I'd like to recommend the RAC's breakdown recovery after our Volkswagen Golf broke down in France.

You recently wrote favourably regarding RAC Foreign Travel. For over 40 years my normal cars have been an XK120 and XK150. Most breakdown firms do not cover cars of this age, although I have only ever called the RAC out twice for these cars - once for help to change a petrol pump, and once for recovery after a modern clutch fork broke. Last January I drove to Italy on a Saturday afternoon for a skiing holiday in a Volkswagen Golf bought while the XK150 was having an engine rebuild. Somewhere in the middle of France, on the motorway, the engine cut out.

I freewheeled into a rest area and phoned the RAC in Paris. They said that as the motorway was private they could not come in person but would send a recovery truck. Within 45 minutes a very nice man came with a flat back truck. He looked at the engine, put some more petrol in the tank, cranked it over a few times and said he would take us to a garage. We arrived at a garage in Chaumont to be greeted by an English-speaking courier complete with taxi and driver. They loaded our luggage into the taxi and took us to a Best Western Hotel and booked us in. They told us that as it was Saturday afternoon nothing could be done until Monday. Shortly after the RAC phoned to see if we were OK, and phoned us every day to see if we were all right.

On Monday morning we went to the garage to see what progress was being made. The mechanic could not speak English but showed me the coils from each plug and one of them smelled burnt. Unfortunately Volkswagen France did not work on Monday morning, but the car would be ready on Tuesday Morning. RAC Paris phoned us to confirm this. They also said that Volkswagen had recommended that all four coils be replaced. On Tuesday morning the courier and taxi came and picked us up, took us to the garage and waved us on our way. Later the RAC phoned our hotel in Italy to see if everything had gone well. On returning home they phoned me to see if I had had a nice holiday and did I have any comments.

The cost to me was the food and drink in the hotel, the cost of the four coils and a very reasonable charge for fitting and re-setting the computer. Is that a recommendation?

Asked on 15 September 2011 by FT, via email

Answered by Honest John
Phenomenal service and an excellent re-endorsement.
Similar questions
Please could you inform your readers of an experience we had in May of this year when travelling in France with our 2-year-old Skoda Octavia 1.4TSI. About 100 miles after leaving Calais we experienced...
I thought you’d like an update on a problem I referred to you a few months ago. Last summer, while driving in France, my 2003 Rover 75 Connoisseur diesel automatic emitted a cloud of black smoke and lost...
Regarding European breakdown cover, the compressor for the air conditioning unit of my 6-year-old Mercedes-Benz ML 270CDI failed, taking the V-belt and pulley with it. We had just crossed into NW Portugal...
Related models
Decent handling and comfortable on the move, impressive TSI engines, massive improvement over the previous Golf, high-economy Bluemotion models, high quality feel of interior, five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Ask Honest John

Value my car