We have all been there. You are on your way to work, or just running some errands when you hear the distinct flap-flap-flap sound of a flat tire. Your heart sinks as you wonder if you will be able to replace it yourself when, suddenly, you remember you have AAA, but will AAA fix a flat?
AAA will fix a flat, their roadside assistance program will send a trained technician to inspect and install an inflated spare tire onto any vehicle the member is driving or riding in as a passenger.
To receive tire service from AAA, you must be a member, you must be present at the time of service, you must be able to supply your membership card and proof of ID, and you must have a serviceable, inflated spare tire. AAA will not supply a tire and may not install a spare that is improperly inflated or considered unsafe by the technician.
Read on to learn more about AAA and how to get help if you ever find yourself stranded with a flat tire.
What is AAA?
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a membership service designed to help motorists. The private organization started by supplying roadside assistance to its members but quickly became a leading name in the insurance space as well. Today, AAA provides services such as roadside assistance, discounts, and travel perks to more than 61 million members (about twice the population of Texas) through more than 1000 branches in the United States and Canada.
How Do I Join AAA?
There are two ways that you can become a member with AAA today—online or by visiting a local AAA office.
If you do not want to venture out to an office, or you do not have an AAA location near you, you can apply online at aaa.com. You will be asked your zip code, a bit of information about yourself, and which membership you would like to join.
After you have chosen your membership, you will be asked to pay with an approved payment method. As soon as your payment is processed, you will be able to print your membership card, and they will also send you a membership card in the mail.
You may join offline by visiting an AAA location, where an agent will walk you through the process described above. Additionally, you may call 866-222-6595 to find out more information about becoming a member, and to find a location near you.
Can I Use AAA Roadside Assistance the Same Day I Join?
All basic membership benefits become available to members as soon as they join, which means that you could use the basic features of your membership immediately after becoming a member. However, AAA does charge a $75 dollar fee if services are used on the same day as sign-up.
Additionally, Premier and Plus services (such as RV and motorcycle coverage) do not take effect until seven days after payment has been processed. If you do use your AAA benefits the day you sign-up, you will receive basic membership level services regardless of which membership you bought.
How Much Does AAA Cost?
The cost of membership may vary depending on where you live, but you can find the average price of membership below.
|Membership||Average Price||Roadside Services|
|Classic (Benefits start at once)||The average price is $56 a year, with each added member costing $36.50 per year.||Services include 3-7 miles of free towing, car lockout services up to $50, emergency fuel delivery services, and dead battery services.|
|Plus (Basic benefits start at once but it will take up to seven days for Plus benefits to begin)||The average price is $92 a year, with each added member costing $57 per year.||Services include up to 100 miles of towing, car lockout services up to $100, emergency fuel delivery services, and dead battery services.|
|Premier (Basic benefits start at once but it will take up to seven days for Premium benefits to begin)||The average price is $120, with each added member costing $77 per year.||Services include up to 500 miles of free towing, car and home lockout services up to $150, emergency fuel delivery services, dead battery services, trip disruption coverage, and one free day of a rental car.|
How Do I Contact AAA for Roadside Assistance?
If you are an AAA member and have found yourself stranded on the side of the road with a flat, you can request services in a few different ways.
Before requesting service make sure you have the following information ready:
- Your membership number (you can find this on your membership card).
- Your current location (or the location of your vehicle if you left it).
- The type of service that you need.
- The description of your vehicle.
- A phone number where you can be contacted if the technician has any trouble or questions.
Once you have that information handy, you may request help in one of the ways described below.
Online Using the AAA Digital Roadside Request Tool
If you have access to the internet through your phone, you can use the AAA Digital Roadside Request Tool. You can access this online tool by clicking the link or having the link sent to your phone by texting HELP to 800-AAA-HELP (800-222-4357). Once you access the online tool, you will be asked for some basic information about your situation. Enter the information and help will be on their way!
One of the best features of this tool is that it will send you updates through text telling you who your technician is and when you can expect them to arrive.
By Calling Customer Service
If you do not have access to the internet or prefer to talk to a live counselor, you may call 800-AAA-HELP (800-222-4357) to speak to a live representative. They will help you by asking questions and dispatching a technician to your location.
Does AAA Have an App?
