Tips to Protect Your Motorcycle from Theft

People who live in busy, crowded areas often prefer using motorcycles instead of cars for convenience and avoiding congestion. Bikes are easier to park, and easier to maneuver compared to automobiles. However, it is also easier for motorcycles to be stolen since they are exposed. Thieves are always interested in taking a high value, good quality motorcycle and selling it to make a profit. Motorcycle owners must do everything possible to protect their bikes. Below are some tips for protecting your bike.

Protect Your Bike Every Time You Park

Many motorcycle owners do nothing when they park their motorcycles. Bike owners should always do something to protect the bike before they walk away, even if it’s just engaging the security device and the steering lock.

Fit a Lock on Your Machine

You can use a U shackle, disc lock, clutch group, or set a functional alarm. Installing a quality chain on the front or rear can also prevent the bike from being pushed away. If your garage has a security anchor, make sure you tie your bike onto it.

Fit a Tracking Device on Your Motorcycle

Although tracking devices can be costly, real arrests have been made with their help. Owners can always research different types and brands to find the most reasonably priced devices. Before purchasing, ensure you ask about the previous success of those devices. Be sure the signal penetration is strong since thieves may carry the bike in a van. It is also important to start following the bike as soon as possible; Thieves may steal a bike and hide it somewhere to see if it is being tracked so they can get rid of the tracker. If your motorcycle is costly then a tracking device is worth buying.

Fit an Approved Alarm or Immobilizer on Your Motorcycle

Although signals differ among areas, some have proved to be effective in preventing motorcycle theft. You should therefore consider it a way to protect your bike. There are some areas, such as parking lots, where security officers might notice suspicious activity when they hear an alarm. In addition, if the immobilizer is recognized by your insurance firm, you could get a discount if the company offers one.

Secure Your Garage

Garage thieves mostly come to steal at night. Some thieves follow you home, so it is important to keep it secure. Maintaining a thick door, security cameras, security lights, and alarms are just some of the ways to make your garage safe. You should never leave your bike outside your house since it gives thieves easy access to it. If you are away from home for some time, ask your neighbor or friend to watch the garage for you.

Other Security Options

Parking in front of a security camera can deter thieves from considering your bike, and can also help in its recovery if it is stolen.

Covering your bike when parked helps ensure that your classy bike is not overly advertised.

If you have questions about motorcycle security, or if you’re in need of towing services, contact Will Tow located in San Marcos, TX.

Avoid Being Towed at Apartments in San Marcos

Having your vehicle towed can be inconvenient and expensive. One of the many ways to accidentally end up having a vehicle towed is parking incorrectly in an apartment complex. Many of the apartment complexes in San Marcos, TX, especially those near Texas State University, enforce strict parking rules in an attempt to discourage student commuters from leaving their vehicles in the apartment parking lots during their classes. Apartment parking lots often have limited space and maintain just enough room to accommodate residents and their guests, so it can be difficult to find the right area to park. Here are some tips to make sure your car stays where you left it.

Non-Residents

If you are not a resident and you are not intending to visit a resident of an apartment complex, do not park there. Many apartment complex’s will immediately check to see if a parked vehicle has a permit for the lot if the driver is seen leaving the parking lot on foot without visiting one of the resident buildings first. While it may seem safe to park your vehicle in a visitor space for free for a few hours, being towed will cost you much more than paying for public parking.

If you are not a resident but you are visiting a resident of an apartment complex, make sure that you get information about the apartment’s visitor parking policy. If the resident that you are visiting is not informed about the policy, call the main office or visit their website. Some apartments require visitors to have a parking pass put on their dashboard. If this is the case at an apartment you are visiting, make sure that you or the person you are meeting visits the main office before they close to obtain a pass.

Other apartment complexes do not require passes but do ask visitors to park in a designated area of the parking lot. Most apartments indicate the visitor parking spaces by marking “Visitor” on the curb or in the space. Others have signs posted with arrows indicating how many spaces are reserved for visitors. Occasionally the pavement markings may have faded, or the signs may have been knocked over. If this is the case and you are unsure where to leave your vehicle, ask the staff at the main office. One quick trip inside could save you a lot of time and hassle.

