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September 20, 2019

Big ups to AAA

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Wednesday my car wouldn't start.

I knew that would be the case the around 8 p.m. night before, when I belatedly removed my key from the ignition, which I'd left in the ON position for about seven hours after opening the sunroof to clean out the drainage channels (another story entirely, for another time).

I tried to start it before removing the key Tuesday night but nothing happened: no sounds, lights didn't work, etc.

The only thing active was the speedometer indicator, a glowing white line in the instrument cluster.

Even that disappeared overnight.

I called AAA and had an outstanding experience.

• The voice AI menu was clear and easy to use

• Hold time until I spoke to a human dispatcher was under a minute

• The guy was a native English speaker located in the U.S., a rarity these days in customer service

• I opted for their new-to-me real-time tracking feature (top) on my phone, which instantly appeared (note the time, 7:47) and actually did let me follow technician Charles Montgomery's truck's progress on its 29-minute journey to my house.

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How good was that tracking? So good that when it showed the truck was turning the corner onto my street, I went outside to my mailbox and there it was coming over the rise (below).

• Not only did Mr. Montgomery diagnose the obvious — my dead battery — but he also ran a series of tests, whose results he showed me, that indicated the reason my relatively new-but-now dead-battery (installed 18 months ago after many years of faithful service from the previous one) was kaput was because my alternator was just barely working.

He recommended I have the car towed to a mechanic to get the alternator and battery replaced.

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Since the alternator was still functioning, albeit borderline, I opted instead to have him install a new battery right then and there such that I'd have a functioning vehicle which I could drive to the mechanic for alternator replacement at my convenience.

September 20, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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