Yes, AAA does have an app available for both iPhone and Android users. You may download the app online from your play store or text APP10 to 86792 to receive a link to download the app on your phone.
By downloading the Auto Club app, members can enjoy benefits such as:
- Quick access to discounts on everyday purchases, dining options, and much more.
- Comparing local gas prices to find the lowest price possible.
- Travel plans and discounts.
- Access a digital version of your membership card and insurance.
- Receive alerts and reminders before your bills are due, and pay them right through the app.
- Contact and receive roadside assistance.
How Often Can I Use Roadside Assistance?
You can request roadside aid up to four times per membership year (the twelve-month period after joining). This is true for every membership level and all service calls. For example, you will not get four flat tire service calls and four dead battery service calls. All help requests count towards the four-call limit.
If you find yourself stranded on the side of the road but have already used all four of your service calls, you may still request service. However, you will be charged an $80 fee for each added call
Additionally, if you have any earlier service charges that have not been paid for, you will not be able to use roadside assistance (even if it is within your four-call limit) until the earlier balance is paid.
Can I Call AAA To Fix a Flat Tire on Someone Elses Car?
Yes, you can use your membership if you are driving or riding in someone else’s vehicle. The rules surrounding who and what is covered under an AAA membership depend on the type of membership you have and which location you have a membership through. However, there are a few basic rules that pertain to all membership levels, such as:
- Your membership covers you whether you are the driver or passenger and will cover any vehicle that you are driving/riding in.
- You may use roadside aid up to four times each year for free. If you exceed this amount, you may still call, but you will be charged an $80 fee each time.
- Your membership applies to you alone and does not cover any other drivers of your vehicle. However, you may add anyone who lives in your household as an associate to your membership. This will cost you extra each year, the amount of which will depend on the type of membership you have.
- You or an associate on the account must be present at the time of service and you cannot use roadside aid if someone who is not listed on your membership is driving your vehicle without a member present.
- Friends and family may not use your membership to obtain benefits such as roadside assistance or discounts. However, you may use your roadside assistance calls for their vehicle if you are a passenger/driver at the time of services.
- If you use roadside assistance on the same day that you become a member, you will be charged a $75 dollar fee. This fee is non-refundable.
What is AAA Flat Tire Service and How Does It Work?
Flat tire service is just one of the many amazing benefits that members can access through the AAA roadside assistance program. After requesting help, a service technician will be dispatched to your location, where they will install your spare tire for you. You may use roadside assistance to fix a flat in any vehicle that you are currently driving or are a passenger in. This includes rental cars as well.
However, if the technician decides that your spare tire is unsafe, or you do not have an inflated spare, you may utilize towing benefits (the distance your vehicle can be towed will depend on which membership you have).
- Bring a spare tire to you.
- Inflate your spare for you.
- Drive you somewhere to inflate or purchase a tire.
- Install a tire if it is not inspectable.
- Install a tire that is not made to match your vehicle.
- Repair or supply roadside service for any other issues other than installing a serviceable spare.
- Change the agenda without going through AAA and they should not solicitate services other than those offered through AAA.
Step-by-Step Process for Using AAAs Roadside Tire Service
Have you found yourself on the side of the road with a flat tire? Are you an AAA member? Follow the steps below to access your membership benefits.
- Pull over to a safe place.
- Check to make sure you have a spare tire and that the tire is both inflated and in decent condition. This is important because if you do not have a spare, you may need to have your vehicle towed. However, it is vital that you explain your exact needs to the agent, otherwise they may not send the correct agency to help you. For example, if you do not have a spare, but you tell the agent you need tire service, they may not send a technician with a tow truck. Make sure you describe your situation and needs exactly to the AAA agent.
- Gather any information you may need during the phone call (explained above).
- Contact AAA using one of the methods listed above.
- Tell AAA if you are in an unsafe location because they have procedures for that.
- Make sure you are in an area where you can stay with your vehicle and wait safely for the technician. If you are not in an area where you can safely stay with the vehicle, discuss the situation with the agent who can recommend other options.
- Ask the technician to identify themselves when they arrive. Make sure their information matches the information you received from the agent.
- Be prepared to show the technician your membership card and proof of ID so that they can identify you.
- The technician will then inspect your spare and decide what to do from there.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.