Roadside assistance in Sydney


I’m a long-time member of the NRMA.

I recently had a poor experience with roadside assistance. My car overheated and I had to arrange a tow. While the initial call to customer service was good, in terms of communication / troubleshooting the issue and recommending a resolution.

I was then provided with an ETA for the tow truck of 60 minutes. Which while not great, was acceptable.

After waiting for 1 hour, I realised that I had the NRMA app on my phone. And the app was indicating that I still had a further 60 minutes to wait. So I called the helpdesk back, and was then told by the person who took that call - that service calls could take between 1 - 2 hours. Whereas the first call handler had very clearly stated that the tow truck would arrive within 1 hour. She didn’t mention anything about 1 - 2 hours.

After 90 minutes I received an SMS from the tow truck driver saying that he was on his way. When he picked me up, I asked him when he received the job, and he showed me, basically when he sent the message that he was on his way.

So for the first 90 minutes nothing happened. I wasn’t happy about that.

Lodged a complaint with NRMA. After waiting two weeks for a response, I sent a follow-up and then received a “standard form” response which didn’t address any of the specific reasons for the delay in my particular instance.

So I’m looking to change providers. I can see that the best rated service provider appears to be RACQ. But that in other states RACQ uses reciprocal arrangements.

I’m based in Sydney.

Would RACQ be the best option for Sydney metro or would another service provider be a better option?

Thank you


The RACQ may not accept members in other states, but even if they do, they would simply use the local service, NRMA in NSW, so it would be exactly the same.

And as per my post in another topic, I would not join the RACQ again based on unsatisfactory previous experiences.

RACQ reviews on Product Review.

More 1-star than 5-star reviews.


You need to be a permanent Queenslander with a Queensland Address for the road side assistance package.


Welcome @VeeDub

Your Car Insurance company may provide road side assistance as part of the package you negotiate with them (this may be of benefit if you don’t insure with NRMA in the case of @VeeDub) . Or who you get your services done with also may provide similar eg MyCar’s Gifted Assistance Many dealerships also now provide complimentary assistance if the car is maintained at the Dealership.


Hi @VeeDub, welcome to the community.

Not necessarily. I get the impression you think that your tow job was deliberately delayed/withheld for some sinister reason. The tow job could have been queued at the NRMA end and not the tow truck end. This is often done to prevent tow truck operators cherry picking those jobs which give them the most money. This is also the way taxi companies work when there are more jobs than drivers.

While it may seem a good idea, it is likely that the organisation you change to contract out their services to the NRMA… and at worst, the NRMA prioritise tows to their members than non-members… meaning non-members experience even more delays during peak times.

This is poor customer service and appears to be the issue at hand. Hopefully the NRMA passes your complaint onto the call centre so that providing optimistic information doesn’t occur in the future with other members

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My primary issue is that I was initially informed that the tow truck would arrive within 1 hour.

Then, the two truck took 2 hours to arrive (even after I followed up after 1 hour), and the tow truck did not receive the job for 90 minutes.

This was then compounded by the fact that after lodging a complaint about the service call. Upon waiting 2 weeks for a reply, and sending a follow-up. I received a “form letter” response that could have been sent 1 minute after my complaint was received; that didn’t address any of the specific circumstances about my complaint (i.e. if there are lessons to be learned - which I believe there are - these lessons have not been learned).


(First off, let me say that I am a NRMA member, but have no other relationship with them.)

The time it takes road service to get to you depends on many things. Mondays, rainy days, hot days, the days after a holiday, peak hour, etc are generally busier for the NRMA and it takes longer to get out. It also depends on the time of day, and where you are broken down vs where the road service personnel and their depots are. A two hour wait is not unusual.

The ETAs provided are a best guess estimate. The services are triaged. If a child is trapped in the vehicle; if the vehicle is in a dangerous situation; if the occupants need urgent assistance; or if the vehicle is needed for say an emergency they will be put at the head of the queue. Then it depends on whether the queued services preceding yours take the ‘average’ time or not, knowing that the NRMA road service people will assist till the problem is resolved, or they have tried everything they can do with their available resources.

I am sure you would want the same level of service provided to you.

In addition, I have been told that jobs are not allocated directly to the tow vehicles (unless the vehicle is clearly undrivable). The standard road service is consulted first to see if they can assist. Only if they can not get you underway, or if there is no available road service will the job go to the tow truck. So perhaps your job went into the queue and was only given to the tow truck after it was apparent that road service was either not available in a reasonable time, or the road service couldn’t help.

Based on all of this, I think that you might cut the NRMA road service call centre staff some slack as I am sure they were doing their best, and gave you the information available to them at the time.

I agree that their response to your complaint could have been better handled, for example by providing you with the above information.