Residents

It does not happen often, but occasionally even apartment complex residents can find their vehicle has been towed. The best way to keep this from happening is ensuring that you follow the apartment’s resident parking policies. If you are a new resident, make sure that your vehicle’s information has been provided to the apartment complex and is up to date. If the apartment provides a sticker to mark your vehicle as belonging to a resident, make sure that you place it in the proper place on your vehicle so that it is clearly visible to towing companies.

If you get new license plates for your vehicle after it has already been registered with your apartment, make sure to give them the updated information. You should also ensure that your inspection sticker is up to date as some apartment’s will tow vehicles that have not been inspected, even if they belong to a resident.

Another good idea for ensuring that your vehicle is not towed as a resident is to make sure that it is properly maintained. Many apartment complexes will tow vehicles if they are deemed “non-running.” If your vehicle has not been moved in a few months, or if your vehicle has a flat or a missing tire that has not been addressed, some complexes will have the vehicle towed.

For more information on avoiding having your vehicle towed from an apartment complex, visit Will Tow in San Marcos, TX, or click here.

Call A Mechanic or DIY?

CallMechanicorDIY

There are things in our life that you should simply leave to a professional, things that you simply should not do yourself. You probably don’t have any business performing your own colonoscopy, your own appendix removal, or open-heart surgery. Rocket building and synthesizing your own medicines are simply too difficult to figure out yourself even if you have the parts. But there are things that even doctors would tell you that you should self-examine to find problems early, like cancer exams or home tests for blood pressure or blood sugar. Cars are the same way.

If you have never worked on a car, you probably shouldn’t be putting in an engine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a tool to find out if the check engine light is on for a simple reason. Or if your battery won’t stay charged you shouldn’t see if a new battery fixes the problem before you put in an all new alternator. Some things you can diagnose yourself, some you can fix right there when it breaks, others you can fix yourself after buying the correct parts and getting a tow, and others need a professional hand from start to finish.

A vehicle diagnostic code reader can be plugged in directly to the car’s engine and will spit out codes that pertain to the exact problem. These codes vary and will need to be looked up, but can highlight problems from HVAC (A/C, heating, coolant), engine (not starting, idling, temperature, leaks, emissions), battery (meters, lights, wiring, charging), to brakes, steering, transmission, and more. These aren’t everything, but can really help cover a lot of your bases. Not everything is a car not turning on or any of its electronics (battery or alternator or wiring issues), or a car not turning over (likely starter or engine).

If you would like to have a chance at fixing some simple problems without a tow or need for part ordering, there are some things you should always have: a spare, jack, wrench, jumper cables, duct tape, and oil.

Repairs that you can make with parts purchased from local auto stores or online form quite a long list, but this is mainly limited to repairs that you may be able to do yourself. Headlights, brake pads, engine belt, new battery, or fluids are examples. You may not be able to do things like alternators, transmissions, engines, and things of that nature. Basically, some things are small but fatal to the car running, some non-essential in the immediate like lights, but needed, some of these can be fixed on the side of the road. Others are larger repairs, some can be done at home, but even more need such advanced knowledge and tools that it is not likely to be able to be done at home. Now, if you have a friend who is a mechanic, you may be able to borrow the tools needed to do it properly, but sometimes the cost of the tools needed to fix the car exceeds the cost of taking it to a mechanic. And honestly, that is a long list of things. Even if you had perfect knowledge, it doesn’t make sense to fix yourself if you don’t have a huge number of cars to work on.

Towing Myths Debunked in Three Minutes

Going online is a great way to educate yourself on some much-needed information. Not everything you read online is true, though. There are many times the information gets mixed in with false data. The same can be said for the data out there about towing and the services many companies provide.

Here are 7 myths about towing that require some truth seeking and a little bit of tweaking:

  1. Is it true you can increase the payload component by adding more products?

    No, this is not true. A person cannot add in extra suspension products in hopes it will increase the ratings. Are you worried about the suspension payload? There is something that can be done. Level your truck. Decrease the poor handling. Gain access to the leaf springs before you take your journey. Another thing that can be done is work on getting rid of the side-to-side away.

  2. It is not necessary to learn the towing terms?

    This is another myth that needs to be corrected. You do need to learn the terms. There are differences between the two most common terms, GAWR and GVWR. The first one details the maximum weight you can put on the axle. The second one refers to the gross vehicle weight. This includes the vehicle and every passenger on board. This limit should not be exceeded at any time. There are other terms you should educate yourself on. Click here for more details on this.

