Getting Your Car Towed: Do You Need a Tow and How Do You Prepare Your Vehicle?

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    How To Know When It’s Time To Tow


    Your hazards are on, your motor is off, and you’re standing on the side of the road next to your car.

    What now?

    Odds are, we’ve all been at that point of frustration and confusion. The point where you know something isn’t right with your vehicle, but aren’t sure how serious it is.

    Part of the challenge of owning a car is not only keeping it in working condition, but recognizing when it’s in need of repair and when it’s working properly.

    And the burden of bringing a car into the repair shop is already a lot. But when you add the notion of getting a car towed, it can feel overwhelming.

    Which is why we often put off getting our car towed until it absolutely won’t run. And often by then, we’ve done much more damage to the car than we would have if we’d had it towed in the first place.

    Did you know that 1 in 3 drivers break down every year?

    If you’re unlucky enough to be involved in a crash or have your car break down next to the road—there’s a good chance you might need to call a towing service. 

    Not all breakdowns involve hauling cars, but oftentimes getting a car towing service is the easiest option.

    However, before you search for “towing near me” there are a few things you should do to prepare your vehicle. 

    Otherwise, you might lose valuable evidence (if you’ve been in a crash) or further endanger your vehicle. 

    Keep reading to get clear on whether you’re in need of towing services and what to do before the tow truck service arrives. 

    In this post we’ll go over the signs and symptoms of needing to have your car towed in for repair, and what to do to get prepared for towing in the event of a car accident.

    Flat Tires


    Flat tires are the most common car ailment associated with towing. This is because when a tire goes flat, the car pretty much becomes undrivable.

    Of course, that doesn’t stop people from trying. Sometimes, in an effort to just get it to a tire shop or repair shop, they’ll drive on the flat tire.

    While this might eventually get them to the shop, it also usually means damage to the wheel itself., Which, of course, translates to a much more costly repair visit.

    The two main options are deciding whether to fix the flat on the side of the road or have it towed to a shop. 

    For those who decide on the side of the road, it’s best to have an auto service like AAA come help, unless you have extensive experience changing flat tires.

    If this isn’t an option, having it towed to a nearby repair or tire shop is the easiest and best option.

    According to statistics, 74% of Americans know how to change a flat tire. However, if you aren’t able to swap out a flat—or don’t have a spare tire—then you will most likely need to call for help. 

    If you’re stranded with a flat after-hours, then the best course of action is to search for “24-hour towing near me” so you don’t have to waste time calling up tow service businesses that are closed. 

    Battery Issues


    The most common battery issue is when it goes dead. This happens sometimes because of age. In that case, having a motoring organization come to you and change it out with a new battery is often a good idea.

    However, in many cases, a dead battery is a symptom of other issues with the car. That’s why it is usually a good idea to tow your car to a shop where they can run it through diagnostic tests.

    The same is true if your car is still running, but keeps stalling. Often this is a sign of something internal that needs a diagnosis. A tow is highly recommended in that case, especially for the road safety factor.

    Warning Light


    The check engine light is one we often see come on and off. The nature of it is what determines if we need a tow.

    If it’s on and steady, you don’t necessarily require an immediate tow. However, if it comes on but is blinking, you’ll want to have your car towed. 

    The same advice goes for the oil light and the high temperature lights. These are potentially hazardous, and if you see them on, you should consider a tow.

    For all three, call your local repair shop first and get an opinion on whether they advise you to get your vehicle towed. 

    Smoke and Noise


    Smoke is obviously not a good sign coming from your car. First off, if it’s a white smoke or a vapor emanating from your hood, that can mean serious danger. 

    Turn off the motor, do not open the hood, and get far away from the car.

    If the smoke is blue and has a burning smell, it’s likely because of an oil leak. While this isn’t as dangerous for you, it’s dangerous for your engine. You should get your car towed to a repair shop before you do serious damage to the engine.

    As far as hearing a sudden loud noise, the problems can be varied. 

