My friend and I went to visit our friend in Bristol yesterday. We decided to take a trip to the Christmas markets, so I started up Jools, my trusty gold Peugeot. The big red radiator warning light came on. It means “fill the radiator tank up”, so we went back into my friend's flat for a bottle of water. I poured it in, up to the maximum line, then someone noticed that their feet were getting dripped on! All the water was running straight back out of the radiator! Eeeek! We tried again, til we'd probably filled it up about five times, but it was not looking good!
Luckily my parents have a family breakdown assistance account, so I rang them up and they soon had Mark the friendly AA man out to us. He jacked up the car and finally worked out that the water was pouring out of one joint, where the radiator meets the hose to the engine. To get a closer look, he took the wheel and half the wheel arch off!
|Grubby old Jools!|
I thought he said, “you need a new radiator” so my brain kicked into overdrive wondering where I could get the money to get that fixed from! Turns out it was the rubber seal on the lower radiator hose that had worn out and snapped, letting all the water leak out. He rang a few dealers but no-one had a hose in stock, so it was looking like we'd have to be towed to Exeter, then Plymouth, then home to Cornwall, by relay. Hours and hours of relay!
|This is the blighter that caused all the trouble!|
Then he asked them if they had just the rubber seal for sale. RESULT! 59p for the part! (Plus £14 for some new anti-freeze for the radiator).
Yesterday I was VERY glad I had breakdown cover. I had no idea where the water was coming from, or how to get to the nearest garage. It would have cost me an hour at least of labour to fit the part too; it took a long time to disassemble the car and put it all back again after bleeding the system.
Today I looked at the price of breakdown cover. Taking the AA as an example, roadside assistance with national recovery is £69 a year for an individual. I guess if you only drive in your local area and don't go on long journeys it would probably be a waste of money. Most people know garage in their local area and have friends that could tow them there. If you have a very new car it's probably not that likely that your car will break down.
If, on the other hand, you have an older car like Jools and you occasionally pootle up the motorway to far-flung places, I guess some sort of breakdown cover would be a worthwhile use of £6 a month. A lot of car insurance companies offer breakdown cover as an added bonus, so check the fine print to see if that would cover you to be relayed back home as well as roadside assistance.
The Boyfriend uses his breakdown cover about twice a year...
What do you think? Do you have breakdown cover and have you ever used it?