Mondays are always "colourful", and I don't mean just blue as in Monday Blues! Getting out of the weekend mood back into the working "groove" has always been "interesting". The most common thing that happens on Monday mornings for me is waking up late! This is usually because of me setting the wake up alarm for a different time to the weekday wake up time of 6.15am. It just so happens that last Monday morning we were "blessed" with very heavy rain early in the morning. I'm talking very early, like from four to five a.m. By 6 am the storm had died down to a little drizzle. In Malaysia rain in the morning usually induces deeper sleep, that plus with the alarm on the phone set for 6.30am means that I was 15 minutes behind in my getting ready for work routine! I have to leave home before 7 if I don't want to hit heavy traffic at the Bukit Antarabangsa area along the MRR II. I left at 7.05 so I was stuck in the slow moving traffic that morning. Fine, that was expected. But when I got to the road from UPM heading to UNITEN, I hit very heavy traffic, like as in gridlock! I mean along that short stretch of road, so close to my office I didn't expect to be delayed! It turns out that along that short stretch of road, there were 3 cars stalled, one right in the fast lane!

When I saw this I was wondering why on earth didn't the guy push the car out of the fast lane into the emergency lane?! Then I got closer and it turns out that the driver was a lady... but there was a man there helping her out...Just the week before one of our cars our friend's car stalled on the fast lane, albeit at a traffic light though but we managed to push it out of the way while we try to figure out what was wrong with it. Okay, my friend was lucky that he had 3 other men in the car to help push the car to a spot that is not in the way of the traffic. A car stalled in the FAST lane is a sure recipie for a traffic jam and during rush hour its a recipie for a gridlock!

As I passed I wondered what I would do if I were in that same situation. InsyaAllah I hope I would never find myself in that situation and I do service my car on time and keep everything in good working order but if it did happen to me and I was all alone in my car, I don't think I'd be able to push the car to the side, unless the road was down hill ofcourse.. So what does one do in that kind of situation? The first thing that came to mind was call the AAM. The Automotive Association of Malaysia (AAM) offer a host of road side assistance free of charge for members. My father has membership and he has used their services a few time, mostly for the free battery delivery service but as we have an old Volvo 240 still in our "stables", we have used the free towing service a few times too. So why doesn't everyone have AAM membership? Is it that expensive?!

When I finallay reached the office, oh - I was there in time, I went to check out what this AAM membership is all about and how much does it cost and whether it's worth it? So this is what I found below. Basically I've highlighted the 3 most relevant membership types out of 5 types. the sales pitch was taken directly from their website. Here they are in no particular order:

Basic Membership

The website says that his is geared towards families...

Why should I become an AAM Member?
Your trusted driving companion

Primary protection offering 24-hour breakdown and road assistance, car battery delivery service, insurance, road tax and driving licence renewal services, and a host of other benefits and privilleges for the discerning driver.
Services Highlight
  • 24-Hour Breakdown Assistance
  • Free towing and minor on-the-spot repair service in the Free Breakdown Zones
  • Outside Breakdown Zone claim is up to RM 200.00 one (1) time per year.
  • Free battery delivery service
  • AAM motor insurance (Autopal)
  • Vehice Inspection and Valuation Service
  • Car Care & Defensive Driving Courses
  • Technical Advice On Motor Vehicle
  • Lube Service At Selected AAM Centres
  • Third Party Accident Claims
Other Features
  • Exciting Tour & Travel Privileges
  • Reminder Service For Road Tax And Driving Licence Renewal
  • Other JPJ Related Errands
  • Legal Advice
  • Exclusive Mail Order Privileges
  • Special Discounts At Selected Service And Leisure Centres.
  • Attractive Discount On Car Hire Rates
  • Issuance Of International Driving Permit (IDP)
  • Issuance Of Licence, Sanctions & Permits For Motorsport Events
How much does AAM Basic Membership cost?

