Dubai: The rain may have brought pain to thousands of stranded commuters but for car recovery services, the heavy showers have come as a windfall.
As water flooded roads and homes, car recovery firms were flooded with phone calls from motorists seeking road assistance for stalled vehicles.
Junaid of Spark Transport said they received over 100 phone calls on Saturday. “It’s crazy… our phone hasn’t stopped ringing since midnight. We get around five calls on a regular day. On Saturday we got over a hundred in one day alone. Unfortunately we had to decline many callers as our hands are full,” he said.
Asif of Emirates Car Recovery said all their 15 tow trucks were out assisting motorists in affected areas. “Our operators have been working all night without a break. I myself haven’t slept for two days,” he said.
Many tow truck operators are charging up to twice their normal rates.
Yusuf of Qambar Car Recovery Services said they have no choice.
“It can take anywhere between three and four hours to reach a car and tow it to a garage because of the heavy traffic caused by water logging. We have no option but to increase our rates from Dh100 to Dh200. It makes no business sense otherwise,” he reasoned.
A Sharjah resident whose sedan broke down near his house in Al Khan said a tow truck operator demanded Dh400 from him. “I tried to bargain but he hung up on me. Calls made to other auto recovery companies didn’t go through as their phone lines were busy so I abandoned my car in the middle of the road, rolled my trousers and trudged back home through ankle deep water,” he said. Scores of cars were seen similarly abandoned elsewhere in the UAE too.
Auto mechanics also remained in high demand over the weekend.
“My assistant and I fixed over 20 cars and 11 two-wheelers yesterday compared to about four vehicles on an average day. The problems largely related to wet spark plugs, damaged connection rod and water getting into the air intake system and then making its way into the fuel system,” said Runku, a car mechanic who works for a garage in Sharjah Industrial area.
Auto experts say even a small puddle can cause a mechanical problem in a car and cause it to stall. Motorists should drive slowly through the puddles to prevent water from splashing into the upper part of the vehicle, they advised.