A creative fix implemented by a AAA tow driver kept Tony Knaapen’s failed family beach trip from turning into an expensive ordeal.
“This past Memorial Day, my wife and daughter and I decided to pack a picnic and go to Sunset Beach, about 80 miles south of our home in Walnut Creek.
“We were more than a third of the way there when the tachometer in our Dodge Grand Caravan started swinging wildly. I quickly moved to the right-hand lane and got off at the next exit. Just off the freeway, the car died. I tried the engine but it wouldn’t start. Since we didn’t know what had happened, I called AAA.
“In just ten minutes a tow driver arrived. First he got us to a safe spot, the parking lot of a nearby shopping center. Then we noticed the side of the car was covered with oil, so he got underneath—and discovered that the hose to the transmission fluid had come unclipped or had broken.
“When we had had the Caravan’s oil changed the day before, the people there had told us that the transmission fluid needed flushing. Somehow, when they did the work, they didn’t reconnect the hose just right. Transmission fluid had leaked over the engine block and blown out the back of the car.
“We knew we wouldn’t find a mechanic working on the holiday, and getting towed all the way home would be tremendously expensive. So our AAA tow driver somehow reclamped the hose, towed us to a service station, and helped us put in several quarts of transmission fluid so the engine would engage. Then he followed us as we drove around to make sure the car would function well enough for us to get back home.
“His customer focus and initiative salvaged what could have been a horrendous day. We didn’t get to the beach, but we got home safely and didn’t spend a fortune on a tow. The place that had done the autoflush cleaned everything for us the next day and saved us an expensive repair.
“We’ve been AAA members for more than 25 years. Experiences like this one serve as reminders of why we stay.”
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