So... you're in the AA. a cautionary tale

Foul hooked

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So today my car started playing up, but no worries i'm in the AA. problems started when my battery light came on and the "charging system fault" message appeared. That was quickly followed by a complete electrical systems meltdown. Random warning lights coming on and off, wipers went halfway across the screen by themselves (it was not raining) and stayed there, then the warning lights all started coming on again and stayed on. Then i had no indicators, "gearbox fault" came on the dash and i had no ABS and worst of all the steering locked solid. No way was i going to get to the garage, but as i was only about a mile from home the best thing seemed to limp home and call the dealership.
They informed me that they do not have a recovery service except for warranty issues where recovery is included and they suggest that i get the AA to bring the vehicle in.
No problem as i am a member. Big problem, i do not have home start, as i always thought that having a second car we could always jump start if needed. This was obviously nore than a flat battery! Now the AA said that as i was at home i was not covered, despite my protests that i broke down elsewhere but managed to limp the car home where it would be safe. Unless the car was more than half a mile from home not covered.
Moral is if you do not have home cover and you develop problems, better to park it up and call them out. Cost me twenty quid to add home cover for the remaining three months of my membership plus forty odd for a call out as it was same day.
At least he diagnosed the problem and if can get the part will come back tomorrow and fix it, or if not get it towed to the garage where they can fix it when the part comes in.
Just in case anyone wants to know, it was a busted alternator belt! i was thinking it was a fault with the main electrical control unit due to all the random faults. Modern cars have so much electrical drain (even the braking and steering servos are electric, none of you're old fashioned hydraulics these days) that five miles without charge from the alternator and every system started shutting down.
 
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So what caused the belt to snap, it’s not a common occurrence on modern multi rib belts. How old is the vehicle?
 

Foul hooked

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5 yr old 66 plate jag xf, 93000 miles on the clock. Dealer serviced since new.
Years ago, when things were simpler, it would of the been the first thing I looked at, but have had some sensor faults on various systems previously, so when everything started going Pete tong assumed it was some sort of computer fault. AA chap said it was probably due to heat causing it to go brittle and with the recent freezing weather just accelerated it? Sounded a bit dubious to me, haven’t had a belt go on me in over 25 yrs.
 

John Step

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A lesson learned about saving on the full AA package I guess but in the end sixty quid is not the end of the earth to get rescued?
 

Dave

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On a similar note my wife's car's alternator shorted out and blew the main fuse on her car whilst pulling out of the drive.
She is in Green Flag but no home start cover so they arranged recovery to a garage but we had to pay for the recovery.... £116

I'd have towed it there myself but at the time my Hilux was in the dealers that morning having some warranty work done
 

Foul hooked

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On a similar note my wife's car's alternator shorted out and blew the main fuse on her car whilst pulling out of the drive.
She is in Green Flag but no home start cover so they arranged recovery to a garage but we had to pay for the recovery.... £116

I'd have towed it there myself but at the time my Hilux was in the dealers that morning having some warranty work done
Yeah, done plenty of towing, both ways, in the old days when all we could afford was old bangers. Trouble is, thought about asking mate, who has a duster, to give me a tow but with no brakes or steering, as they are electrically controlled, thought it would be a bit dodgy. Another case of modern cars being too clever when you can’t even tow one if there is no power.
 

rd115

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I think the serpentine belt interval is 90,000 miles on the XF so wanted a new one anyway. Could have just been a duff belt,, manufacturing defect etc for it to snap. they usually have some headroom built in but will chirp / squeak towards end of life.


I'm getting an XFR later this year / early next year, can't wait :D
 

Tinca Steve

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That will teach you not to go Spanish.
My Volvo is mot'd and serviced by Volvo and I get everything free, home and away, hotel if needed or another car.
 

Foul hooked

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Correct me if I have misunderstood. You seem to be complaining that the AA wouldn't provide you with a service you hadn't paid for.
Not complaining as such. Just a warning to others that whilst the first reaction is to try and get home, if you do not have home start then better to just call them out to the roadside. My error was in thinking at the time that as the car would likely need recovery it would be easier and safer from home than on a busy road. I once had to be recovered from on the A14 and it needed a police roadblock to get my car safely onto the tow truck. That was a very scary experience that I would not want to repeat.
 

Arry

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The AA are a bunch of shysters... watch em...
A few years ago they left my lass (on her own at the time) waiting on a country road for 4 hours, I couldn't drive and pick her up as I'd had knee surgery the day before... they ratcheted up the price of our cover ( home start, any car etc) to £438 until we told em to FRO.. now with the RAC same cover for £209
 
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Tinca Steve

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16431895330234406054696881628759.jpg
 

TrickyD

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What happens with electronic handbrakes when the battery dies, do they lock on by default, or stay off ?
 

Peezartiste

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5 yr old 66 plate jag xf, 93000 miles on the clock. Dealer serviced since new.
Years ago, when things were simpler, it would of the been the first thing I looked at, but have had some sensor faults on various systems previously, so when everything started going Pete tong assumed it was some sort of computer fault. AA chap said it was probably due to heat causing it to go brittle and with the recent freezing weather just accelerated it? Sounded a bit dubious to me, haven’t had a belt go on me in over 25 yrs.
When I read your original post about the electrics, I thought, that sounds like you've got a Jaguar. Onthe Jaguar forum people are always commenting on the amount of electical faults they've got. If it's any consolation I also have a 66 plate XF, but had no trouble with it. (Shouldn't have said that, tempting fate)
 
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What happens with electronic handbrakes when the battery dies, do they lock on by default, or stay off ?
If electric actuated cable there is a release, if electric actuated calliper, then locked on until some power is applied.
 

Fugley-fisher

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If you don't have home assistance all the recovery company's will charge, the missis car recently was less than the the stated distance rac wanted an additional 150 pounds to collect it, so I drove it gingerly the 4.5 miles to my mechanics, it felt like a miss fire due to spark it was a coil pack, 400 quid later the 4 coils and thermostat and housing and fluid all sorted, cars who would have em .
 

Foul hooked

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If electric actuated cable there is a release, if electric actuated calliper, then locked on until some power is applied.
Mine was saying brake not applied. further to your original query as to why the belt should break, well i found out and its not good.
Apparently the main pulley has sheared from its rubber mount on the drive shaft. got it to Jaguar and they are saying could take weeks if parts not in stock.
Expect i will need to be sitting down when they give me the bill too.
 
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