Getting your car towed is expensive. Whether you need to get it towed for repairs or your car is being towed because it is illegally parked, once the car is hooked up, you can be in for a serious bill.
Here are some of our top tips to help you avoid getting your car towed in a wide range of circumstances!
Top Tips to Avoid Getting Your Car Towed
Here are our best tips for avoiding a tow and the expensive bill that comes with it.
1. Don’t Park Illegally
If you don’t want an unpleasant surprise when you return to your car from picking up a few things when you are in a hurry, then it is important to pay attention to parking signs.
There are many tips out there for how to avoid a tow if you choose to illegally park anyway, like engaging your hand brake or turning your wheels, but most of them do not work in most circumstances.
The best way to avoid a tow is to not take the chance and only park in places where it is legal to do so.
If your car is towed for a parking violation, you will not only have to pay for the tow, but you will also have to pay legal fees and a possible steep fine.
This could also make your insurance go up or cause points to be added to your driver’s license. Not only this, you will have to find another way home.
2. Car Stuck on Side of Road
If you get stuck on the side of the road, and you call someone to come and pick you up, then you still have the problem of your car sitting on the side of the road. The first thing to do is to move your car off the side of the road.
If your car is obstructing traffic or causes people to have to swerve to avoid it, then you can bet that someone has probably already called, and a tow truck is already on the way.
In this situation, it is usually best to call roadside assistance. If you have to leave your car, then you should leave a note with the date, name, phone number, and when you plan to return for the car.
Do not leave it on the windshield, but use a plain piece of white paper on the inside of the dashboard or other place where it can be seen. This is still no guarantee, but it might help.
In most states, even if you leave a note on your car, there is a time limit of 24 or 48 hours before it will be towed anyway. The police will come by and tag a vehicle and a private tow company can collect the car after the time expires.
If this happens, you will have to pay the tow fees, impound fees, and any fines that might occur, which makes roadside assistance sound like the cheaper option.
3. Keep Your Car Maintained
There is no way to guarantee that your car will never break down on the side of the road and need to be towed, but there are some things that you can do to reduce this risk.
Performing regular maintenance is the best way to make sure you do not have any unexpected breakdowns. Doing things like having your oil changed and fluids topped up can go a long way in helping you to avoid an expensive tow bill.
Make sure to check the regular maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual, and do not be tempted to put it off. Many times, the mechanic will find things that are a potential future repair and make you aware of them. This gives you time to get them fixed and save yourself the hassle of getting stuck.
It might sound tempting to drive that extra few miles before attending to necessary maintenance, but the cost of a tow can be much more expensive than an oil change.
Also, failure to keep your car maintained can cause even a bigger repair bill when it breaks. It can also void your car’s warranty, which means that you will have to pay for all the damage.
4. Check Your Battery
One of the biggest reasons why people need to call a tow truck is because their battery died. Perhaps, you went in to do some Holiday Shopping in cold weather, and when you came out, your battery is dead.
If you can’t remember when the last time you put in a new battery or had your battery tested, it is time to do it soon.
Even if your battery is rated for a certain number of years, there are certain things that can reduce its lifespan.
Here are some things that can make your battery wear out sooner than listed.
- Storing it in the wrong temperature
- Draining it completely by leaving the lights on
- Faulty Alternator
- Excessive short drives that to not allow battery to charge
- Corroded or loose battery cables
- Ice forming across the battery posts
- Using the wrong type of charger for your battery
- Old age
Making sure your battery is new and well-maintained is the first step, but you also might want to invest in an emergency battery pack.
A battery pack can help give your battery a boost or charge it so that it will start. Also, nothing beats a good set of jumper cables, and know how to use them!
5. Maintain Your Tires
It is probably a toss-up between whether your battery or tires are the most likely thing to cause you to have to tow your car.
It is not always possible to avoid a blowout or avoid hazards in the road that can damage your tires and cause a flat, but you can at least prevent it from happening due to poor maintenance.
Have your tires regularly inspected to make sure they have the proper tread and do not show any obvious signs of wear.
Here are some other things you can do to help you avoid calling a tow truck due to a tire blowout or flat.
- Make sure you do things like have your tires balanced and rotated when recommended.
- Make sure to keep them in good repair, even a minor leak can cause damage over time because of improper inflation.
- Make sure to replace your tires when needed, and make sure all four tires match.
- Keep your brakes properly maintained so they do not overheat and rub.
If you want to avoid a tow, another thing you need to do is to make sure you have a properly inflated spare and the tools you need to change it. This is a skill every motorist should master.
You can also purchase an air compressor that plugs into the cigarette lighter or vehicle outlet that can inflate your tires when you are out.
Now, you know a few simple tricks that can help you avoid an expensive tow bill. If you are tight on cash, these things can help you avoid an unexpected expense.
When you are trying to save money, it might be wise to weigh the costs of a roadside assistance plan against the potential of a single tow bill, and you might find the cost of roadside assistance is not so expensive after all.