The AAA - the American Automotive Association - is a pretty insane deal that is well worth paying for each year, even on a tight budget. The current annual fee for the basic level is $48.
I love AAA. You get free car tows, free lockout services, gas delivery if you run out, tire changes and minor mechanical repairs. All for less than the cost of one tow out of pocket.
But i secretly really love the side freebies the most: free maps and tourbooks and TripTik routings, identity theft protection, free DMV services, discounts on tons of stuff for showing your card (eating out, hotels, campgrounds, car repair services, auto parts at NAPA, rental car discounts, passport photos, tickets to all kinds of entertainment options).
With the upper membership levels you can even get free international maps and guidebooks, notary signatures, locksmith services for your home, car repair line advice, travel insurance, concierge services, route support, ride assistance, global travel emergency services, car fax reports, 24-hr medical assistance...there's more, but this is a good enough list I think.
They also sell car insurance and life insurance for better prices than Geico.
If you drive a less than perfectly maintained car, then even the basic AAA level is a very smart frugal option.
What do you think? Do you have this service, use another roadside service, or just take your chances on your own?
Do you enjoy the free maps and the TripTiks?