RAC leaves two 18 year olds on their own 40 miles from home (RAC REF 47315)
Until now I have been a very satisfied member of the RAC for over four years, but that changed after my daughters breakdown Wednesday 2 may 2012 when she had a puncture. Being a petite young lady she tried to undo the wheel nuts but found she could'nt and being 40 miles away rang the RAC under our family policy(which I pay @ £180). The RAC came out to her and found that the locking wheel nut(allegedly couldnt be undone), then the RAC mechanic then made contact with RAC control who then gave an option of contacting a third party at cost of £85 (plus £2 a mile) would recover her and and her female passenger and take the car to a destination. She then contacted me to explain what was happening. I then rang the RAC at 00.30am and explained we have breakdown cover for this sort of occurrence and I just could not believe my ears when the excuse they gave me was that they wouldn't recover her because they classed it as driver error, and that they would not recover my daughter and her friend and car. I asked them why they would not recover her and the car, (bearing in mind - how is it driver error that the wheel nut wouldn't undo? (allegedly), and that they had also in fact left two eighteen year old girls alone on an industrial business park in Andover and the RAC had effectively washed their hands of them. I asked the RAC operator how he could morally just leave two 18 year old females on their own and then he then accused of me of trying to put words in his mouth, I still did not get answer to my question. I then said have a good evening and then got in my own car to go to Andover to get my daughter home safely. Once in Andover I went to a business park, while looking for my daughter a police car pulled alongside and asked if he can help. I explained the situation to him and he asked me to follow him as I was at the wrong place. I then followed him 3 miles where we found my daughter. I then thanked him for his help because it would probably have taken me an hour to find them by myself. He then shook his head in disbelieve that the RAC had just left them alone he just could not believe it. I then took my daughter and her friend home. The next day myself and a friend went back to Andover where it took us 20 minutes to get the wheel off and change the wheel and drive the car home.
I will ask the obvious questions:
Did your daughter have the 'key' for the locking wheel nut with her?
What level of RAC cover does she have?
Did the patrolman make reasonable efforts to get your daughter some help?
hi,yes she had key for locking nut, which i used to undo by tapping with hammer and chisel and carefully got locking nut undone,i do how ever understand why this wasnt attempted be so called recovery man because of fear of damaging alloy wheel ,the RAC package we have is breakdown/recovery,but RAC driver and customer care manager both decided key on locking wheel nut being slightly damaged was driver error,as my daughter has never had any need to change any wheels over, she would not have been aware of any damage,as for any help the RAC did,was a third party to come and recover her at a charge of £85 + £2 a mile which i think amounts to highway robbery when already we are paying £14.50 a month for breakdown/ recovery,like i said before i have had only great things to say about the RAC over the 4 years of cover ,i am absolutely disgusted how my daughter was left alone at midnight on a business park 40 miles away,thanks for ur intrest
i was under the impression that AA/RAC breakdown crew/drivers had a tool called DYNOMEC which removes locking wheel nuts without damaging alloy wheels
take a look on youtube, DYNOMEC
So you accept that he was right not to change the wheel. You knew the nut was faulty but did nothing about it, so you were aware that a flat tyre would be a major problem for her.
I pay for my own 25yo daughter's membership and she has get-you-home included for this very reason. Expensive - yes. But what price peace of mind.
Thankfully no harm befell your daughter or her friend but I don't think that the RAC were at fault.
The AA apparently use it. They boast of no damage to the wheel but make no mention of possible damage to the nut itself. I would certainly have been useful in this case - even though the OP had been using a chisel to get them off.
Originally Posted by tommytwotanks
yes i understand to not damage alloy wheel but at no time was i aware of any damage to nut,the clio has a face plate that covers all wheel nuts,i was aware of set of locking nuts and key,but had never any cause to use them,i dont even no when the damage was done to key or nut,it could have been done by RAC driver who knows,but yes i have the same package which i myself and my daughter has used to get her home,i hope u never have to deal with this sort of situation where your daughter is just left alone by the RAC,even the policeman couldnt believe they just wiped there hands of her with the car in a strange place at midnight,just think if the RAC start having this policy of drivers error because it can cover most breakdowns being driver error,kind regards bryan
thanks for ur interest ,we took a set of dynomec ,but because the lock nut has a floating head it is not suitable.kind regards bryan
yes she had key for locking nut, which i used to undo by tapping with hammer and chisel and carefully got locking nut undone,
Sorry,but if you had the key for the locking nut,why use a hammer and chisle to undo it??
This story shows the need for garages and fast fit tyre centres to stop using air guns when tightening locking wheel nuts with the adaptor. This is usually when the adaptor or the nut itself get damaged. I do not think it is unreasonable for the young lady to not know that the nut or adaptor are damaged particularly as the plastic wheel cover hides it all. The only time you will find out if the nut is damaged is when you try to remove it.
For me, based on the above info, I think the RAC let the customer down badly. I am sure that if a different patrol had attended then he/she may have given it a go with a warning that any alloy damage was at the customer's risk. There are many locking wheel nut removal tools so it is not unreasonable to believe the RAC should carry at least one type for this eventuality. If I can carry a little tin in my van, then I am sure the RAC can too.