You don’t think it will happen to you, right? Sure, we’ve all seen other cars stranded on the side of the road, but we seldom seriously consider whether that could be us without an auto emergency kit or roadside assistance.
It might not happen, but there’s always the possibility you’ll be the one pulled over, with steam billowing from under the hood. Here’s how to be prepared.
The best way to prevent a potential breakdown is proper car maintenance. This means regular oil changes, clean oil and air filters, regular review of the fluid levels, rotated tires and having the car checked out if anything is amiss — like a flashing warning light. Also, maintaining your car means keeping your tires properly inflated, using the manufacturer’s guidelines posted near the driver’s side door.
This is especially important if you are heading out on a long trip, but you should always have these things in your car:
A roadside assistance program means you won’t be at the mercy (and price tag) of whatever garage is available when problems strike.
Roadside assistance programs will send a tow truck or other aid to rescue you, if needed. You pay up front as part of your plan, with defined rates for various services. Basics like a jump-start or a tow are usually included without additional cost.
When looking at roadside assistance plans, realize that prices and programs vary greatly from company to company, so shop around.
If you're stuck with a fixer-upper and ready for a more reliable car, learn what to look for when shopping for a new, or new-to-you, vehicle.