  3. I can increase the capacity by increasing my trailer hitch.

    The manufacturer has put in a maximum capacity for a reason. At no time should it be messed with. Let us say that you have a capacity of 35,000. There is an exception to this rule. Let us say your hitch is at a capacity of 20,000. At no time should you go over the 20,000 limit. In this case, the hitch capacity will override the actual capacity.

  4. Can you go by the tongue weight?

    This is the one primary cause of failure with towing. There is an incorrect estimation of the tongue weight. You should click here to find out what the tongue weight for your tow truck is. This is the only way to be sure.

  5. Is it true that tongue weight is always 10% of what is being carried?

    It is usually between 10 and 15 percent. There are many variables to consider here. Two to trucks are not one in the same. Do not place most of the weight at the front, towards the hitch. This is placing too much pressure on the hitch. You need to know the exact percentage.

  6. The bearings do not need any kind of upkeep 

    This is wrong information, once more. The bearings are outside 24/7. They need constant upkeep and maintenance. Do you want your truck to break down?

  7. You can get any old hitch extension, right?

    No. You need a proper extension for your tow truck. Not all trucks are made the same in this respect. Most are ready and available in 8 lengths. They measure between 21 and 60 inches a piece. It is best to get specific measurements for this. Your tongue weight needs the proper extension. A shorter one will be more fitting, but you still should check it out.

Are You a Conductor?

Alignment

A conductor of an orchestra has a very important job. Everyone knows they direct music, but it’s much more important than that. A conductor knows every note, the placement of every instrument and every musician and if something or someone is out of alignment in this well-oiled machine of an orchestra, it is his or her job to rectify it. It is important for you to be as diligent as a conductor with your car. If your car is pulling more to one side or the other or it is vibrating on the road, it needs to be properly aligned. Riding around with poor alignment continuously will cause you to have an uneven wear pattern on your tires. Rotating your tires helps you save money on tires and extends the life of your vehicle. You will also save money on fuel because there will be less stress on the car.

Towing, Jump Starts and Fuel Delivery

If you are in need of a tow in the Central Texas area, some companies provide 24 hour live dispatch, long distance towing, off road recovery, tire changes, lockouts, fuel delivery and jump starts. Check with your insurance to see if towing is covered or discounted. 

Separate Lockout Services

Separate lockout services provided by trusted locksmiths for Central Texas are also available. They have a quick response time for a sensible price. These locksmiths will also change locks and make new locks (for businesses or homes) while providing high quality and friendly customer service. They are available 24-7 for roadside assistance. They also offer emergency door unlocking services called PALSavesKids in case your child or pet is locked in the car. This service is free of charge. 

There is a free roadside assistance program available to motorist throughout Central Texas provided by the Highway Emergency Response Operator (HERO). HERO responds to those who need help on I-35 and US 183 who have flat tires and need gas. They also assist with vehicle removals from travel lanes that have been in crashes. HERO also assist with the following: jumping dead batteries, transporting motorists to a safer location, providing cell service to persons in a broken down vehicle, removing trash from travel lanes and shoulders, helping emergency response personnel, calling tow trucks or emergency vehicles and performing minor vehicle repairs.

Although all of these resources are available in case something should go wrong with your vehicle, a responsible car owner keeps up regular maintenance on their vehicle. Regular tune ups, oil changes, brake checks, tire rotations, alignments and car inspects are just a few things that will keep your car in working order. Keep up to date service records in case of any emergencies, such as an accident or break down. Become a good conductor and orchestrate the longevity of your vehicle. 

Winter Tire Maintenance Tips

Close up of a car tire driving on snow

Due to winter weather, your tires can get strange designs on them because they are more exposed to unusual wear, which can potentially cause misalignment of the car’s suspension. There are three alignment adjustments on your car which are a toe, camber, and caster. The important ones are toe and camber settings. The caster setting is not that quite as important, but it serves a purpose as well.

The vertical tilt your car’s tires are described by camber. When the top of your tire tilts outward, that is positive camber. Similarly, if the tire tilts inward, it is negative camber. The car manufacturer’s factory settings are the most suitable for your vehicle. Your tires’ outside edge will wear too much due to positive camber. Inside edges will wear too much if the camber is negative.

