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

broken-down-car

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.

Sound familiar? Well, 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.

So you’ll be more confident about the times when you decide to have it towed and when you don’t!

If this seems like valuable information for you, keep reading!

Flat Tires

flat-tire

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.

Battery Issues

car-battery

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

car-service-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

car-smoke-trouble

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. 

Safety

pulling-over-to-safety

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. 

Call For A Tow

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

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

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! 

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