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RAC to the Rescue

Tim and I made a detour to IKEA in Essex on the way home from Shoreham-by-Sea. The cold I was developing on our last day was bothering me, so after we left IKEA I started reading on my Kindle to keep me distracted from feeling miserable. I asked Tim to stop at the next services for a loo and I turned on the interior light to continue to read. All of a sudden, the interior light went out and so did all the dashboard lights. Tim tried to put on a turn signal and discovered we also didn’t have turn signals, and turning the wheel became difficult. Fortunately, we were right at a services stop, so we barely made it into the Shell station before the car gave up.

We waited a few minutes and tried to turn back on the car. Nothing. So, we went inside the Shell shop, used the loo, and then tried again. Nothing. We went back into the Shell shop to ring the RAC and were told it would be a 75 minute wait.

We trudged back to the car and bundled up in layers and got back in the car. We tried using a torch (US: Flashlight) to read by, but the torch soon ran out of batteries. Fortunately, the RAC van showed up promptly and the RAC man got to work.

He suspected it was the alternator, and said that if he could source a part after hours he could put it on and it would cost £150. We agreed and a waiting game began as the RAC representative got on the phone to try and track down a part. They found the part, but needed someone to bring it out to us. Apparently this is a volunteer job done by the auto supply people, so if someone doesn’t want to answer the phone, they don’t have to. After an hour of waiting, we gave up. Our RAC man needed to clock out at 10PM, so he had to ring to have a tow truck brought to us, since we were looking at two hours back to our home, and then another two for the RAC truck to get back to it’s base. That was going to take us another hour long wait, so we decided we had better at least pick up sandwiches in the Shell shop.

After getting our food, the tow company rang us and told us the driver was putting on his boots and it would be about 20 minutes or so, depending on traffic.

The tow arrived around 10PM, and we walked into our house around midnight.

The plans were for the RAC to come back in the morning and tow us over to our regular mechanic in Lincoln. When the RAC arrived in the morning, he offered the same offer as the man last night did – that he could get the part and fit it and we’d only have to pay £150. We agreed, and off he went to pick up the part and I came back into the house to stay warm.

I glanced out the window several times and saw him working on the car. When he finally put the hood down, I came back outside to discover we still had a problem. The issue wasn’t the alternator. The RAC man determined that we had a faulty wire, and that was causing the problem. We wouldn’t have to pay for the alternator he tried to install, but he would have to tow the car into Lincoln to get it looked at by the mechanic.

It cost £450 to fix because after they fixed the wire, the alternator was fried and they gave us a genuine Skoda alternator (which was £280 instead of £150). *sigh*

But kudos to the RAC for doing everything they could to avoid us needing a garage. And thanks to the Shell station attendant, too. He turned up the heat for me when I came back into the shop several hours into our wait, and asked me if I needed a blanket (I was wearing a skirt). He also chatted with me and told me that I “sound like a Northern girl” and he thought I sounded more North than American! LOL.

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