2012 Fiat 500 Sport: The Day After
August 09, 2011
The Fiat 500 is available with an optional spare tire. In U.S. models, the spare is stored not in the cargo area, but under the rear of the vehicle.
Our car has no spare, so the morning after its tangle with the black lagoon, I make arrangements to have it towed to Stokes, our go-to tire shop.
If our 500 had the optional compact spare, this is where it would be located.
1: A Little Yelp?
AAA tells me that my membership only covers towing on trips of 7 miles or less. Stokes is about 10 miles away so I decide to do some research to find a decent towing company. I turn to Yelp and choose a company with glowing reviews and a 5-star rating. I make the call and the dispatcher tells me a tow truck can be there in 15 to 45 minutes.
Fifty minutes later, the truck hasn't arrived, so I place a follow-up call. A different dispatcher answers and he tells me he has no record of my previous tow request. He says a tow truck can be there in 15 minutes, and 12 minutes later, the tow truck arrives. I'm thinking maybe not quite 5 stars, but whatever.
2: Trucking It
The tow truck arrives. Because of how low the 500 rides to the ground, it takes the driver about 15 minutes to carefully load it onto the flat bed. The driver is portly, capable and outgoing, and appears to be in his 50s; he moved here from Manila 17 years ago. Thirty minutes later we arrive at Stokes, and by then I've learned that he has a four-year old granddaughter and a two-year old daughter, and that he once towed a vintage Mercedes-Benz from car show to car show.
3: The Estimate
Later, our Stokes service provider calls and gives us the verdict: The tire needs to be replaced. One must be special ordered and delivery will take place the following day; we're told that we will be able to pick the car up by the end of that day. Our cost for the tire is estimated at $155.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 6,880 miles