Breakdown Abroad

Technically, we didn’t actually breakdown but we still managed to frequent the local garage twice in the same week.

Our Nerja stopover was a little more planned than our other destinations – we needed someone to give The Duke the once over as we had a mild problem with our starter motor.  I won’t go in to more detail because I’ll just embarrass myself (I have no idea about motors), but there was a problem and we needed to get it sorted quickly.

We’d been given a local contact for an English mechanic in the area which was perfect because let’s face it, we all have nightmares of breaking down abroad and then having to have some sort of conversation in broken English and Spanish about what’s wrong with it and the dreaded question of how much it’s going to cost and how long it’s going to take to fix.

Luckily for us, our contact came through big time.  Dave, our mechanic, was from Liverpool – he looked at our van straight away, told us what was wrong and what needed to be done to fix it.  So we came back at 9am the next morning, left the van there and went exploring for the day in Nerja and were back on our campsite for 8pm the same evening.  No messing around at all and the bonus was that he didn’t rip us off.

Happy days, right?


A couple of days later, all packed up and ready to venture off to our next destination (Gibraltar), Eamo started up the van and… nothing.  The Duke desperately wanted to turn over but it was having none of it.  The orange car and padlock symbol that was lighting up the dashboard was never a good sign so Eamo was, once again, back on the phone to Dave.  He was so helpful and quickly told us that it sounded like our key had given up the ghost and we would need a new one, which meant we were going nowhere!

Unfortunately there was nothing Dave could do and referred us to the local Fiat dealer. That’s never good – we instantly knew that was going to cost a bit.


Luckily for us, the nearest Fiat dealer was only fifteen minutes down the road.  Two days later, early doors, we gave our neighbours on our campsite a good laugh as we were pulled off of our pitch by the recovery vehicle and pushed out of the gates (the trees on the site were too low to be loaded on to the back of the breakdown truck).

Long story short, we had to get a replacement key and because we bought our van second-hand and only got one key with it, it meant that Fiat also had to obtain the vans unique key code so it could be programmed to the immobiliser.

Four days, two taxis, four nights in an airbnb in Nerja and €425 later and we were finally back on the road.

Moral of the story – if you have two keys, take two keys with you and no matter what you do, make sure you have good breakdown cover – it’s so important.  We are with AA Scenic and they couldn’t have been more helpful.  They sorted us a recovery vehicle with no issue at all and called us twice throughout the day to make sure we were ok and if we needed anything.  Turns out we needed somewhere to stay for 4 nights whilst our van was in the garage, so we booked an Airbnb.  We kept the AA updated on what was going on and they quickly sent us an expenses claim form, told us to fill it in and that we could claim the costs back for the taxis and accommodation.

If you’re ever in and around Nerja/Torrox and need your car or moho looking at then be sure to give Team Noria a call and ask for Dave.


C x

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