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I am a junior here at Radford University and I have had a car here since my sophomore year. Up until recently, I have been lucky with having no issues or accidents with my car. However, that all changed two weekends ago on my way home from the Virginia Tech football game.
Now, the day of the game it was pouring rain, and driving on Prices Fork Road is annoying already. As I am crossing over the bridge I see a decent sized rock on my right with a car coming on my left. I move farther into the middle thinking that I have plenty of room on both sides to miss the car and the rock. Unfortunately, for my right front tire, I thought wrong. Immediately I hear and feel a “THUD,” and I know I have my first flat tire since getting my license. I try to pull over as far as I can, but I realize I have no service to call my boyfriend, AAA, or anyone else that I can think of who knows how to change a tire. With the little of knowledge of cars I have, I do know not to drive on a flat, so I inch my way up the road hoping that no one is flying around the curve behind me. I stop as soon as I have one bar of service and I search in my glove compartment to see what information I have in there. Luckily I do have an AAA card, so I begin to call them.
For anyone who has never had to call AAA before, you are first asked to select which service you need. Whether it is to check your account, see if you have previously called, or if it is your first time calling. Then, you enter your account number and an operator begins to ask you more questions to get a better idea of your situation. The operator told me that a tow-truck driver would be out to my location in about 40 minutes and to check to see if I had a spare. By that time my boyfriend was there and able to check to see if I had one or not, which I did.
The tow-truck driver, Scott, was there in about 20 minutes and took about 15 minutes to hook my car up. We headed about a mile or two up the road to the gas station on the corner and he put the spare tire on in no time. He explained that I would need to purchase a new tire as soon as possible because spares are only meant for about 25 miles. He also showed me where he had flipped the mud flap up when trying to get the equipment on my car. Scott said he was really sorry, but that these things happen sometimes when the tire was flat the way it was. He told me to go to Campus Automotive in Blacksburg, Virginia and talk to Johnny, the general manager there. By the time I would arrive on Monday, he would know all about the issue and fix it free of charge.
By the time Monday rolled around, I made my way to Merchants Tire and Auto in Christiansburg, Virginia, where the employees there were incredibly helpful. They explained what tire I needed and that I can have a different brand of tire as long as the tread is extremely close to the same. The tire that I hit the rock with turned out to be the oldest which helped because then the car would still drive smoothly. In 30 minutes, my car had both a brand new tire and a front-end alignment. I waited until Tuesday to go to Campus Automotive and when I arrived, Johnny already knew what I was talking about. After jokingly saying that the free of charge day was Monday, he took my car back to fix it. Before he was done he had me come back to make sure the mud flap looked up to par, which it did. After about 15 minutes my car was out front and ready to be driven back to Radford.
Having a car at Radford University is great because you have a way of transportation without relying on other people. However, accidents do happen and they will cost you a fair amount of money. In the end, the rock on Prices Fork Road cost me just about $240. I learned that AAA is a lifesaver, Campus Automotive sticks to their word, and Merchants Tire and Auto are extremely helpful to individuals like me who know little to nothing about cars. The one piece of advice I can give is to make sure not to hit any rocks, because they will always win in the end.