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  1. I don't know if this is a question, a warning or a rant but having just experienced the worst car journey of my life, I am feeling pretty traumatised and having flashbacks of the nightmare I had yesterday. These are just the highlights. I was driving from North Perthshire to Lancashire and just as I was south of Glasgow, the car jolted and my car's amber engine light came on along with a red light with a message saying ENGINE SYSTEM ERROR. I pulled onto the hard shoulder, switched the engine off and then restarted. Everything seemed fine for about five minutes and then it happened again. The car's revs were capped at 2,000rpm and due to the road and driving conditions, this meant that there were long stretches of incline that I could only achieve 20mph. I have 'Silver' breakdown cover with Eversure/PEX (for reference only, I have included the details below) I phoned them and explained my situation but the operator refused to offer any assistance saying that my policy did not cover warning light issues. I tried to explain that it was not a just a warning light, there was an error light. I was told that so long as my vehicle could move, I had not broken down. I asked to speak to a manager and was passed to a supervisor and got the same story. Eventually, I got to speak to a manager but he just said the same although he did offer to send a truck to remove the car from the motorway for £100 but said that it would probably take an hour and a half before they arrived. I refused this because I was so outraged that I was being denied assistance and I had no way of paying it. I was told that it was standard within the breakdown industry not to cover warning light issues and kept telling me to read my policy documents (as if I had access to them right then - they were e-mailed to me and were on my laptop). Again, I tried to explain that it was an error light, not a warning light. In the heat of the moment, I said something which later realised was not true, I said that this was the first time I had ever needed breakdown assistance with any company and was disgusted that on the first occasion that I needed it, I was being refused. However, I later remembered that I had an old camper many years ago for which I needed assistance (with either the RAC or AA - I don't remember), once for a broken fan belt (the battery light had come on), once for a burst radiator and once for a detached exhaust, none of which, by their criteria, would qualify for assistance - I could have driven until the battery was flat, I could have kept filling the radiator with water and I could have carried on driving making a racket with no silencer. The upshot was that as far as they were concerned, there was no reason that I could not continue my journey, even if it meant limping along at 20mph with trucks driving three feet behind me flashing at me. Consequently, I had no choice but to drive up the hard shoulder until I reached the next exit which was Abingdon Services where I tried to think what to do. I was 190 miles from my destination. I figured that I could maybe take the back roads but no matter how I tried to configure CoPilot on my phone (strictly avoid motorways), it continued to present a route which took me onto the motorway. Eventually, I changed the satnav vehicle to bicycle and it got the message. I hadn't really got a clue where I was or where I was going. I drove about thirty winding miles along ancient bumpy, pot-holed roads linking villages and hamlets imagining the carts which passed a hundred years before me with my car juddering away thinking that I was in a nightmare that would not end. I then found an A road and after some time hit Carlisle at rush hour so it took almost an hour to get from the north to the south and heading to Penrith. Still having to stop to let the understandably impatient past and then stopped for half an hour to let the traffic calm down. In the outskirts of Penrith, at one point, the satnav told me to turn right but before I even considered it, immediately to my right, the road I was supposed to take was blocked by this: I just found the photo on a local news site. I had thought that my memory had exaggerated it. Still at the mercy of the satnav to avoid the motorway, I realised I was heading into the Lake District and followed it blindly until I saw a sign for Kirkstone Pass which, for anybody who does not know, is 1:5 in parts (20%) and by this time it was pitch black. The prospect of retracing my route was too much so I attacked Kirkstone Pass ascending in first gear at about 5mph. After a while, I then came to a turn which seemed a bit wild but did as I was instructed which led to a track crossing a dual carriageay. I followed this for a mile or so until I came to a farmyard with a locked gate. At this point, I reverted to car mode and I had no option but to go back and join the dual carriageway on which I just kept pulling over to let traffic past. Each time I pulled over, I switched the engine off and restarted it which gave me a few minutes of grace before the error came on and I suddenly had no power again. After struggling through Kendal and trying to get onto the A6 but found myself on the M6. Thankfully, by this time, the traffic was fairly light and although there were still lorries who seemed to enjoy driving right up my backside when there were two clear lanes to overtake, I eventually reached my destination. It usually takes just under five hours but I was in the driving seat for eleven. Everybody I have spoken to is outraged that the breakdown company refused to help including the mechanic who is now hopefully fixing my car. The policy document does state under things which are not covered, 'Assistance whereby your vehicle dashboard warning lights are activated, however your vehicle has not broken down and is not immobilised'. As a former aircraft mechanic, I consider amber lights to be warning lights, red lights are faults. The LCD display said ENGINE SYSTEM ERROR, which is not a warning, it is saying that something is wrong. Every web page I have looked at today says that red dashboard lights tend to mean that the car requires immediate attention. Red means stop in every language, doesn't it? I'd be curious to know what other people think. When I get home, I intend to look into getting this clarified and make a formal complaint. Information from the insurance certificate: Section 1: Basic Cover Roadside Assistance 30 minutes Local Recovery Up to 25 miles National Recovery Transport to home or destination Section 3: Silver Cover Offers the following in addition to Basic Cover Benefits: Onward Travel i) Alternative transport ii) Overnight accommodation (£75 per person, £250 in total) iii) Replacement vehicle (£100) Home Start At or within 1 mile of home address Callout Limit 6 callouts Claim Limit Max £2,500 total claims per year
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