The toe setting of your car describes whether or not both tires on the same axle are aligned in what way from each other: toe-in or toe-out. Most of your vehicles have rubber bushings which connect the components of suspension with the body. When your car is moving, non-driven axle tires are pulled back by rolling resistance of the tire. The driven axle tires are pulled forward by driveline torque. Rubber bushings allow slight movement in suspension which are compensated by the toe setting. Your car manufacturer’s favorite setting should also be used for the toe settings of your winter tires.

Your cars come with adjustment specifications of preferred settings which also have a tolerance limit. You should only use vehicle’s factory settings when you align your winter tires. For example, if the factory toe setting for your vehicle is one-eighth of an inch with a tolerance value of one-sixteenth of an inch then vehicle setting should be three-sixteenth of an inch. It will be the maximum limit for toe-in. In other words, both front tires will be dragged eighty feet towards each other for one mile. The ideal practice for you is to check your vehicle’s alignment twice a year. Aligning them in spring will give good performance in summer. Aligning in fall will show good results in winter.

The air pressure of your tires is very important. The air pressure inside your tires carries the weight of the car. Good traction, handling, and durability is only possible if right air pressure is maintained. Your car’s owner manual has recommended tire pressure written on it. It is the cold pressure; therefore, you should check it in the morning before driving the car.

You should check inflation pressure of your tires in early winter months and fall due to its criticality. As days get shorter and colder, the air in your tires contracts. The inflation pressure of your tire changes by one pound per square inch when ten degrees Fahrenheit of temperature changes outside. The difference between average winter and summer temperatures is almost fifty degrees Fahrenheit. It means a pressure of five pounds per square inch can occur in your tires. If you keep your car in a warm garage, the tire pressure will not remain the same when you take out your car. It is very important that you keep the valve caps of your tires on; otherwise, the air will escape as the moisture freezes.

Car Towing FAQs

If you are wondering about car towing, below are general questions that will give you an idea of what to expect.

How can you find your car if it’s been towed?

Your best option in this situation is the Police Department. If you notice that your car has been towed, you should make a point of contacting the Police Department in your city. All the companies both public and private are required to report any towing incidences that they may have undertaken within 30 minutes of towing. So, you will find all the information that you need from the department. You may also look around the area you were parked in for towing signs that may have a phone number on them for you to call the towing company directly.

What happens if a car is on a temporary hold?

When your car is towed, you are expected to pay the penalty and it will be released. However, at times the police may restrict the release of the car and place it on temporary hold. This can happen if the police need to inspect the car and validate the information provided. If your car is placed on hold, you will have to wait for 72 hours before you can get it back. At times, the hold may be shorter if the required information is provided on time, and other times longer. Keep in mind that the 72 hours do not include the weekends and public holiday. Regardless of the reason your car was towed, if the car is placed under restriction, you must obtain a police clearance before you can get it back.

What if your car was damaged during the towing?

Most of the towing companies do have systems in place to protect your car during this process. However, if you feel like your car was damaged when it was towed you are advised to get a claim form from the company in question. You will be required to provide your contact details when filing the claim. Take note that some companies may require you to sign a perjury penalty form stating that your car was damaged during towing.

What if you return before the truck removes the car, will you have to pay?

Yes, you will be required to pay the drop fee. This will only apply though if the truck had not removed the car from the property. The maximum amount of money that you can pay for that is set by your State although most of the time it’s $70. The driver of the truck is required to provide you with a receipt after payment.

What is the information that you should expect when you get your car?

Regardless of whether the car was ordered by a police or a private company, the person who towed should provide you with a hand-written invoice including the following information; details of the car, the time and date of towing, the reason for the tow, the time and date the car was released, your identification information, the location the car was towed from, an inventory of all the items found in the car, a list of all the fees and the reason for each, the name of the company or the officer who authorized the tow and notes of any pre-existing damage to the car.

What To Look For in a Towing Company

If you’re looking for a tow, you probably fall into one of two categories: either you have an automobile that you need to get from point A to point B sometime in the future, or you are stranded on the side of the road and things are looking pretty dire. If you fall into the first category, there are some important questions that you should ask to ensure that you find the right company; for those in the latter group, skip down to the bottom of this post.

