While thousands of commuters who were left stranded may not have been impressed with the heavy rains in the United Arab Emirates over the course of the last few days, the region’s downpours have been good news for car recovery services.
With roads and even homes being flooded, there was an influx of telephone calls from motorists to car recovery firms seeking assistance because their vehicles had stalled on the nation’s roads.
More than 100 phone calls were received by Spark Transport just on Saturday, according to employee Junaid.
A regular day sees the service receive about five phone calls, but on Saturday the phone seemed to not stop ringing, and many callers had to be turned away because the company simply could not cope with the number of customers.
All 15 tow trucks used by Emirates Car Recovery (ECR) were out on the streets helping motorists stranded in areas affected by the rains, with operators working all night with no breaks.
ECR employee Asif says that he had not slept for as long as two days because of the extra workload.
A number of tow truck operators in the region are charging as much as 50% more than their usual rates.
However, Qambar Car Recovery Services employee Yusuf says that companies have little choice but to do so because of the time it takes – up to four hours in some cases – to reach a vehicle and tow it away because of water logging generating heavy traffic.
Yusuf notes that without increasing the company rates so sharply, it would not make business sense to do it.
The move has not impressed some residents, however.
One Sharjah resident says that as much as Dh400 was demanded by a tow truck operator after his sedan broke down close to his Al Khan home.
When he tried to negotiate a lower fee, the operator hung up on him and he could not get through to any other car recovery company, forcing him to abandon his car and trudge home in water that was up to his ankles.
Many other vehicles have also been abandoned throughout the UAE.
The weekend saw auto mechanics in similarly high demand.
Car mechanic Runku, who works in a Sharjah garage, says that he and his assistant repaired 11 two-wheelers and more than 20 cars on Saturday in comparison to the usual four on a normal day.
The vehicles suffered similar problems such as wet spark plugs and damaged connection rods, with water often entering the air intake system and then heading to the fuel system.
According to car experts, cars can experience mechanical problems from even just a small puddle and end up stalling.
Drivers should always take their cars slowly through puddles in order to avoid water getting splashed into the vehicle’s upper section.
Anyone who drives in the UAE should take out car insurance.
The recent heavy rainfall is an indication of the many forms of damage that vehicles can suffer and it is important to have the correct car insurance coverage.