7 Free Roadside Assistance In Canada Options (2022)

When was the last time that your car broke down and left you stranded on the side of the road?

Canada’s harsh winters can be especially tough on vehicles, leaving drivers stuck on the side of the road in the cold. If you’ve ever been there before, then you know – it’s not fun.

If you have roadside assistance, then you just need to sit and wait. If not, then you could be left in the cold. Luckily, there are some companies that offer free roadside assistance in Canada.

Let’s take a look!

Is Roadside Assistance Free In Canada?

Having access to 24/7 vehicle service can, quite literally, save your life in the right situation, which is why I recommend that all drivers have access to some type of roadside assistance.

Certain public highways may offer free roadside assistance through Transport Canada. However, this is usually only available near large cities, and is practically nonexistent on some of Canada’s longest stretches of road.

That being said, there are a few other free ways to get free roadside assistance in Canada, such as:

  • Applying for a credit card that offers free roadside assistance
  • Contacting your car insurance company
  • Contacting your auto dealership

If you ever find yourself in an emergency, you can always contact an emergency tow service to get your vehicle or call a local roadside assistance company to help you with your vehicle.

However, these options are always going to be the most expensive. Your best bet is to go through a roadside assistance service that you subscribe to (either free or paid).

How To Get Free Roadside Assistance In Canada

Whether you’re in the dead of winter or taking a summer roadtrip, it’s always a good idea to have a plan if your car breaks down. Paid roadside assistance programs are a good choice, but you can also get free roadside assistance in Canada by using one of the following methods.

1. Your Car Insurance

Your Car Insurance

If you have a good car insurance policy, then there’s a good chance that you’ll already be enrolled in a roadside assistance plan. When signing up for a new auto insurance policy, agents often recommend roadside assistance as an add-on or even offer it as a free perk.

If you’re already paying for it, then you may as well take advantage of it, right?

If you’re unsure whether or not your plan includes roadside assistance, then you should give your policy a quick review.

You could also try calling your insurance company’s phone number to speak to an agent for more information on your policy or log into your agency’s smartphone app.

Depending on your roadside assistance program, you’ll typically receive some services for free, such as:

  • Tire change
  • Fuel drop

For more expensive parts (such as a hybrid battery, for example), you may be required to pay for the part and a portion of the labour costs. If you need a tow, you’ll typically be entitled to a certain number of free miles, after which you’ll pay by the mile.

2. Your Auto Dealership

Your Auto Dealership

With retail auto sales declining, many dealerships are throwing in all the freebies they can offer to get new customers to sign on the dotted line. More often than not, this includes free roadside assistance, which can really help you if you’re in a bind.

The roadside assistance program typically doesn’t last for the life of the car. Instead, it’s usually valid for a year or two after your purchase date or until your financing period ends.

If you’ve recently purchased (or are leasing) a car from a dealership, this is one of the easiest ways to get free roadside assistance in Canada.

Depending on your plan, you may even receive free parts and repairs from your auto dealership.

3. Canadian Tire Free Roadside Assistance

Canadian Tire Logo

Canadian Tire is a large retailer that sells tires, outdoor gear, fitness equipment, and more. However, the corporation also offers banking solutions as well, including insurance, credit cards, high-interest savings accounts, and roadside assistance. Talk about a company that does everything!

You may already know about Canadian Tire’s roadside assistance plan. Plans start at around $70 per year and include towing, fuel delivery, ditch extraction, tire replacement, and more.

What many people don’t know is that you can get free roadside assistance through Canadian Tire if you have the Canadian Tire Triangle World Elite Mastercard.

All cardholders are automatically enrolled in Canadian Tire’s roadside assistance plan, free of charge. This is a perk the company offers to encourage more people to apply for the card.

Wondering whether or not it’s worth it?

Well, here’s a brief look at what the free roadside assistance plan includes:

  • 24/7 assistance (in Canada and the US)
  • Fuel delivery
  • Lockout service
  • 200km of free towing per instance
  • Winching and ditch extraction
  • Battery boost or jump-starting
  • Tire change
  • Trip accident help (up to $300 worth of credit)

With your roadside assistance plan, you’ll be entitled to five service calls per year, which is more than most people will need.

