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AAA won't tow Tesla

We had an accident last night which resulted in the passenger side wheel control arm breaking rendering the car not able to be driven. We have had AAA service for many years so I called them asking for a flat bed truck. After a fifteen minute or so delay they returned my call and told me they can not tow Teslas, especially if they have been in an accident. The call center operator told me even though AAA are certified to tow Teslas, they are pondering their options to do so.
Tesla Road Service came to the rescue and provided a Seattle area specialist tow service to get the car onto a fly bed truck. As the front end was only four or five inches from the ground due to the broken control arm, the tow driver devised a way to create a block between the tow straps and underbody to gently lift the car.
Has anyone had such an experience with AAA or do you use Tesla Road Service?

Wow, this is disturbing, but glad that Tesla Road Service came through for you. Wonder if they are worry because of the battery?! Ironically I added my new Tesla to our existing AAA-Texas car insurance. I need to call them back and verify this.

Not good. I was also dismayed to see a generally negative Tesla article in the AAA magazine last month

http://encompassmag.com/2014/06/auto-tech-the-enigmatic-tesla-model-s/

Don't Tesla road service and AAA call the same flatbed?

@ KevinR

the article to me is completely worthless. It said nothing about performance of the MS. Seems like all he wanted to do was to write a negative article about the car. I wonder if he will also write similar articles about the Prius, i3 and i8. Guess they have to find a way to fill the pages of that magazine.

@arldent

I agree-- normally I don't call attention to that stuff (or any articles in Seeking Alpha)

@KevinR: Wow, I just read that article you linked to, and it's more than just a little negative. Someone else tried to link Tesla to horrible graphite mining in China, which they do not use as their source, and Tesla got them to print a retraction, since it was false. So then the author says "for these reasons and others", he brings up the Standard & Poor's "junk bond" rating. Huh? Even if it were true, how do bad environmental procedures lead to a bad financial rating of a bond?

Looks like someone's short TSLA. No one seems to complain about the lead in bullets that's spray all over in shooting ranges and left in lakes and rivers from fishing weights. Let's put this in perspective. Very few Tesla's are in serious enough accidents to cause leakage of the battery and when the batteries needs replacing, Tesla is taking the old ones back. I'd worry more about lead in the environment.

AAA is just a business, and I can see it's in their best interest to be anti-Tesla. They make money on selling services that Tesla provides for free. In addition, like dealers service departments, they benefit from unreliable ICE cars. They like cars that break down often, run out of gas, require a jump or require towing. It's too bad they are going down this route, but it is understandable. They used to be a lot more active in progressive thinking.

Had my car towed twice by AAA. Both times were for a flat tire that could not be fixed by normal fix a flat can.

We kept our AAA because of their emergency charging trucks. I'm going to give them a call about this event. If they say they don't tow, I'm cancelling.

The chance I'll need an emergency charge is virtually nil.

I just called AAA member services and they said that they definitely tow Teslas. They checked with a supervisor to verify.

I just verified with AAA, too. One of their supervisors confirmed that Teslas are covered.

Sounds like there are a few unenlightened local managers at AAA. Sorry to hear about your unfortunate accident and AAA experience.

I guess you call always call Tesla

I was curious. In the manual, it mentioned that there is a tow hook somewhere in the frunk area that you can screw into a threaded hole that is behind the plastic front grill. I have looked around and haven't been able to find where that tow hook is. Any more specific recommendation where I should be looking?

@Rocky
I think the hook came in some time after VIN16K, so I can't help you there.

You know it's not gonna be good when they get something fundamental like the base price wrong, especially when overstating it by $20,000 dollars. Yeah, that's a sign of quality research and fact checking right there.

See page 136 in the new owner's manual. It give directions on how to hook up, if the car doesn't have a hook in the frunk.

Newmodel_s_owners_manual_na_english_5.9-1.pdf

@Rocky
The hook is underneath the carpet.

I had AAA hesitate on the phone about towing my BMW when I told them that I needed a flat bed because it was so low to the ground. I persisted and then they said it would be a longer wait for a flatbed.

At the end of the day it is a business decision for AAA and I see their hesitance to come.We bought the service years ago while our two daughters were at home and driving. We thought four drivers, four cars, two older cars, we will need help and we have used AAA a few times for dead batteries. In hind sight the call to AAA was knee-jerk. The Tesla Road Service folks were typical Tesla,,,,,, Awesome. An hour after the first call the Tesla rep called me back to make sure it was handled. We just bought the new BMW i3 so we have two new cars. The chance of us running out or juice is nill,like a couple of you have mentioned. I don't think we have a need for AAA any more.

Member since 1999 and continuing.

I'll be darned...I was unaware the S&P factored in pollution from Chinese graphite mines when reviewing bond ratings (or "Tesla as an investment," as the article says). Oh wait, that's right, they don't! I don't think this guy's a short...he's likely at least understand bond ratings. I think he was just too lazy to do much research other than to take the car for a quick drive.

AAA, like most roadside companies, are basically just a dispatcher to a network of independent tow operators. As with most things, there are good tow operators and bad tow operators. This problem is exacerbated in low population density areas as well as very high density areas. The same operator may decline or "slow walk" a AAA call but jump right on a Tesla Roadside Service call due to contract pricing. I think your best bet is to always start with Tesla and then go to AAA rather then the other way around.

I've been a member of AAA when the kids were driving on my policy, but I may cancel now. I emailed AAA using their website and mentioned the article, I'll post what they say in response (if they give any).

Towed me after a flat tire no questions asked. Flatbed. I drove it right onto the truck.

AAA pulsed me out of a small ditch covered with ice. They were a big help.

I emailed the editor of Encompass magazine, stating I thought the article was inaccurate and misleading. His response (I've left my name and greeting line off, but you get the point):

"AAA Colorado fact-checked the Tesla Model S review at least four times before publishing it. We’re willing to consider printing a correction for any factual error you find in the review. We will not have the space necessary for printing contrary opinions, only corrections of factual error.

For the record, AAA Colorado is grateful for your membership, and we’re happy to serve you.

Like you, I admire the Tesla. It is an engineering marvel. If I had the means, I would strongly consider buying one. But I would do so knowing its distinctive carbon footprint and environmental impact.

The pollution problem with the Tesla is not just the toxicity of its batteries, but also the difficulty in recycling them. Traditional 12-volt car batteries are so much easier to recycle. It is the most recycled product in the world, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In the U.S. alone, about 100 million auto batteries a year are replaced, and 99 percent of them are turned in for recycling.

Also, the electricity needed to recharge Tesla batteries has its own environmental impact. Perhaps you see the hundreds of coal-carrying train cars traveling south along I-25 every day. I do. Someone is burning that coal to generate the electricity that you and I consume. The idea of increased coal mining and coal burning to meet the demands of EVs upsets a lot of people.

Will the batteries in electric cars be improved someday—with less toxicity, and more sustainable power? Most certainly they will. Will someone solve the issue of recharging them, perhaps through solar recharging? Will Tesla improve its record for recycling? Elon Musk seems highly motivated, and innovative. Until he comes up with his solutions, the Tesla remains “enigmatic”—an engineering marvel with higher than expected environmental costs.

Tom Hess
Editor
EnCompass by AAA Colorado"

SMinnihan. Long time no see, attaboy.

P.S. Always nice to hear from the BMW sales staff.


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