After reading this thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=780194, I thought I would tell a good service story.
I got back from a 3 week vacation on Sunday. Monday morning, my car wouldn’t start. I thought I was familiar with what a dead battery sounds like. You turn the key and nothing happens. Or you turn the key and you hear a slow grinding of the starter motor, not enough to start the engine. Or it grinds slow but does start the car. The sound I got instead sounded like a death rattle. I have never heard such a sound before. Uh oh, better get the car to a service station.
My insurance company provides up to 4 road services a year free. So I called them. They said a tow truck would be there in about 40 minutes. About 40 minutes later, a tow truck pulled up in front of my house. The driver asked what the problem was. I explained about the noise and let him try it. He went back to his truck, came with a portable batter into my garage (somewhat heated incidentally), popped the hood, attached the cables and had me start the car. It started right up. He advised me to leave it running for 20 minutes and drove off.
I pulled the car out of the garage (no way I was going to leave it running inside the attached garage for 20 minutes) and then had a thought. First, this is the first time this has happened, although I take a 3 week winter vacation every year, and second, the car and battery are getting on the 9 years old. So I drove over to my garage and told them I needed a new battery. They said they would have to order it, come back in the afternoon. I did and they replaced the battery and I drove home happy.
Since my last experience with emergency road service was an utter disaster (AAA in the US), I was extremely pleased.