Lastly, your Canadian Tire roadside assistance membership allows you to save money through exclusive offers. For example, certain repair shops and retail stores offer up to 10% off to Canadian Tire members. If you tap into your free offers, this plan can really pay off.

4. BMO Roadside Assistance

BMO
  • How To Get It: Sign up for the BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard
  • Learn More: www.bmo.com

If you’re approved for the BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard, then you’ll receive complimentary access to BMO’s free roadside assistance plan in Canada.

This card is known for being one of the best cashback cards for groceries, as it offers 5% cashback on groceries, 4% cashback on transportation costs, and 3% cashback on fuel costs.

All cardholders are automatically entitled to receive free roadside assistance. That being said, the plan is rather basic and is nowhere near as comprehensive as Canadian Tire’s cardholder plan. Here’s what it includes:

  • 24/7 roadside assistance
  • Up to 4 service calls per year
  • Tire change
  • Winching and ditch extraction
  • Fuel delivery
  • Lockout service (if you’re locked out of your car)
  • Jump starting
  • 10km of free towing

The 10km of free towing is the real drawback I see here. If you’re stuck far away from your local repair shop or home, then you’ll have to pay for each additional mile after this. This can really add up and result in a costly towing invoice.

Canadian Tire, by contrast, offers 200km of free towing, which should be more than enough to get you where you need to go.

The other roadside assistance services are pretty standard, though, and are reliable enough if you’re broken down on the side of the road. I just wouldn’t rely on this free roadside assistance for towing.

5. TD Auto Club

  • How To Get It: Apply for the TD Cashback Visa Infinite Card
  • Learn More: TD.com

Like BMO, TD Bank also offers free roadside programs to certain cardholders. To get free roadside assistance from TD Auto Club, you’ll need to sign up for the TD Cashback Visa Infinite Card.

The TD Cashback Visa Infinite Card offers 3% cashback on fuel and groceries and 1% cashback on all other purchases. However, this card also includes travel insurance and free roadside assistance as a perk.

Cardholders are eligible to receive up to $2 million worth of medical coverage when travelling outside of their home province/territory, as well as 24/7 emergency medical service. This, combined with the free roadside assistance through TD Auto Club, makes it worth the $120 annual fee the card has.

Let’s take a quick look at what’s included as far as free roadside assistance goes:

  • 24/7 roadside service
  • Unlimited annual tows
  • Free towing up to 200km per instance
  • Free accident towing
  • Fuel delivery
  • Jump starting and battery boost
  • Flat tire change
  • Stolen vehicle emergency services (allowance for food, transportation, hotel)
  • Lockout service
  • Winching and ditch extraction

TD Auto Club offers a lot more compared to Canadian Tire and BMO’s free roadside assistance. The fact that you get unlimited tows is a big deal too, as few other roadside assistance programs offer this.

I really like the fact that TD Auto Club offers emergency services if your vehicle is stolen or involved in an accident as well. Here’s what you’re entitled to:

  • Accident towing (up to $200)
  • Short-term accommodation/meals (up to $200)
  • Rental car or transport (up to $200)
  • Transportation to repair shop from your home (up to $200)
  • Personal necessity allowance (up to $50)

This is perfect for travelers who plan on driving to another province. While your auto insurance plan may cover some of these things, your TD Auto Club membership offers a lot of extra perks. 

The Best Roadside Assistance In Canada: Paid Options

Technically, even “free” roadside assistance is paid for somehow. You’re either paying an annual fee on a credit card, paying for it through your insurance, or your auto loan payment.

If you don’t plan on getting a credit card, have a minimalist insurance policy, and your dealership doesn’t offer roadside assistance, then your best bet is to sign up for a paid roadside assistance program.

Here are some of the best paid roadside assistance programs in Canada.

6. Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

CAA Pet Insurance

CAA offers some of the best roadside assistance programs in Canada. The company offers three different membership tiers, including:

  • Basic membership: $75 per year
  • Plus membership: $119 per year
  • Premier membership: $149 per year

The Basic membership is only good for standard automobiles, while the Plus and Premier memberships offer RV service (good to have if you’re going cross-country in an RV).

The Basic membership includes all standard roadside services along with free towing up to 10km. The Plus features up to 200km per call, and the Premier offers up to 320km of free towing per call.

Your CAA membership can also be used for bicycle calls. That’s right – if your bicycle ever gets a flat tire or the chain pops off, you can get help, so you’re not stranded.

Each membership tier also offers increasing amounts of road trip accident insurance, which can be helpful if you’re ever involved in an accident while you’re travelling to another province. It can help you pay for hotels, transportation, food, and necessities until you get your car back.

Last but not least, your CAA membership entitles you to special members-only discounts at select retailers, entertainment venues, moving companies, auto repair shops, and more.

7. Canadian Tire Roadside Assistance (No Card Required)

Canadian Tire Logo

Above, I mentioned how you can get free roadside assistance from Canadian Tire by signing up for the company’s Triangle World Elite Mastercard. If you’re not trying to add another credit card to your wallet, though, you can also sign up for roadside assistance by itself.

The plan offers a gold plan for $99.95 per year and a silver plan for $69.95 per year.

The gold plan includes all basic roadside assistance and includes up to 200km of free towing, and five service calls per year. The silver plan is cheaper but only includes 10km of free towing and allows for three service calls per year.

I recommend going with the gold plan, as the extra $30 will easily be saved if you use it for just one long-distance tow per year.

You can also sign up for gold or silver family plans that cover up to five family members and their vehicles. This is great if you have kids approaching driving age and want to ensure they’re safe if their car breaks down.

As a Canadian Tire member, you’ll receive the same exact member’s discounts and exclusive offers that Canadian Tire card members receive, which is a nice plus as well.

5 Essentials To Keep In Case You Break Down

Having access to 24/7 free roadside assistance whenever you need it is a huge plus and can really save you when you break down. Often, even the best roadside assistance companies can take up to an hour or longer to arrive. So, it’s also a good idea to keep a few essentials of your own in your trunk.

12V Tire Pump/Air Compressor

These small air compressors can be plugged into your vehicle’s 12V power supply just like a car phone charger. Once the compressor is activated, you can use the tire nozzle connector to fill your tires back up. These are perfect if you have a flat or leaking tire.

Spare Tire, Wrench, & Lift

Most cars have a spare tire or “donut” underneath the trunk floor or the truck bed (if you have a pickup or SUV).

A tire iron wrench to take the lug nuts off and a lift is usually included as well, so you can swap the flat or blown tire for your spare. If these aren’t already in your car, then you should buy a set that’s made for the year, make, and model of your vehicle.

Extra Oil & Funnel

It’s easy to burn oil during long road trips, and low oil levels can severely damage your engine. I always recommend keeping an extra quart of oil and a funnel in the trunk for emergency top-offs.

Extra Engine Coolant

Coolant runs through your engine and keeps it cool. Occasionally, though, cars can leak coolant, which can lead to your vehicle overheating. It’s always a good idea to have an extra gallon of coolant in your trunk.

Jumper Cables or Jump Starter

Jumper cables allow you to restart your battery by connecting to another car, while jump starters already contain a charge and can power up your battery by themselves.

These won’t do much good if your alternator is bad or your battery is completely dead. However, they’re perfect if you’re having trouble getting your car to turn over in the cold.

Conclusion – What’s The Best Free Roadside Assistance In Canada?

Free Roadside Assistance In Canada

Many auto insurance policies come with free roadside assistance included. If your policy doesn’t offer this, though, then I recommend going through Canadian Tire.

You can receive free assistance by signing up for the company’s Triangle Visa Card or pay for a separate membership out-of-pocket. Either way, Canadian Tire is a reliable company that offers fair rates.

How would you like to get paid to drive? Keep on reading to view the best apps that allow you to make money with your car next!

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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