No one wants to call a towing company. You might only consider doing this when you find yourself in an extremely inconvenient situation, but if you’re in an accident or can’t start your vehicle, a trailer is often the most practical option. You can tow the car home, to a garage where it can be repaired or another convenient location.
Emergencies happen when we least expect them, and preparation is key to navigating them smoothly. It is important to know when to call the towing company and the steps to take in these situations. This guide will give you all the information you need on when and how to call a towing company.
When should you call a tow truck?
Calling the car towing service is often the last resort when you can’t start your vehicle and have no other option but to seek help. Here are some situations in which you might consider calling a towing company.
- Your car won’t start
If your car won’t start or suddenly stops running, there are a few things you need to do. You can wait a few minutes and try restarting it. In some cases, the problem is a dead battery and jumping up sometimes works. It’s always a good idea to keep a set of jumper cables in your trunk, or – if you really want to be prepared – to carry a portable battery charger with you
- You are out of gas
Running out of gas is another possible cause of a stall. If you come across an area without a gas station, fill up the tank before a long trip, and consider carrying a spare, portable gas tank of a gallon or two. But if you do find yourself running out of gas on the road, you have to deal with the situation: calling a tow truck is a safe bet.
- Your tire is flat
If your car has a spare tire and a jack, you can change the tire yourself. However, this is not always practical. You may have parked in an unsafe place, or the wheel nuts may be too tight to loosen with hand tools. To make matters worse, you may find yourself with a flat tire and no spare or jack. In these situations, a tow truck company is your best solution.
- you have an accident
Everyone hopes they don’t get into accidents, but they do happen. The first priority is to make sure no one is injured. If someone needs medical attention, your first call should be for an ambulance. However, if the only damage is to your vehicle, you should request a tow truck.
Here’s an important tip: you shouldn’t try to drive a damaged vehicle, even if it seems possible. This can be dangerous as a damaged car could catch fire or even explode. Call a tow truck and have an expert assess the damage.
What to Consider Before Requesting a Trailer
Once you’ve determined that your vehicle needs towing, you may rush to do it as quickly as possible. However, depending on the situation, there are a few things you may need to do before calling the car towing company:
- Consider your location.
If your car won’t start in a parking lot or at a friend’s house, you have time to look at it. On the other hand, if you’re on the highway or in the middle of a street, you need to get your vehicle out of the way as quickly as possible.
- Towing company or roadside assistance?
If you get roadside assistance through your insurance company, you may want to call them first, but it’s best to call the towing company. Calling roadside assistance can add to your bill, so it’s best to reserve such calls as genuine emergencies. Roadside assistance is also limited to those with the account. If you are in someone else’s car, your insurance will not apply.
- Safety first.
If you are in a potentially dangerous location such as a street or highway, turn on the hazard lights, apply the emergency brakes, and leave the vehicle. You and any passengers should find a safe place to call and wait for the tow truck.
- Take a photo.
In the event of an accident, take pictures of the damage. You need to take several pictures from different angles. If another vehicle is involved, take a photo of the other vehicle as well. It is important to document any damage for insurance purposes or in case of any future civil or legal issues.
- Ask about the traction method.
There are two main ways to tow a car: the hitch and chain method, where your vehicle is hitched to a trailer and pulled to the garage, or the flatbed method, where the vehicle is hoisted to a truck and driven to the garage. The flatbed method is safer and less likely to cause damage to your vehicle. I
- Decide where to tow your car.
You need to arrange where to tow the vehicle. If you’re close to home, you may want to tow it to your home. If there are mechanical issues that need attention, you may want to tow it to the garage. If you’re in an unfamiliar area, you can ask your trailer supplier for a mechanic’s recommendation. In some cases, companies are also mechanics and can help with this.