Are Auto Club’s roadside assistance to replace Christians lending a hand to stranded travelers?
Isn’t it a terrible feeling when you car breaks down away from home? Have you ever been stranded on the side of the road, and someone stopped to help you replace a flat tire, or given you a ride to the next rest stop? Maybe you assisted someone else? In Luke 10:25-37, we see the story of a Samaritan helping someone who was robbed, naked, and left bleeding nearly dead. Modern Bible expositors believe that not only did the Samaritan have the expense of lodging, bandages and clothing, but inconvenience that occurred between people that looked down on each other. Maybe in these days of Cell phones and auto clubs, and concern for personal safety, I would recommend my children and spouse to practice extreme caution and spiritual discernment in such situations.
However, several times over my life, I have helped someone with a short ride to the next exit, asked if they needed a jump-start or other assistance — but I was cautious, aware and prayerful. It is a great opportunity to bless other people. Likewise, I have been a benefactor too. In light of this I think there is solid merit for people to join Auto clubs like AAA, MCA and Better World Club; they offer very useful benefits, such as roadside assistance and towing. Many of them today are offering much more, including car repairs.
In addition to clubs, other competitors have entered that market place, including credit-card issuers, insurance companies, car manufacturers, and oil companies. So before you buy, first check to see what benefits your auto insurance company and car manufacturer provide.
What I like about firms like AAA is the convenience during emergency situations. The last time my car broke down, I was in Michigan between Grand Rapids and East Lansing, on a business trip in the middle of nowhere. I had a company car and I am embarrassed to say I ran out of gas. It was very difficult to locate a towing or roadside assistance company, for I was not sure which small town I was near that might have such a firm. Secondly, a bad winter storm had just gone through the previous day, and I was low priority for the towing companies, since most with good-sized fleets were taking care of club customers. It is never convenient to need someone to bring you gas, tow your car to the closest good repair shop, give you a jump-start, or unlock your doors if you locked your keys inside. Club membership can help you avoid disaster on a pleasure or a business trip, and it can of save you many hours of trying to get help (and then perhaps getting it from someone who may not be reliable). Clubs have strict standards, so that added confidence helps a lot.
Auto Clubs offer this peace of mind, which is especially helpful with our 3-car family, with one at college. The mileage readings on our three well maintained vehicles are 298,000, 175,000, and 160,000, combined to more than 600,000 miles. This means a higher possibility of needing roadside assistance. I understand that we are not the exception. Avoiding car payments and owning cars is the way to go for those trying to be financially savvy.
Lastly, the local AAA Club in Columbus Ohio is offering something very intriguing right now for their auto service centers—a year-long discount program for maintenance. I was pretty much impressed with their program. For $100 members can get the following services within a year: 4 oil changes, a 39-point inspection with each oil change, 4 battery and starting/charging system checks, 2 tire rotations with balance, 1 air filter, 1 set of front wiper blades, 1 headlamp replacement, 1 A/C pressure check, and 12 monthly tire pressure checks. This would save the regular person about $300, or the partial do-it-yourselfer and deal finder about $200, I’d guess (probably paying for or exceeding the cost of the membership). Peace of mind on maintenance and roadside assistance are nice things, especially valuable to those with older cars, lack of family close enough to call for help, or fear of being stranded in a dark place waiting for help to arrive.
In conclusion: I think we need to be wise with our auto insurance and maintenance budgets, while giving room to receive blessings from others, and to be a blessing to people too; therefore this is not an ‘either or’, but a ‘both and’ situation.
Also, rest assured I derived no financial benefit from highlighting these firms, and I don’t prefer them over others. If you are a club or a car repair firm and have an idea for an article and would like a mention, please contact me.