RAC

The History Of The RAC

About Us

Introduction to RAC

The RAC provides complete peace of mind to more than 12.7m UK personal and business members, whatever their driving needs – from breakdown assistance to insurance and a range of other motoring services.


RAC timeline:

  • 1897: Founded as the Automobile Club of Great Britain
  • 1901: Introduced uniformed patrols
  • 1907: Given royal approval by Edward VII becoming the Royal Automobile Club
  • 1912: Introduced roadside emergency telephone boxes
  • 1987: Advanced Computer Aided Rescue System introduced
  • 1998: RAC de-mutualised to become RAC Motoring Services Ltd
  • 1999: Acquired by Lex Group
  • 2002: Lex Group changes name to RAC Ltd
  • 2005: Acquired by Aviva plc
  • 2011: Acquired by Carlyle Group
  • 2013: Launched new and used car buying website RACcars.co.uk 
  • 2014: Provided patrols with universal spare wheels
  • 2014: GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, becomes a co-shareholder with Carlyle Group
  • 2015: Carlyle Group exited and CVC Capital Partners became co-shareholder with GIC
  • 2016: Equipped patrols with state-of-the-art battery tester 
  • 2019: Developed RAC EV Boost – the first van-mounted unit to charge ‘flat’ electric cars – and the All-Wheels-Up recovery system which gave ‘flatbed’ capability to patrol vans 
  • 2021: Launched pioneering ‘no ties’ Pay by Mile insurance for those driving under 6,000 miles a year

Our History


Developing motoring services


Ever since its foundation in 1897, the RAC has been consistently at the forefront of developing motoring services – from introducing uniformed patrols in 1901 and roadside emergency telephone boxes in 1912 right through to the present day when we developed the UK's first van-mounted charger for ‘flat’ electric cars. 

In 2001 the RAC designed, developed and launched a retractable rapid deployment trailer which is stored in the back of all its patrol vans. Keeping pace with modern vehicles, which are becoming increasingly complex, all RAC patrols are equipped with the latest mobile diagnostic equipment – RAC Scan+ which enables them to quickly identify faults that would otherwise have to be dealt with by a garage. A fleet of fuel patrols was launched in 2010 to help people who mistakenly put the wrong fuel in their vehicles.

In 2014 the RAC rolled out a pioneering universal spare wheel designed to speed up the fix time and minimise inconvenience for members who experience a puncture without having a spare. Two years later we equipped patrols with state-of-the-art roadside battery testers.
In 2019 the RAC launched two industry-leading pieces of technology: RAC EV Boost enables patrols to charge ‘flat’ electric cars enough to get them to a nearby chargepoint and the All-Wheels-Up recovery system gives them the ability to tow vehicles that would otherwise need to recovered by a flatbed.  

And, as standard, every RAC van carries more than 500 parts and tools which patrols use to get members’ vehicles going again as quickly as possible. The RAC is very proud of its record of repairing four out of five vehicles at the roadside.

Our Services

The RAC offers complete peace of mind for all its 12.7m-plus personal and business members for all of their driving needs. We provide a differentiated range of driving and mobility-related services, principally breakdown assistance, for consumer and business customers, and retail motor and telematics insurance products underwritten by a panel of leading insurers.



Headquartered in the West Midlands with approximately 4,000 dedicated staff, the RAC operates from three bases – Walsall, Manchester and Bristol – with its vehicle and breakdown services underpinned by its nationwide, branded patrol force, focusing primarily on vehicle repair and recovery. In 2020, the RAC's patrol force attended to 2.2m breakdowns.

Whether it is breakdown cover with roadside assistance, insurance, buying a new or used car, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – the RAC offers a solution. 


In Membership Services for Consumers, we provide breakdown cover and a broad range of exclusive optional extras to individual members and small business owners on either an annual or flexible monthly subscription basis, and a related range of garage services and third-party products through partners. 

In Membership Services for Business, we provide assistance for breakdowns and accidents, technical and customer support services to individuals through our partnerships with leading motor manufacturers, banks, insurance companies and fleets. 
In Insurance, we offer primarily motor and telematics insurance policies through price comparison websites.

Visit official site: www.rac.co.uk


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