All of a sudden, a mighty bang, various rattling and scraping noises and a noticeable list to starboard. I brought the car safely to a halt and jumped out in the torrential rain to find the driver's side front tyre flat
Soaked almost immediately, I dragged the spare wheel and tools out and, having jacked the car up, found that the wheel didn't want to come off the hub. Putting my hands behind the upper part of the wheel and tyre, I intended to pull the wheel off. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there wasn't and type left in the inner edge. Completely shredded
A quick inspection confirmed that the road spring had broken. SO, bolting the wheel back on, I called the AA.
Now, the place where |i work has an awful lot of pencils, erasers and rulers which are classified Top Secret so security is somewhat irksome for the likes of me. Eventually though, the AA patrol confirmed my diagnosis and called out the transporter.
Unfortunately, somebody decided that a car with a broken road spring and shredded tyre was drivable so sent out another van patrol, the driver of which was apologetic even as he arrived and did little more than re-call a transporter, informing me that he was going to raise a complaint on my behalf.
Anyway, the good news was that my parts breakdown cover would see to the cost of the replacement spring but not the tyre which is simply not covered under the parts breakdown cover.
The problem was, to get the car to my usual garage would have been impossible owing to the (by then) lateness of the hour so either I would be stranded in Sheriffhales (the back end of beyond) or have the car dropped off at my house, leaving me to obtain onward recovery, or leave the car in situ for recovery during the garage opening times. None of the solutions being ideal.
The recovery transporter driver though, suggested that if I agreed, he would take the car to a Halfords Auto Centre just three miles from where I live, drop it off, and then take me home. The big advantage being that Halfords Autocentres are approved AA repairers and I wouldn't have to pay out for the repair and then wait for reimbursement. So all in all, the best possible outcome from a bad situation. I got home just before 23:00.
I was back at the garage well before opening time this morning where I explained the presence of my car looking very sorry for herself.
Within 5 minutes I was waiting for a bus home, having been told that the car would be ready by 16:00 TODAY I expected the car to be there until Friday at least.
I asked for them to replace the nearside spring as well, as you might expect and, having been dropped off at the garage at 17:00, found the car was, indeed, ready to go, with two new springs and a new tyre.
Even better, the AA had told the garage that as a gesture of goodwill, owing to the previous night's debacle with the transporter, they would pay for a new tyre on a pro rata basis, depending on tread depth (ie. wear). The garage told them the tyre was less than 5% worn so they paid for the complete new tyre, leaving me only the cost of the nearside spring to pay
So, VeeKay was back in running order less than 24 hours after the breakdown including several wasted hours awaiting the transporter and the fact that she was parked outside the garage overnight, so another several hours of no progress.
All in all, I'm happy that the incident ended a heck of a lot more happily than it might have done, and the AA breakdown parts cover was straightforward and honest and nothing like the horror story that I'd heard