Interesting Experience with Toyota Roadside Assistance Tonight

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So, I'm at work (I work 4p - 2:30a), and I get a call around 6:30, from the wife (who's currently 5 mos pregnant) that she's on the highway on the way home from work (she recently got a job as a preschool teacher, and my 9-month-old son goes to daycare at the same preschool), and got a rapid loss in tire pressure on the left rear tire. Luckily she was able to get off the highway and to a gas station, but the tire completely deflated.

No big deal, we have a year of free roadside assistance. I tell her to call roadside assistance and we'll play it by ear. A short time later she texts me to let me know that the guy called and said he'd be there in about 30 min. Cool. We were worried that she'd have to wait a long time.

Well, a little while later, I get a call from the wife that the dude doesn't seem like he knows what he's doing, and has somehow got the 4Runner at a precarious, unstable angle, and is afraid it's going to fall off the jack. I ask to talk to him, and he has trouble describing exactly what the issue is. I ask him if he can get someone else out there who can help, at which point he tells me that the only option is to have his dispatcher call a tow truck company and ask them to bring the right jack for the job, but he has no idea how long that'll take. Meanwhile, I know that the 4Runner has a bottle jack that's perfectly appropriate for the job.

Not knowing how long it'll take someone else who knows what the heck they're doing to get there, I go ahead and leave work and head up there.

When I get there, I find that he's got it jacked up with a crappy Harbor Freight floor jack (1.5 ton, looked very cheap and unsteady) with 2 wood planks under the control arm mount. Wrong jacking point, and not very stable. Not high enough to get the spare on, and too unstable to lift any higher. No chocks, either. All he has is this cheap floor jack and a cheap emergency scissor jack like what comes with a car. Not a jack stand in sight.

I grab the truck's bottle jack, stick it under the axle where it's supposed to go, and done. Spare is mounted in a few minutes, wife and son on way home!

Shoot, I'm glad I was able to run over there real quick! He claimed he'd been doing this for 10 years! How do you not know how to properly jack an SUV?

When the wife said someone was on the way, I had all the confidence in the world that whoever showed up would be competent, professional, and would have them safely on their way within a few minutes. I was mistaken! This was my first-ever experience with a roadside assistance service.

I think Toyota needs to do something to ensure that the "organizations" they're contracting with to provide roadside assistance services know how to change tires on Toyota models, and are at least generally familiar with their vehicles!

Before he left (he said he had 6 other stranded motorists waiting), I suggested that he at least get a better, heavier-duty floor jack!
 
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Joined
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Georgia/Retired
When the wife said someone was on the way, I had all the confidence in the world that whoever showed up would be competent, professional, and would have them safely on their way within a few minutes.
What in modern society would have given you this idea? People can't add oil to an engine these days. I was at Kroger this past summer and two adult males were struggling with using the air hose to put air in their tires.

There's no such thing as professionalism or competence these days. It's maximum profit for minimum expenditure. Integrity and competence are simply not in the description any longer.

I'm glad to hear that you got the flat tire changed out for the spare. I guess you're lucky to have a spare these days.
 
Joined
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Unfortunately with shop classes almost extinct in High School, among other things it doesn't suprise me. However the roadside assistance should have definitely been more trained than that if that's his job. I'd definitely recommend contacting Toyota Corporate
 
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What in modern society would have given you this idea? People can't add oil to an engine these days. I was at Kroger this past summer and two adult males were struggling with using the air hose to put air in their tires.

There's no such thing as professionalism or competence these days. It's maximum profit for minimum expenditure. Integrity and competence are simply not in the description any longer.

I'm glad to hear that you got the flat tire changed out for the spare. I guess you're lucky to have a spare these days.
This.

My guess is that guy is paid minimum wage and expected to provide his own tools by his employer.

To me this reflects poorly on Toyota, or at least the part of their organization (closest dealer possibly) that this guy is associated with. I know it's a completely different brand and class of vehicle, but my dad had a Mercedes back in 2009/2010 with roadside assistance. He had a blowout on the highway, and the guy who showed up was a tech affiliated with the local dealership.
 
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As my 50 years of being a professional mechanic & Diesel mechanic Brother-in-Law tells me all the time about myself; he says that I am a better mechanic than many of the people he knows who are getting paid to be a mechanic. And many of them have been doing this 20, 30 & 40 years for a living.
 
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thank goodness that o.p.’s wife was able to get off the road to a safe location intially. this cobjob response by toyota could have turned out very bad if it had occured on the margins of a busy highway. we live by thin strands of good luck and smart decisions. driving to a safe spot is paramount under such circumstances. toyota corporate needs to know...

thankfully my limited experience with roadside assistance offered by aaa has been better.
 
Joined
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This is definitely one of those times that we all would like to have someone who is competent, to show up quickly... and get the job done right, the first time.

Those days seem to have disappeared. and as I've said before... we'd better get used to it. It doesn't appear that any of it is going to get any better, any time soon. One level above crap seems to be the goal now.

I'd complain to Toyota about whoever their current road service provider is. Maybe if they hear it enough, they'll make changes. Or not.
 
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I used Progressive's really cheap on car insurance roadside assistance, I believe like $10-$20/year a vehicle.

It is quite similar likely they put the "job" out there into a queue for a local provider to "grab". They are of varying ability and usually try a $25k F150 pickup truck with basics and less experienced roadside person first over a $100k+ flatbed or tow truck and more expensive tow professional. It works out mostly but not always as I found once my vehicle quit (alternator failed) but sent a guy in pickup truck to jump it who left obviously and another tow company showed up promptly. The tow person explained he saw job show up and was driving empty to local drag strip and could make some money moving my vehicle on the way.

Personally I think AAA is way more qualified BUT you pay way more and no expectation they will arrive quickly in peak times (winter event like icing or snowy roads)

Glad it worked out. My wife just calls me and has me deliver vehicle and leaves me to deal with tow company. Not her gig she says.
 
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JHZR2

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Dec 14, 2002
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New Jersey
I had a blowout, bad spare, and decided to get my car towed home (AAA, and on I-95 no less). Hours later (this was middle of the night at this point) they come, what a mess. I don’t think they even tied the car down properly.

So nothing surprises me.

But this thread needs pics!
 
Joined
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Los Gatos, CA
Wow, scary stuff. Working on an incorrectly lifted vehicle is no joke.
Heck, a simple YouTube video tell you how to support a vheicle.
Shame on Toyletta.
 
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Joined
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South of Metro Atlanta
I think Toyota needs to do something to ensure that the "organizations" they're contracting with to provide roadside assistance services know how to change tires on Toyota models, and are at least generally familiar with their vehicles!
Sorry, but what customers need to do in the F&I room at the dealership is grow a pair and start asking pointed, meaningful questions about all that crap that is gleefully advertised as some pie-in-the-sky dream solution to any little problem that might come up, but probably won't, on your new car.

They want to push "2 years of FREE!!!!!! ToyotaCare" on you like it's a pound of gold they are giving away. "Free roadside assistance!!!" Well, if it's free, you get exactly what you pay for.

This is why I don't do roadside assistance, with anyone. Not for $6/year from State Farm, not for $120/year from AAA or anyone else. If anyone has noticed, there's a lot of plain, ordinary small car-based SUVs and sedans rolling up to people stranded on the highway. These are contracted out to roadside assistance calls. People that sign up for about $40 to come change your tire. As you found out, no real qualifications or experience needed.
 
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