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Roadside Assistance Service — Why It’s Important

A wrench and jack on the ground next to a car with a flat tire

It’s never a good time for a dead battery, but winter is the worst. Stranded and cold are a terrible combination. Not looking forward to that experience? That’s why it’s important to have reliable roadside assistance service.

On-the-Road Peace of Mindcar battery

A roadside assistance service membership ensures that if your car won’t start, gets a flat tire, overheats, runs out of gas or breaks down in any number of ways, you can call one phone number and help will come to you. Additional members of your family can be added to your membership, too. Check the program’s policy for details.

Trained, Professional Help

The best roadside assistance programs cover you nationwide. In big cities, some will have their own fleets of technicians and vehicles. Outside of those areas, the best roadside assistance programs partner with reputable auto service professionals who are well trained and courteous.

Not Your Car? Not a Problem

Most roadside assistance programs cover you, not your vehicle. So, if you have a dead battery or get locked out of the car you’re driving — a friend’s, a rental, a company car — you’re covered, and help will be on the way as soon as you call.

What If My Car Can’t Be Fixed on the Spot?

A sign of a good roadside assistance service is free towing that will take your car to a program-approved garage or even to your favorite mechanic if they’re within the mileage limitations. If your car’s battery can’t be jump-started, many roadside assistance vehicles come to you with replacement batteries on board. They can test your old battery and swap it out on the spot. If you just ran out of gas — don’t worry, it’s happened to all of us at least once — most roadside assistance units carry enough fuel to get you to the next gas station.

Shop Around

Not all roadside assistance programs are created equal. Some offer different service tiers, while others have restrictions on how many times a year you can use the service. And don’t forget that there may be a waiting period of a couple of days after you sign up. That’s as good a reason as any to start the process now and not wait until your car breaks down in the middle of a snowstorm.

Bottom line? A roadside assistance program is like insurance: It’s a really good thing to have before you actually need it.

Check out all the monthly deals available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on roadside assistance programs, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photos courtesy of Mike Hagerty and Morguefile.


Mike Hagerty View All

Mike Hagerty is an automotive journalist whose work has been featured on radio, TV, in print and online since 1997. He's the Publisher and Editor of, and contributes car reviews to the Los Altos Town Crier and Previous outlets have included KFBK and in Sacramento, California, the ABC television affiliates and Hearst-Argyle and Emmis radio stations in Phoenix, Arizona; AAA magazines for Arizona, Oklahoma, Northwest Ohio, South Dakota and the Mountain West and

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