Elite Femme Membership

This it seems is targeted at the ladies....
Safety and Security for ladies on the move

Customized to the needs and requirements of today’s lady drivers, extending not only convenience but providing them with assured protection, safety and security whenever they are on the road. Benefits and privileges include on-the-spot minor repairs, an accident care programme, accidental reimbursement, coverage against snatch thefts, being chauffer driven to your doorstep, hotel accommodation in the event of breakdowns and accidents, etc.
Membership Benefits
  • Built in Touch and Go
  • 24-hour road assistance nationwide
  • Free minor on the spot repair service within free breakdown zone
  • Free towing service within free breakdown zone
  • RM360 reimbursement per membership year for Outside Breakdown Zone
  • Breakdown Care Programme : 10pm-5am
Insurance Benefits
  • Accident Care Programme
  • Worldwide insurance coverage for accident, death and disablement
  • Accidental medical reimbursement
  • Other privileges as accorded to AAM ordinary members
Safety & Security Benefits
  • Snatch Theft Coverage
  • Car key replacement
  • Hotel accommodation for breakdowns and accidents
How much does AAM Elite Femme Membership cost?

A1 Team Malaysia Card Membership
Comprehensive protection in the fast lane.

For the new generation of drivers and car owners who demands convenience, versatility and around the clock protection. Members enjoy all the benefits and privileges of a basic card membership in addition to a host of other services such as an accident care programme, on-the-spot minor repairs, accidental reimbursement, worldwide insurance coverage for accidents, disability and death, hotel accommodation in the event of breakdowns and accidents, etc.”
Membership Benefits
  • Breakdown Care Programme *12am-5am
  • Accident Care Programme *
  • Car key replacement
  • Hotel accommodation for breakdown and accident
  • Built in Touch 'n Go
  • 24-hour road assistance nationwide
  • Free minor on the spot repair service within free breakdown zone
  • Free towing service within free breakdown zone
  • RM 360 reimbursement per membership year for Outside Breakdown Zone
  • Worldwide insurance coverage for accident, death and disablement
  • Accident Medical reimbursement
  • Other privilleges as accorded to AAM Ordinary members
  • A1 Grand Prix tickets at a special price
  • Priority invitation to A1 TEAM.MALAYSIA activities & promotions
  • Hypertune privilege for aftermarket car accessories & performance products.

* Terms & Conditions apply.
How much does AAM A1 Team Membership cost?

The other two membership types are the Corporate membership, targeted at corpporations with a fleet of cars, and the Unicard which is basically membership geared towards students aged 21-23 years of age which is free of charge and you pay only if you need their services - at a discounted rate that is. Think of it as a pre-paid road side assistance. Hey, its better than calling up those shady tow trucks or listening to those guys on motorbikes that flock to "help".

Other services that AAM provides that I do find useful is a vehicle inspection service. A colleague of mine has used it and swears by it's usefulness. He was buying a car from a recond car dealer but asked the dealer if he could have the vehicle inspected first, at the buyer's cost ofcourse. The inspection was very through, the check the engine, transmission, suspension, the even checked the undercarriage of the vehicle. The car he had inspected turned out to have worn bushings that needed replacing. The cost of which would amount to a few thousand ringgits. Because of this "revelation" my colleague managed to bring this up to the dealer and he had 2 options: 1) He could get a discount amounting to the cost of the repairs or 2) he could get the bushes replaced by them but no discount. I think he took the discount and had the bushings replaced at a workshop of his choice. Of course the inspection wasn't free. It was about RM200 if my memory serves me right but the benefits of such an inspection is  readily quantifiable.

Okay this is turning into an endorsement for AAM but hey, good things should be shared. I may not have AAM membership myself as I really take care of my car and I know how to change a flat tire if push comes to shove. But how many of us know or am able to change a flat tire by the roadside if you find yourself in an unfortunate situation? Will you become on of those people causing a traffic jam because your car had stalled by the roadside; or even worse, stalled on the fast lane! If your answer is no then I seriously think that an AAM membership might just be for you.