Auto Club

JamieApril 9, 2008

To save money, I am replacing my AAA membership with 2 things:

1. Insurance company roadside assistance plan (They use Road America) for towing, lockout, flat tire, dead battery, etc.

2. AARP membership for hotel discounts.

This will costless than half of what AAA costs. But I am accustomed to getting good, accurate up-to-date road maps from AAA. You can order them in advance of a trip or pick them up in a nearby retail outlet.

How do you get detailed up-to-date roadmaps?

The Rand McNally ones I've seen online are about $5. I would be updating regularly because a 5 year old roadmap is often wrong or incomplete. I recently drove to PA and I needed 2 maps of PA. At $10 a couple of times per year my savings is not so much.

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You can fiddle and print out maps for almost free, just the cost of paper and print toner/ink, with your computer and a printer.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 2:18PM
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I can't believe you're asking this question right now.

I got into my head last week, I wanted to get all the official, state highway maps. EVERY state has their own. All you have to do is go to the state tourism website and you can order one for free.

I didn't order all 50--I have a lot of AAA road maps, so I started by requesting just the states I don't have in my 'arsenal', but every state I checked had a highway map available, and all were free. Of course, you do have to plan ahead. One came in 4 days, some say they'll take 3-6 weeks.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 6:30PM
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Auto clubs are nothing more than a service agreement but instead of being on an appliance it's on your car and seldom is it worthwhile. When you figure how much it costs and put that aside into a fund, big deal if you have to pay for a tire, tow or a lockout. Most communities will have a CSO come and open your vehicle and they usually request (strongly request) that you make a donation to crime prevention or something, which is totally fair.

I've had good luck with current versions of MS Streets & Trips. About the only MS product about which I have anything good to say. Course they didn't design it!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 5:48AM
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I always get on-line and order the state maps from the Department of Tourism before a trip. If you need a city map, you can usually request one from the local Chamber of Commerce.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 11:48AM
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What's this "CSO"?

Customer Service Organization?

Crime Stoppers Office?

Gee ... that'd be a nice thing.

I could hitch-hike to a distant city, pick out a nice Lexus or Mercedes, then call them to come open the door for me and start the ignition?


Then I could become a cynner, rather than a cynic!

Oh, no ... I guess that wouldn't work ...

... cause they come to help when you've locked the keys in the car.


Back to the drawing board, it looks like.

o j

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 11:36AM
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I went to the Acroynm database and found this for CSO:
Chief Security Officer
Central Services Organization
Cold Start Only

I also canceled AAA. I used them satisfactorily when I lived in Seattle, but not so much here in Ohio. I left my car lights on one morning and had to be downtown for an important meeting. I had plenty of time, so I called AAA. They said somebody would be there in 30 minutes. Then they called back and said another 30 minutes. The truck finally arrived 2 hours after I called and 30 minutes after the start of my meeting. Boy was I mad! If I would have known they were going to be so late, I could have easily rented a car for the day.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 4:42PM
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How about:

1. taking the bus?

2. With sufficient time to get downtown, calling a cab, sending the bill to AAA?

3. With sufficient time to get downtown, renting the car, sending the bill to AAA?

A couple of weeks ago, several miles out of town, as I was returning home, I saw a guy with hood up, near the road ... and also near a fishing hole. He'd left lights on, had called CAA sometime before ... I gave him a boost, he called CAA told them to cancel his order for a boost.

I figured that I should have got his name and licence number/CAA number, then called CAA to tell them that they owe me $5.00 off next year's membership renewal.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 11:44PM
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O'joyful - what does one do when you live in area with no city buses & no taxis?

Thankfully, I have good co-workers for when I need a lift; thankfully, that's rare.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 2:54PM
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Hi jayokie,

No buses ... no taxis ... prob. no car rental agencies nearby, either?

Guess that I'd be reduced to hitch-hiking ...

... does one get ticketted for that, in your area?

I live 15 - 20 miles out of town, so it's not smart for me to leave lights on, either.

That used to be one of the advantages to having a secondary vehicle sitting here, even if sometimes unused for substantial periods.

Starting the van by towing wouldn't work, for it had automatic tranny ... but two of my last three cars had standards, so often one can start them by towing (or, easier, pushing, if bumpers match, and the pusher is skilled and pushes gently - sometimes 20 feet is all that's needed).

Actually, often one can call a neighbour who'll come over to give one a boost.

Do you have neighbours? It helps if one cultivates them ahead.

Jumper cables?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 11:31PM
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Sorry for the delay, haven't checked this thread for a long time. CSO=Community Service Officer. I should have clarified, since many communities have different names for the same thing. In my area CSO and "Code Enforcement" are the two most common name for the non-sworn officers that do various assistive tasks for the police department. They get a lot of the barking dog calls, traffic control, vehicle lockouts, delivering mail to council members etc. They don't carry guns and cannot drive a squad with red lights on them, (they must be amber lights) and they also must wear a different color uniform than sworn officers so they're not confused, but to the average citizen, they seldom know the difference. See if they're carrying a firearm. If so, they're sworn, if not, they're non-sworn.

BTW, when they come out, they'll always run a vehicle check and a DL check. If your keys aren't in the ignition, you're not too likely to get help. And now with the computer chipped keys for the high-end vehicles it's getting harder to steal these vehicles. So does this mean my old beater is going to become a more attractive target?? I guess not. (heavy sigh)

Although your comment about stealing a car did remind me that when AAA came to help with my friend's car, all they wanted was the AAA card and they loaded up the car and off they went. Could quite easily be an unwilling and unwitting accomplice.

I learned years ago to carry a GOOD set of jumper cables. Louie Anderson used to joke about Minnesotans and their jumper cables, but there's some truth to it. You hope to never need them, but they can literally be a lifesaver if you're ever in need of them. I'm amazed how few people carry cables. I'm often asked if I have cables to borrow. And for the 1 or 2 times I've ever needed a jump, I'm glad to be able to say I've given "jumps" to literally hundreds. There's a lot of things you should carry with you, flashlight, a shovel, blanket & extra clothes in the wintertime, at least a jug to carry water if not a jug of antifreeze, qt of oil... but that's another thread!

I still think the best security all-in-all is a prepaid cell phone (with a car charger - they're no good if the battery is dead). If you break down you can call for help and the cost is far less than an auto club. Plus it gives you many more abilities. If you're late for work or an appointment, you can easily call, if you see someone in an accident or stranded you can call for help for them or yourself if it's you and all for about $5/mo. I'm also thinking about splurging on a set of FRS radios for when I'm caravaning with someone to keep in contact with them. Aside from the initial investment you don't have the ongoing costs of operation as with a cell, although its use is more limited. So maybe if I see some at a garage sale or something.... Maybe.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 11:27AM
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