Beware AAA

Used to be a good thing. I have AAA myself.  I consider it a necessity when driving the car i do, even actually used it once when my fuel pump failed on my way to final exams last year.  now i wonder.

A few weeks ago, a client called and said their car died and AAA was there trying to sell them a battery.  they had “a computer printout” that “proved it”.  sure, go ahead, that battery isnt going to be any cheaper anywhere else, and its gona save you a tow, but if you want some comfort room, bring it over, i’l check it out.

We have an ancient sun/snap on vector tube scope.  we have newer scopes too, but this beast, about the size of a standup freezer, still does the best alternator check. it showed a bad diode.  not a shorted one, but the small blip in the pattern showed one was leaking the wrong direction. I have no idea the condition of the old battery, but it just encourages me to remind people, they don’t always find everything. On a hot day with AC running, stop and go traffic, and short errand runs of a minni-van,  sure enough, it died again a few days later.  we installed an alternator, all is fine now.  I still have that “printout” from the AAA tester that said the alternator was ok.

Then there was they mystery noise.  Big BMW 740 comes in with the client complaining about “a huge noise” from the rear end. It sounded like brakes, but they looked new.  with the car on the rack, things got stranger.  the bearing was loose, allowing the brake rotor to rub on the caliper, but i also noticed a bent up backing plate.  then i noticed the sheered off brake bleeder. and hay, that shock looks funny. hmm.  curiosity had me looking at all the rims inside, to see if any were scratched up.  all looked ok.  I opened the trunk.

In the floor of the trunk were 2 partially destroyed lug bolts.  under the floor was the BMW factory spare, scratched all along the inside surface.  The Man called the customer and then got the real story.  They got a flat tire, AAA changed it with the spare.  The car has big fancy after-market wheels, and the tow guy did not remove the spacer.  Since the lug bolts were not tightened to the hub, the wheel had fallen off the car on the freeway. (no doubt scaring the crap out of the client)  AAA is paying the bill, over $1000 of damage.  cant help but to wonder why the tow truck guy didn’t notice that the wheel didn’t fit right.

Make sure you have a good mechanic, and watch the tow guy.  if you don’t like him, get another one.

One Response to “Beware AAA”

  1. I wonder if they’re affiliated with Jiffy Lube.

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