out of pocket. If you never lie to them and they pay to tow your car then that must be what they offer.

Wally
Wally MegaDork
8/25/14 5:55 p.m.

Keep in mind that they aren't making on a AAA call what they would on a private tow so make it simple for them. Have it out of the storage unit and ready to go. Have it out of the storage unit, and anything that might fly open/off secured. I can't tell you the number of calls I showed up at where either they couldn't get into the unit themselves, wanted me to help unload the unit too reach the car, or help assemble it enough to move it. One guy asked if I could pickup a forklift from his other warehouse since I had to pass by there anyway. Even you Gold membership doesn't cover those services.

psychic_mechanic
psychic_mechanic Dork
8/25/14 9:53 p.m.

A $20 tip to the truck operator beforehand makes him tend not to ask any pesky questions as well and is much cheaper than paying for a tow.

jmthunderbirdturbo
jmthunderbirdturbo Reader
8/25/14 9:59 p.m.
psychic_mechanic wrote: A $20 tip to the truck operator beforehand makes him tend not to ask any pesky questions as well and is much cheaper than paying for a tow.

this. 100% this. just hand him the note, say something like "i dont want to forget to tip you later, so here, thanks for coming."

a twenty dollar bill will make a dead body in the bed look awfully transparent.

-J0N

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
8/25/14 10:52 p.m.

I've done it a few times. $20 tip at first, laugh and tell the driver what's going on, everyone is happy.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Dork
8/26/14 9:12 a.m.

I've got it about as ready to go as possible- it's not in the unit, though they will need to back the flatbed down the hill the unit sits on since the car is at the bottom of it in a parking area. Had been figuring on a nice tip up front to help smooth things over. Unfortunately SWMBO has vetoed my brilliant plan for getting it home this evening- she apparently thinks my riding my bike the 20 miles from here to the shop unit and tossing it in the back and calling AAA to tow it isn't as brilliant of a plan as I thought it was.

eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
8/26/14 9:24 a.m.

In reply to Ashyukun:

Empty storage unit still yours? Drive down there and leave your car in storage, then have her run you back to pick it up when she gets home?

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Dork
8/26/14 11:18 a.m.
eastsidemav wrote: In reply to Ashyukun: Empty storage unit still yours? Drive down there and leave your car in storage, then have her run you back to pick it up when she gets home?

Technically it is until the end of the month. Even if it weren't, I could just drive and leave the car parked nearby and come back and get it later- the biking plan though had the advantage of not needed to go back, since she doesn't get back from work until 9pm most evenings...

RealMiniDriver
RealMiniDriver UltraDork
8/26/14 12:30 p.m.

You don't have to ride with tow truck driver. Follow in your car.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun Dork
8/29/14 9:58 a.m.

So, I went out yesterday to have AAA come and tow the car- and couldn't even get them to send out a truck without 'confirming' that it had valid tags. They said, "Well, you could probably get temporary tags from the DMV..." and those would be enough, but wouldn't send a truck out.

Thankfully it sounds like one of the other occupants of the storage units who has a truck & hauler is going to move it for me- will likely cost more than the tip for the AAA call would have been but still less than if I'd just called the towing company and paid them directly.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
8/29/14 10:21 a.m.

Wow, really? That's weird. If it helps, I have great luck using the request on the web page, instead of calling. It doesn't require a tag number.

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