Dealing with Vehicle Breakdowns on a Mexico Road Trip

Keeping your car well serviced and maintained ought to minimize the chances of your car breaking down.

However, even the best maintained vehicles can experience sudden failure when you’re on the road in Mexico and you’ll need to deal with the situation, whether you’re in the middle of a town or city or on a (remote) highway.  This article shares some practical tips and advice for dealing with vehicle breakdowns.

‘Angeles Verdes’ (Green Angels) on Mexico’s highways

On Mexico’s interstate highways, Angeles Verdes (Green Angels) patrol the roads, looking for broken down vehicles, and helping with minor repairs and, surprisingly frequently, selling fuel.

  • They ride green-colored trucks (thus the name); sometimes it’s a tow truck, and will provide free help, although they will charge for fuel if you need it, as well as any car parts.
  • They’ll arrange to tow you to the nearest town if the situation calls for that. It’s appropriate to tip the mechanic(s).
  • Angeles Verdes can help with immediate repairs and fuel, but their service does not substitute the coverages offered by an insurance based roadside assistance plan—that, in addition to mechanical support can also include rental car provision while your vehicle is being repaired, and repatriation in the event your vehicle becomes undriveable.

Dealing with roadside breakdowns

Dealing with a vehicle breakdown in Mexico will depend on where you are and what cover you have in place to help you.

  • There is no better coverage in a breakdown situation than to have a team of mechanics and recovery vehicles prepared to come to your aid when your vehicle fails in Mexico.
  • We recommend that when you purchase auto insurance you buy the optional breakdown coverage and roadside assistance. This is especially helpful if you are on a remote highway and/or it’s nighttime.
  • If you are in a large town or city when your car fails, someone may come to your aid to help you move the car to the edge of the road while you wait for breakdown assistance to arrive.
  • If your car is rented and the rental agreement includes breakdown coverage, call the rental car agency and ask them to mobilize their breakdown service.
  • If you are on a major highway, especially toll-roads, a patrolling vehicle from the Angeles Verdes might find you and help you (see note above).
  • If you have roadside breakdown coverage as part of your auto insurance coverage, you can instead contact the insurance helpline and have assistance sent to directly your broken down vehicle.
  • Note that cell phone coverage can be scarce on remote roads across Mexico; tolled highways have wired phones posted every few miles. If you are on a non-tolled highway, and there is no cell phone coverage, you may need to walk to find a cellphone signal or walk back to the nearest town or village to summon help.

Beware of ‘fake breakdowns’

Principally on major highways, and especially non-toll roads, some deceptive people might stage a breakdown to lure a potential crime victim. Because of the risk, the best advice is to ignore people who are broken down on the highways.  Instead of stopping, you might alert highway police or the Angeles Verdes (see above), if it’s practical to do so.

Roadside breakdown and medical coverages

Good insurance brokers offer a comprehensive range of additional support services, which are optional, but are worth considering when you are driving in Mexico.  The two most important are:

Breakdown coverage

If your car breaks down while you’re driving in Mexico, roadside recovery will provide you with the essential support you need to get your car repaired and mitigate risks of becoming stranded.

Roadside assistance may include things like delivery of emergency fuel, towing services, dealing with flat or damaged tires, locksmith support, jumpstart assistance, and provision of lodging and a rental car while you wait for your vehicle to be repaired, and repatriation to your home country in the event of a write-off.

Medical assistance

a policy that provides medical coverage will provide round-the-clock medical assistance on your road trips, including in the event of a serious accident, land and air medical evacuation and coverages to support you and your travel companions, for example with accommodations and transport while you convalesce.

Arrange breakdown coverage

Mexperience’s auto insurance associate offers a comprehensive range of additional services that provide peace of mind when you’re taking a road trip in Mexico, including roadside breakdown and travel assistance, and medical coverages that can include medical evacuation.

Get an Auto Insurance that includes roadside breakdown assistance

Mexperience is pleased to refer our readers to MexPro auto insurance, which offers comprehensive coverages valid in Mexico using English-language policies backed by a fully-licensed US insurance broker.  Their insurances cover third party liability, provide legal assistance, and you can opt for medical and roadside assistance to be included.

Quote for Auto Insurance

Learn more about driving in Mexico

Mexperience offers articles with insights to help you prepare for your road trip and drive confidently in Mexico.

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