    First, pull over to the side of the road and investigate the inside of your car. Sometimes items shift and fall from your seat, or in the trunk. It’s also possible you rolled over something on the road that caused the sound.

    But if you can’t pinpoint the sound, it’s best to call a tow truck

    Your Car Won’t Start

    If your car won’t start, this might mean that you need to call in a car towing service. Failure to start can be due to a number of reasons. 

    If you left your lights or radio on, this could have drained the battery. If you have a set of jumper cables and another vehicle at hand to help, you can jumpstart your car yourself. Just make sure you know what you’re doing, as you’ll be working with live electricity.

    You’ve Run Out of Gas (Or Charge)

    If you’ve run out of gas, or charge on an electric vehicle, this could be another situation where the easiest thing to do is to call up a tow service.

    If you contact a quality towing service, they might also be able to offer you roadside assistance services, such as fuel delivery. This will save you from needing to have your car towed to the nearest gas station, enabling you to get on your way as quickly as possible. 

    Your Vehicle Is Leaking Fluid

    If you’ve been in an accident and are wondering whether or not you should drive your vehicle away, check for leaking fluid. If your vehicle is leaking fluid, you should not, under any circumstances, drive it. 

    If your vehicle is severely damaged, has been rolled, or even submerged, then it’s best to search for either “heavy duty towing near me” or a towing service that doesn’t just specialize in hauling cars but also offers accident recovery

    The Hood Won’t Close

    If the hood on your car won’t close, this can also indicate serious damage to the engine or body.

    It also poses a significant safety hazard, as your hood could flip up at any moment if you drive the car. 

    The Lights and Mirrors Aren’t Functional

    If you’ve been in an accident and your lights and mirrors have been damaged, this also makes your car dangerous to drive. Without functioning lights and mirrors, you might cause another accident trying to get your car to the repair shop or back home. 

    The Steering or Brakes Aren’t Working

    If there is anything wrong with the steering or brakes on your car you definitely should not drive it. Without reliable steering and brakes, you are a hazard to others and yourself. 

    You’ve Been Injured

    If you’ve suffered injuries in an accident, and don’t have someone on hand to drive your car to a secure location, this is another situation where it might be best to call a tow truck service.

    Even if you feel like you’ve only suffered minor injuries, it’s still not a good idea to drive. Concussion injuries are very common in car accidents. Mild concussions can be hard to identify, especially if you’re pumped up with adrenaline from a crash. 

    You should never drive with a possible concussion, as it can cause sudden loss or slowing of motor skills. 

    When in Doubt: Ask a Police Officer

    If you’re not sure whether you should try to drive your car away from an accident scene or search for “towing service near me” you can also ask a police officer. 

    If there are police on the scene, they might be able to advise you whether your car is safe enough to drive. 



    When you are awaiting a tow truck, be sure to pull your car over to a safe area. Ideally, you’d want to be completely off the roadway, in a parking lot or small side street.

    If your car broke down in the middle of a busy street, try to drive or push it to the side of the road, using extreme caution.

    If you can’t move it, be sure to put your hazards on and put cones or flares around it as a warning to other drivers.

    If your car is in a more dangerous situation, like submerged in water, there are tow companies that specialize in that kind of recovery as well. 

    How to Prepare Your Vehicle for Car Towing

    Once you’ve determined that you need to call a towing service, the next thing to do is prepare your vehicle. You should also contact your insurance company and take photos of the scene if you were involved in an accident. 

    Move Your Vehicle Out of Harm’s Way

    The first thing to do when preparing your car for towing is to move it out of harm’s way. If it is obstructing traffic, or likely to be hit by another vehicle driving by, see if you can push the car to a safer spot. 

    If this is not possible, erect any triangles you have around your vehicle to indicate to other drivers to steer clear. You can also turn on your hazard lights and open the hood to show that you’ve broken down and your vehicle can’t move. 

