You probably don’t think much about tow trucks until you actually need one. If you’ve ever broken down on the side of the road, locked your keys in your car or run out of gas, you’ve no doubt needed the services of a towing company. Automotive towing companies will respond to your request for a tow, jump start, or other type of roadside assistance at various rates. Chances are, your community is served by more than one tow truck company, and many of them work with roadside assistance agencies that will help you out in an emergency. They will remove wrecked cars from the site of an accident in addition to providing pickup services should you need to get home or to the auto body shop. They’re usually stocked with oil or gas to provide emergency oil changes or gas fill ups. Before you call for a towing truck, be sure you know the most popular terms associated with the business.
Tow Truck Operator – The driver who operates a tow truck. They are skilled in hookups utilizing flatbeds, chains, and lifts, along with the ability to remove a wrecked car from the premises quickly and efficiently. They also have limited diagnostic capabilities and may be able to tell you exactly what is causing your problem. Other times, they simply provide a tow to the nearest auto service shop for repair. They should have a current driver’s license and clean driving record.
Trailer – A large transport vehicle hauled by a truck.
Tow Cables – Also known as tow ropes, these are used in attaching and towing a vehicle that has experienced a break down.
Jump Start – The act of starting a car with a dead battery using jumper cables.
Hopefully you have never needed a tow truck, or have had your car towed. Tow companies specialize in towing vehicles that have broken down, been wrecked, or are parked illegally. For a fee, a tow truck can pick up your car if you experience a breakdown, or need a jump start. If you have enough parking tickets on your record, they may also be entitled to towing and impounding your car. A truck may also be called if you are in need of roadside assistance or have been in a wreck. If there's a break down, a service may be able to assist you with a jump start if the battery seems to be the problem. Or, if your car needs gas, a tow truck can bring you just enough to get you to the next gas station. If possible try to remove your car off the road.
Different companies may require use of a tow truck and trailer, including impound lots and automotive technicians. Using a chain, the operator can lift the car onto the bed safely. It is then brought to the repair shop after pickup. Running it through a diagnostic computer, he or she will be able to give you a rate on the repairs. If the issue with your car is small, like an oil change or a jump start, your vehicle can be fixed fast. If it's been in a wreck, consult your insurance first.
Repair shops offer towing services, but it’s a good idea to check your phone book under “Mechanics” or “Auto” and save a number on your phone for emergencies. Ask friends for referrals and for roadside assistance enroll in a program that will help. Tow trucks take the fear out of traffic wrecks by helping move your vehicle to the appropriate location.