We spend a lot of time taking care of our vehicles and making sure we have enough insurance to cover collision repair. However, most of us don’t think about towing until after an accident. Here’s what you need to know to make your next tow quick and easy from getting roadside assistance to preparing your vehicle ready to be moved.
Getting and Using Roadside Assistance
Insurance companies, credit card companies, car companies, and auto clubs offer roadside assistance with their services, either for free or with an additional charge. However, they’re not all the same.
Be aware that these services won’t always cover the full amount of the tow. After a set spending limit, the rest of the tow must be paid out-of-pocket. On average, a tow to a local autobody shop will cost somewhere between $75 and $125. If you regularly travel to remote areas or visit Canada, you may want to increase your coverage to handle added costs. Other services like fuel delivery and jump starts may not be covered by the policy.
The best way to access these services is with an app. This lets your phone send your GPS coordinates to the operator, making it easy to locate your car and dispatch a tow truck. You should also have the roadside assistance number on your phone to contact the service in areas where data isn’t available.
Choosing a Service On Your Own
Look for a company that offers the service you need: Some specialize in roadside assistance, others in repossessions, and some in long-distance transport.
If you need an emergency tow, you need someone who is available. The service shouldn’t just be available 24 hours a day, it should be staffed all 24 hours. Some tow services may not have someone to answer calls at night, leaving you stranded for hours before someone checks the answering machine.
Roll-Back vs. Wrecker Tow Trucks
Wreckers used to be the standard for tow vehicles. These trucks have wheel lifts that pick up one end of the vehicle, letting the other end roll along the ground while being towed. This causes problems with damaged vehicles that can’t track straight, and having the vehicle on the ground also makes it more susceptible to damage. However, their compact size and winch-based lift system lets them reach cars in tight quarters and pull out vehicles that ran off the road.
Roll-back trucks have a flatbed that can tilt and move back, creating a ramp. The vehicle can then be pulled or driven onto the bed. Once secured, the vehicle is off the road and the wheels don’t need to turn. This makes it easy to move severely damaged vehicles, and it prevents minor impacts.
Which one is better? In most cases, it makes sense to have your car towed with a roll-back truck. However, these trucks are massive and can’t get into some spaces. If you have an accident or a breakdown in a parking garage, a wrecker may be the only way to get it out. Likewise, a wrecker may be needed to pull your vehicle out of a ditch.
Preparing Your Vehicle for Towing
Remove any valuable items you may have in your car. Towing companies are usually not liable for lost or stolen items that were inside your vehicle. You should also get your car insurance and registration out of the vehicle. You’ll probably need these documents while your car is being towed and repaired.
Take a few pictures of your vehicle, including any damage. Be sure to get pictures of the front and rear bumpers. The driver may attach straps to tow hooks on the ends of your car, making these the areas most likely to be damaged during the tow.
Quality Auto Body Repair is Closer than You Think
Have you been involved in an accident? If you live in Lake Country, take your car to Merton Auto Body. Our shop has the latest equipment and our staff receives continual training from I-CAR. That means we can handle any vehicle, classic or modern. We’re located between highways 164 and 83 near Silver Spring Drive, making us a short tow away from Pewaukee, Oconomowoc, Delafield, and North Lake.