AA Breakdown Renewal

Received my obligatory renewal letter through the post from the AA that I had been with for 11 years now. I do still like them, but the prices are making me think otherwise. I used to call them out at least once a year, but personally don’t think it’s worth it at the moment when I can put the money into savings


The letter I received

To make your Gold Membership even better value, why not choose one of our great offers? Take a look at the details on the flap below.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to take advantage of a special offer, simply check your cover details overleaf and the enclosed Terms and Conditions and we will collect payment of £230.44 on or around 21st of May 2015. AA membership may cost a little more than some others, but to the 14 million people we look after, we give unrivalled peace of mind


Now, when I first joined AA I only paid around £50 membership for everything, which went up to around £130 on renewal. Fair enough. The policies have been increasing around £20 each year and for those people who pay by direct debit, if you don’t remember to ring up, your paying an extra £20 more each year on top of your cover.

If AA have 14,000,000 members each paying around £130 that is £1,820,000,000 or in other words (£1.82 billion) per year. If all the members only paid £50 each every year, that would be £700,000,000 (£700 million) per year they would make

I highlight doubt they’re suffering their losses and simply ripping people off. I’ll make rough estimates on their expenditure

10,000 Call Centre Agents @ 20k P/A – £200 million

4,000 Vans @ 20k P/A – £80 million

1,000 Recovery Vehicles / Driver @ 30k P/A – £30 million

4,000 Technicians @ 25k P/A – £100 million

Miscellaneous (CEO’s etc) – £100 million

All the above totals £510 million per year


I don’t know all the figures for AA, although they are posted on the website, basically they’re ripping people off who aren’t wise to following their money.

I’m not going to bash AA for their service. I think they’re amazing. They’re reliable and I’ve never had issues. I am going to bash them for their practices and rip off prices. If they want to attribute their rising costs to running costs then design a business model with a fixed fee and use it!


Anyway, I went on moneysupermarket and took  out some new cover @ £50 and cancelled my membership. I got a bit heated on the phone with the agent so I apologise to the agent which is why I become so blunt.


Anyway.  Would I join AA again.. Yes, without question, but at this moment I am trying to save money and can’t afford to pay lump sums of £140 in one go when I pay bills. Nor do I wish do be charged monthly

So they have lost 11 years of my business because they pissed me off basically

Flat Battery

Sooner or later it had to happen, my car showed all the warnings signs of a flat battery. Primarily it was weaker starting in colder temperatures, but it was also my remote key fob not working properly and slow power to winding the electric windows up. After my recent dilemma with a broken rear spring, the last thing I wanted to fork out money for was a new battery, but I knew it was eventually going to be one of those jobs.

Unfortunately. Or rather “sod’s law” I mentioned to the mother about the spring and said I’ll need a battery next as that is starting to show signs of failure….. never ever mention what’s about to go wrong with your car. The damn things are telepathic and just throw pissy fits when they want.

Well.. not really. That’s why they call it sod’s law.

Anyway, I can’t really fault the battery. Turns out it was the original battery installed in the car when it was first manufactured. My car being 10+ years old is quite good going so shows a testament to the quality of batteries used by VW. I tried using my booster pack but it was too low drained. I had no jumper cables around or anyone available to jump start my car so in the end I used my AA membership and called them out. (Hey I pay for Roadside, Relay and Home Start) so why not. Went back in the house and made another cuppa whilst I waited. When the AA were out he hooked up his Battery meter. The car was reading as 11V and 380Amps of power in the battery (batteries need 12V minimum to start) so a battery low in power. Soon as he hooked up his booster pack my car started. We let it run for 10 mins and it was showing as charging again.

The car would still start in warm temperatures but the strain was showing in the colder ones. So that same day I made sure I bought a new battery.

The one problem with diesel cars is they require big beefy batteries to cope with the extra strain on the engine. So it means you can’t just get an el-cheapo £50 battery unless you’re good friends with people in the trade.

After talking with euro car parts and discussing with halfords I managed to score a decent battery. Got it for £81.62

Now, the battery is a 74aH battery (amp hours) and 720 CCA (cold-cranking amps)

For reference to make it easier original battery is 72ah and 680CCA

  • Amp Hours – The battery “juice” how long you can run the vehicle components and electrics without the engine running before the battery goes flat (basically it’s run-time)
  • CCA – Cold Cranking Amps are how primarily used for cold starting the engine in really low temperatures. When you start your engine in low temperatures it puts extra strain on the battery and components. So a high CCA is needed for the extra “boost” that’s required

Generally speaking with car batteries, you can always go higher. As long as it will still fit in the engine bay

Now.. everything is hunky dory with my car at least, another few years of happy motoring aside from the usual services. I’ve kept the original battery as it would still do as a good spare for a Petrol Vehicle or generally testing with. Always remember to buy a decent battery

AA Membership

OK, so a thing I always forget about each year is calling up about my AA Membership.

Every year I get a renewal quote £20 higher than the last year and I look at the overall total and think how much of a rip off that figure will do to my bank account.

The trick with AA is that it works similar to car insurance, with your AA Membership, you accrue an effective no claims bonus. My renewal quote was £210 (10-year member) and I asked them to renew it at a discounted price. To which I received a new price of £135

Now I know over a year my initial breakdown cost works out at £0.57 per day, but with a discount it works out at £0.36 per day. Every little helps


The trick to remember is that AA like most companies need to increase their profits, if you look at your membership it will bump up every year. If I cancelled it, sods law I’d need it. I’d rather have the peace of mind and low cost. If you have a membership however unless you specifically call them up, they’ll make you pay the extra.


Always remember to try and penny pinch when you can. At the end of the day, it’s not your duty to feel guilty about hurting the AA’s profits. Your concern is to make sure you can get home safely.