Every vehicle owner is faced with vehicle maintenance that needs the expertise of a certified mechanic. For most car problems, a car taken into an auto body shop or a mechanic can come to the vehicle owner’s location. However, there are circumstances when no mobile mechanic can meet you, or you cannot safely drive your vehicle to a shop. In these situation, calling a towing service is your best and or only option.
Tow trucks are made to carry and deliver inoperable cars of varying sizes to owner’s homes or auto shops for repair. Flatbed tow trucks, those with a long flatbed that can be lowered for use as a ramp, are the most regular and safest. Hook and chain tow trucks are slowly phasing out — as they tend to damage the towed cars — while wheel-lift tow trucks use a similar method that causes less vehicle damage. Though not as safe or protective as flatbeds, wheel-lift tow trucks provide a cheaper towing alternative.
In certain situations, tow trucks are necessary, especially if you’re in need of roadside assistance. Here are 5 situations in which calling a tow truck is just your best option.
- You are Out of Gas
Though everyone endeavors to avoid it, sometimes you run out of gas. You don’t plan quite right, fail to observe the dashboard light, or the light is broken — regardless, you run out gas to keep you driving. Pulling over on the side of a roadway and leaving the vehicle to go buy gasoline can get dangerous, particularly if you’re far from a gas station.
As embarrassing as it may look, calling a tow truck to take you to a gas station is quite necessary. Some towing companies may even volunteer to bring you fuel for a fee. Either way, tow truck drivers know how to safely take care of your out-of-fuel vehicle.
- When in an Accident
If you are ever in a collision and serious vehicle damage ensues, call 911 and a tow truck. Even if you, the other driver, or any passengers have not been injured, do not try to drive away in a crumbling car. Your vehicle may no longer have operable brakes or fully-functioning systems that stop the car from leaking oil, fuel, and other potentially flammable fluids.
Minor damage may still demand calling a tow truck. Tow truck operators can offer you a better idea of how damaged the vehicle really is, and advise you on the next best steps. Major vehicle damage from accidents will most certainly require calling a tow truck to take the vehicle to a shop, your home, or possibly a junkyard if it is completely totaled.
- A Flat Tire
A flat tire can happen from poor tire maintenance, such as ignoring low tire pressure warnings and worn-out treads, or puncture from a sharp object. Most people know how to replace a tire if they have a spare on-hand. However, should a tire give out on a busy highway, it may be safest to carry out the job elsewhere. Calling a tow truck to transport your car to a place where someone, possibly the driver, can safely and knowledgeably replace a flat tire may be required. Some tow truck drivers may even be willing to do the job for a price if you have the spare on you but cannot do the job yourself.
- Car Overheating and Other Breakdowns
A vehicle can overheat from many different malfunctions within the vehicle. Should you be driving and your engine overheats, it could result in the car shutting down and coming to a complete stop. If this happens while far away from your home or an auto shop, pulling over and calling a tow truck is the safest and available option.
Both well-maintained and neglected vehicles are prone to breakdowns. Those that occur suddenly and unexpectedly may have hard-to-find causes. These class of breakdowns tend to occur when you least expect it, like when driving for long stretches or running errands. A tow truck is the quickest option to get your vehicle to a place where it can be properly checked.
- Vehicle Won’t Start
A vehicle that won’t start isn’t always a result of a dead battery. It’s an especially irritating circumstance when you see yourself stuck after a trip to school, work, or the store. Should you be away from home when this happens, you’ll want to call a tow truck to take your vehicle to an automotive shop or back to your house to await mobile repairs.
What to Do When you Call a Towing Company
When you call a tow company to rescue you and your out-of-commission vehicle, make sure you pull safely to the side of the road first. It is equally smart to call your insurance company to report the issue — some companies may reimburse the cost of the tow. Before the tow truck arrives, take some pictures of the vehicle to document pre-towing damage. Be sure to ask the towing company representative for a price estimate, how they’ll tow the vehicle, and where they will take it. Keep your receipt for personal cataloging and for your insurance company.
Tow trucks are often immense lifesavers, no matter how inconvenient the circumstance that brought them. Be sure to add the phone number of a reliable tow truck company to your phone or wherever you keep your vehicle’s insurance contact in the vehicle.