Here’s the story… this may sound a bit like a complaint, when in actuality it should sound exactly like a complaint! I parallel parked my car on the street in Philadelphia on a Friday evening at 6pm (and by parallel that means between 2 other vehicles…), got out, and walked to read the parking signs in front and behind me. One said no parking here to corner, the other was a handicap spot. Jackpot! – perfect parking spot right in front of the hotel. We check in, go to dinner, and while walking back I decided to grab a jacket from my car. Being the city, I got a little turned around since I wasn’t “leading” the walk to dinner, but I could have sworn thats where I parked… wait, there are no other cars there… that couldn’t be the spot. I did a lap around the block… yep, thats the spot. M F … car gone.

Make sure you have a flat bed from a licensed driver

I wish this was my ferarri, but glad I didn't have to pay for the repairs on THAT guy!

I spent the next half hour trying to track down my car with the hotel concierge, city towing, police, etc. Finally found it an hour later (they called the hotel back when it arrived at the tow lot… it was still being carried on the truck when I was talking to them and they couldn’t/wouldn’t put me on the horn with the driver to bring it back!!!). So, next day and $110 + a parking ticket later, I picked up my car from the Parking Authority lot under the Walt Whitman bridge. Lesson learned. Three weeks later, there’s a fluid leak spot under my car… weird… car is a one year old B6 Audi A4 (5-speed, silver, S-style trunk lip spoiler)… shouldn’t be leaking anything. I just had the oil changed, so I swung by the dealer to have them tighten the bolt in the oil pan. The service guy comes out and tells me that the oil pan was cracked and needed to be replaced. The wheels start turning… I’ve never bottomed the car out THAT hard, and especially not recently. OH WAIT… Philly’s Finest Tow Truck driver from the PPA jacked up my car (all-wheel drive, btw, still not convinced they didnt blow out the clutch or differential too, since I’m fairly certain it was NOT transported on a flatbed, nor the release used to disengage the drive train), and then DROPPED it from 3-4 feet up when they got to the tow lot. That was an expensive 12 hours of bachelor-party fun.

REAL lessons learned:
1) Make sure your car is taken care of when it’s towed or transported – shipping a car across the country cost about as much as my oil pan.
2) read the parking signs when you’re in Philly.
and 3) visit our sponsors and find a local insurance agent or auto transport company in your city.