When you need your car towed, you probably do what most people do and call AAA. But if you have a unique problem with your car, you may wonder if AAA will be a good choice.
Here are the answers to seven questions that people often ask about AAA Towing.
1. Will AAA Tow a Car with Expired Tags?
You might think that it doesn’t matter to AAA if your car’s tags are valid or not, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.
AAA does tow cars, but it doesn’t see itself or the way it helps drivers as a traditional tow truck company or service. AAA thinks of itself more as a service for drivers whose cars have broken down or been in accidents and need help getting back on the road.
Because of this, AAA has a national policy that says it won’t tow any car that isn’t legal to drive on the street in the area where it is asked to do so.
Even though it is clear in the AAA policy that cars with expired tags will be towed, many members have had trouble with this policy in the last year or so, mostly because of the pandemic.
Getting a temporary tag extended or getting a permanent tag for a car that only has a temporary tag has become harder because many DMV offices have cut their hours, closed down, or are now only open by appointment.
AAA thinks that its current policy helps cut down on calls from members who may be trying to use its towing services without paying. So, if you need a tow that is mostly for convenience or salvage, you will have to call a different tow truck company to get the help you need.
AAA won’t tow a car that isn’t registered for other reasons, like if it was stolen or was at a crime scene.
2. Will AAA Tow an Uninspected Car?
AAA won’t tow your car if it doesn’t have a current state inspection sticker, just like they won’t if your tags have run out. AAA thinks that a car that has not been inspected is not legal to drive on the street in that area.
Again, AAA sees this as a salvage tow rather than one where the driver’s car is broken down and they need help right away.
Also, just because a car hasn’t been checked doesn’t mean it’s in bad mechanical or other shape. So, if your car isn’t in good enough mechanical shape to be driven safely on the road, AAA won’t tow it anywhere, no matter if it has been inspected or not.
If you need to have a car that hasn’t been inspected towed, your best option is to call a private tow truck service. If you need your car towed to a garage for an inspection, an auto dealer to trade it in or sell it, or a junkyard, calling AAA won’t help you at all.
Keep in mind, though, that your AAA membership is tied to you, not to the car you had when you bought it. This won’t make much of a difference if the car hasn’t been inspected, but it could be the difference between getting a tow and not getting one.
3. Will AAA Tow My Car from My House to a Repair Shop?
Again, if you call AAA to have your car towed from your home to a nearby repair shop, you won’t have any luck.
Even though you might think this isn’t fair because your car probably isn’t in good mechanical shape, AAA will remind you of its national policy that says it doesn’t provide its members with salvage or other convenience-related towing services.
As you probably already know, AAA’s towing services are only for members whose cars break down suddenly while driving on a highway, city street, or somewhere else. AAA thinks that many people would use the towing service if it wasn’t limited to certain situations. By sticking to a policy that some may think is too strict, AAA can help keep more drivers safe and help members who really need help.
If your car needs to be towed to a nearby repair shop, it will be up to you to hire a tow truck service. If your mechanic is close by, the tow truck company probably won’t charge you a lot for this service.
But make sure you know how much you will have to pay before you let the tow truck driver hook up or load your car.
4. Will AAA Tow Someone Else’s Car?
Last, you can ask a question that has a “yes” answer. If a car that isn’t yours breaks down, you can call AAA and have it towed to a repair shop.
As we’ve already said, when you join AAA, your membership is tied to you, not to a certain car. Whether you are driving a family member’s or a friend’s car, you can call AAA for roadside assistance and have the car towed to a nearby repair shop.
Also, many AAA members forget that they can still use this roadside assistance towing service even if they are not the driver of the car.
If you are a passenger in someone else’s car and have your AAA membership card with you, you can call AAA and get a tow to a nearby repair shop, where the car can be fixed and you can get back on the road.
You should never think that you can just give your AAA membership card to a family member or friend and expect them to be able to call AAA and get a tow or other roadside help.
AAA policy says that the actual AAA member needs to be at the scene where the car is broken down and, of course, needs to be either the driver or a passenger in the car. If not, you will not be served.
5. Will AAA Tow a Motorcycle?
Here’s another question that can be answered in the affirmative!
AAA can, in fact, pull a motorcycle. But if you are a AAA member and plan to ride a motorcycle or ride as a passenger on someone else’s motorcycle, roadside assistance for motorcycles is not automatically included in your basic membership.
To have AAA tow your motorcycle, you will need to sign up for the optional AAA Motorcycle coverage. This coverage costs an extra $35 per year and covers not only a motorcycle but also motorcycle trailers and trailers pulled by motorcycles.
This coverage will give you more than just the ability to have AAA tow your motorcycle. These include emergency fuel delivery if you run out of gas, payment for any locksmith services you might need, and the motorcycle trailer coverage that was already mentioned.
Don’t worry about pulling your motorcycle behind a car. When a AAA towing service comes, the driver will have all the tools and know-how needed to safely move the motorcycle to a new location.
As an example of their training, AAA tow truck drivers will not secure the motorcycle too tightly because they know that doing so can damage the motorcycle’s suspension system.
6. Will AAA Tow a Project Car?
The answers to the other questions have all been yes, but this one will be both yes and no.
Like many car fans, you may have finally found that one special project car you can work on in your garage on the weekends. But whether AAA can get it to your garage or somewhere else will depend on a number of things.
For instance, you’ll need to think about where your project car is currently legal to drive on the street. If it is, AAA should be willing to tow it to your home or a mechanic for you. But if it can’t be driven on the street, you’ll need to make other plans for towing.
If you buy your project car from a private person, it will probably be legal to drive on the street. But if you found your next great car project in a junkyard, AAA will consider this a salvage tow and refuse to help you.
If you want to buy a car to fix up and use as your project car, make sure you know if it can be driven on the street. If you don’t, you might buy a car and then be surprised when AAA won’t tow it to your house.
If this happens, it could make things awkward between you and the seller, and you might not be able to buy your dream car.
7. Will AAA Tow to a Junkyard?
AAA won’t tow your car to a junkyard, so you’ll have to find another way to get it there.
As in other similar situations, AAA doesn’t consider towing a car to a junkyard as emergency roadside assistance, but rather as a salvage tow. Whether your car can be driven on the street or not, if you need it towed to a junkyard, AAA probably won’t be able to help you.
Also, as was already said, AAA doesn’t tow cars that aren’t registered or have tags that have expired because there is always a chance that the car was stolen or is part of a crime scene. Keep this in mind when you need a tow to a junkyard. It’s not uncommon for thieves to steal cars and then sell them right away to junkyards for quick cash.
If your car breaks down while you’re driving it, you can’t safely start it or drive it anywhere else, and you decide on the spot to take it to a junkyard, this may give you a way around AAA that works in your favour.
AAA policy says that if your car can’t work but is still legal to drive on the street, it will be towed for free. If you are a member of Classic, your car will be towed up to five miles from where it broke down to a place of your choice. If you are a member of AAA Plus, you can get a tow up to 100 miles away.
If you know what your AAA membership includes and what it doesn’t, you can avoid situations that can be expensive and embarrassing.