    After you’ve done this you should remove yourself and wait at a safe distance. Statistics show that most accidents happen in the daytime, but if you’re stranded at night, make sure you wait for the towing truck in a secure location. 

    If you have to leave your vehicle, you might also want to contact the police and let them know that your car is waiting for the towing service to arrive.

    If you have arranged for a 24-hour towing service you shouldn’t have to wait that long. But it can still be a good idea to notify the police. This will prevent them from potentially fining you for abandoning a vehicle. 

    If your car is vandalized or broken into while unattended, notifying the police can also provide you with a valuable record of events. 

    Contact Your Insurance Company

    Before you call any kind of service for hauling cars, you might also want to phone up your insurer. They might only cover certain registered towing services, and they may also be able to point you to a reliable towing company if you’re struggling to find one online. 

    Figure Out Your Exact Location

    Another thing you should do before calling a towing service is to find out your precise location so the tow truck can reach you quickly and easily. If you’re unsure exactly where you are, check any nearby signs. 

    You can also check your location on Google maps, or ask a passerby. 

    Remove Any Valuables From Your Vehicle

    Before the towing service arrives you should also remove any valuables or precious personal possessions from your vehicle. Most tow services do not guarantee the safety of personal belongings in your vehicle. 

    If anything gets stolen or broken, the loss will rest on you. 

    Take Photos if You Were Involved in an Accident

    If you are unable to drive your vehicle because it was in an accident, you should also take some time to photograph the crash scene. Ideally, you should do this before you move your vehicle.

    Once the vehicle has moved, any photos you take might not be very useful for proving damage and liability. 

    Get as many shots as you can. Try to capture the position of both vehicles, as all as the damaged areas of your car. 

    While you are doing this, you might also want to ask any eyewitnesses for their contact information should you need to call on witnesses to prove that you weren’t the at-fault party.

    Call For A Tow

    Getting Your Car Towed: Do You Need a Tow and How Do You Prepare Your Vehicle? 1

    First, gather up all the relevant paperwork from your glove compartment, This means your registration, your license, proof of insurance, and any membership cards you have for roadside assistance programs. 

    Then make your call. If you have roadside assistance from a company like AAA, call them. If not, perhaps your credit card company, auto insurance company, or car company has roadside assistance programs to call.

    If not, you’ll need to contact a local repair or towing company.

    Wait For the Truck

    Getting Your Car Towed: Do You Need a Tow and How Do You Prepare Your Vehicle? 2

    Be prepared to wait a little bit for the tow truck to show up.

    While you wait, sit in your vehicle with the windows up. This will help from being approached by unwanted solicitations while you wait. Be alert and keep an eye out for the truck.

    When The Truck Arrives

    Getting Your Car Towed: Do You Need a Tow and How Do You Prepare Your Vehicle? 3

    When the truck arrives, you’ll fill out the necessary paperwork with the tow truck driver. They will also give you instructions for what to do with the car. This likely involves putting the car in neutral.

    The truck will then tow the car to the agreed upon repair shop, and you will most likely ride in the cab with the driver on the way.

    Getting a Car Towed 

    As you can see, getting a car towed isn’t anyone’s idea way to spend an afternoon, but sometimes it’s the option that makes the most sense. 

    It can keep you from getting stranded or doing more damage to your vehicle. And it’ll get you back on the road more quickly!

    If you have any questions, or would like to know more, contact us today! 

    We Specialize in Hauling Cars, Big or Small

    Now that you know about the common reasons you might need to have your car towed—and how to prepare your vehicle—do you need to phone someone and say “please come tow my car”?

    If you’re looking for a reliable, quality towing service, Geyers Towing & Recovery is here to help. We specialize in hauling cars of any size and offer light, medium, and heavy-duty towing. We also offer complete accident recovery. 

    If your car is a wreck, our experienced team will come out and assess and expertly manage the situation for you. 

    We know that accidents and breakdowns can happen at any time, which is why we are available around the clock to supply 24-hour towing.

    Contact us today and get your vehicle to safety. 

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