20 Tips for Finding a Tow Truck Service
When a customer calls for an emergency tow, the first question they ask is almost always, "How soon can you get here?" Breaking down on your way to work, on a long stretch of deserted highway, or in the middle of town while running errands is stressful. Tow truck drivers are called out in all sorts of weather, 24 hours a day. Before you panic, here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Towing services try to get to you as soon as they can. Unfortunately, sometimes their drivers are busy on other jobs, or are located far from your vehicle. When the weather is bad, companies are busier than usual so wait times might be longer than desired. If you can, move your vehicle off the road to a safe position. Remain in your vehicle while you wait if you can.
2. If you are in a dangerous situation, call the police for assistance. The most important thing is your safety and the safety of your passengers. If you feel threatened, don't hesitate to reach out for help.
3. Payment is expected at the time of service. Most companies take all of the major credit cards and will give you a receipt to submit to your insurance company. Check with your insurance company, Balsiger Insurance, to find out what the best method for prompt reimbursement is.
4. Tow truck services respond to more than just your towing needs. If you run out of gas, they will send someone to your vehicle to get you going again. Be sure to give them the exact address or a good description of your location, including the mile marker if you are on the highway. The better your information, the more quickly help will arrive.
5. Nothing is worse than getting locked out of your car. Lock out calls get you back in your vehicle and on your way. Be sure to tell the company your vehicle make and model when you are on the phone with them. Broken key extraction and lost key replacement services are also available.
6. When accidents occur, the flow of traffic is often impeded. Because towing companies work closely with local police departments and the highway patrol, these calls typically have higher priority. In many cases, the responding officer will have the information for the company that they work with most often. Getting vehicles out of traffic is an important part of the service.
7. During the cold winter months, many car batteries simply don't have enough power to turn engines over. Tow trucks are equipped with battery chargers that will get your vehicle started quickly. When a jump start won't do the trick, this service is the best way to turn your engine over. Drivers are specially trained to connect to your battery and get your engine started.
8. Most trucks operate with GPS which makes them much more efficient. If you can get the coordinates from your car's GPS, drivers can get to you quickly. Modern technology speeds the process.
9. Using special equipment such as flatbed trailers and heavy-duty winches, drivers are able to load your vehicle without the risk of additional damages. Expect the hookup to be done quickly. Once your driver arrives, your vehicle will be hauled to a convenient location.
10. Most companies have a set fee for services within a certain radius. Check with the customer service representative to see what that is. In general, expect to pay more if you need the car to be towed further than the five or ten mile limit. An additional charge will be added on a per mile basis.
11. If you are traveling through an unfamiliar area when your vehicle breaks down, tow truck drivers can be a great source of information. Ask about local car repair locations and give them a call to set up service prior to the tow. In some cases, tow truck drivers may work from a service center.
12. If your vehicle has been totaled, many towing companies will buy your vehicle from you. Ask the company if they do this and be sure to get the address to which it will be towed. Your insurance company will need this information.
13. Luxury and classic cars are often towed from one location to another to avoid damage and wear and tear on the vehicle. Many towing services offer special package deals for these types of vehicles. Since these tows can be scheduled in advance, some discounts may be available.
14. Towing companies must be licensed to operate. Verify that the company has a license and insurance. In some states, reputable towing companies are recognized by the state patrol for their exemplary services.
15. Towing companies will do flat tire repairs. However, the customer must have a working spare. Be sure to check your spare on a periodic basis to ensure that it is in good working order.
16. When a vehicle has gone off road, special equipment may be needed. Be aware that extra charges may apply depending upon the scope and scale of the job.
17. Special towing equipment is needed for larger vehicles such as tractor/trailers. Semi truck drivers should contact their dispatcher or work with the highway patrol to find a company with the proper equipment. With the right equipment, even the largest vehicles are quickly on their way.
18. Tow truck drivers will not leave you and your family stranded on the side of the road once they have your car ready to go. Most trucks have ample room to seat you and your passengers. You are in safe hands once you have called for help.
19. Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous companies. They charge inflated prices and will hold your car hostage until you pay. Use your smart phone to do some research before contracting with a towing company. Keep in mind that the highway patrol or local police can often direct you to a reputable company.
20. Keep in mind that tow truck drivers are used to dealing with moving your car. They work hard to get to you as soon as they can, and will help you move your car to a location where you can have it serviced. The vast majority of companies are owned and operated by business operators with good reputations.