Do Your Due Diligence

First off, find out about the company. How many years of experience do they have? Are they a member of any trade organizations? Look for Facebook pages or reviews on sites like Yelp! and Google. Towing vehicles is a cut-throat industry, so being around for a while is a sign of a well-run business.

Next, call the company. You can tell a lot about an organization just from the person who answers the phone. Are they friendly? Do they seem knowledgeable? If you didn’t find a lot of information about the company online, now’s a great time to find out more. How many drivers do they have? Are they employed or contracted?

Once you are satisfied that the company and people are good, best to move onto the trucks. What year, make, and model of tow truck do they use? Different trucks have different capabilities and capacities. If your automobile has any special concerns (e.g., it must be towed on the bed of a truck or in a certain configuration), make sure that their trucks can handle it. How often do their trucks and equipment receive maintenance? Is maintenance done in-house or contracted out? How many trucks are in their fleet and how quickly can one be dispatched if needed?

If everything checks out by this point, move onto the specifics of the job. Where do you need to be picked up and what is the intended destination? How long will it take for the truck to arrive? Will the driver be able to call you as he/she nears the pick-up site?

Finally, make sure that you discuss payment before hanging up. Are there additional fees like “hook-up” or “travel” fees? What types of payments are accepted? These days, more and more companies are able to accept credit and even debit cards, but that hasn’t always been the case, and there are companies out there that still only take either cash or check.

What To Do in a Pinch

So you’re stranded with no time to research? Here are the key questions to ask if you’re short on time:

  • My car has special needs. Are your trucks capable of towing my car?
  • Do you accept my insurance?
  • How long will it take for you to arrive?
  • Can you take my car to XYZ (or can you recommend a mechanic)?
  • What is the total cost including taxes and fees?
  • What forms of payment to do you accept?

Give Us a Call Today

Looking for the BEST towing company in San Marcos, New Braunfels, Kyle and the surrounding areas? Then give Will Tow a call! Ask for Will Cap, the owner. He’ll be glad to help! Tell him the Internet sent ya!

Roadside Assistance Options in Texas

There are a lot of ways to get roadside assistance. Families that have multiple cars save a lot of money over the long run. Sadly, however, not all of these services may be available to you. Some have certain qualifications to joining them. Though a lot of the better services have restrictions on member eligibility, not all of them do. AT&T’s roadside is obviously limited to customers that pay for the subscription. USAA used to only be available to military officers, but now is available to military personnel, their widows, their children, or the children of those who had a USAA product, but as it is more complicated than that, we cover it in more detail below.

AT&T:

AT&T’s plan is among the absolute cheapest, but that is because to enroll you must have a cellphone plan through them. It is $2.99/month for the cheapest plan. Like most other roadside companies, they can use your phone to pinpoint the location you’re stranded at. If you do not have Roadside Assistance, but do have an AT&T cellular plan, you may qualify for your first 30 days free! This list of services provided is pulled from AT&T’s website.

    • Towing for mechanical failure

    • Make minor/temporary repairs

    • Battery jump-start

    • Unlock and key service

    • Flat tire assistance

    • Winching service

    • Out-of-gas fuel delivery

AAA:

This is a great option, especially if you don’t happen to qualify for any of the other plans, for whatever reason that may be. They’re also very affordable, $16 to become an AAA member for a year, and $56 and $124 for the standard and premium plans, respectively. It is $34 to add a spouse or family member to the plan. The standard(“classic”) plan includes 4 calls a year, for things like fuel delivery, tire assistance, locksmith for your car, dead batteries, towing and mostly everything a basic plan normally has. Sadly, AAA Classic only offers 3 miles of towing. But the premium plan has extra benefits, as well as all the benefits one gets from premium. If your car breaks down 100+ miles from home, they’ll cover $1500 worth of travel fees. Traffic tickets are covered via legal representation in court and identity theft protection are also included.

USAA:

From their website, coverage is available to:

    • Active, retired and honorably separated officers and enlisted personnel of the U.S. military

    • Officer candidates in commissioning programs (Academy, ROTC, OCS/OTS). Adult children whose eligible parents have or had a USAA auto or property insurance product*

    • Widows and widowers of USAA members who have or had a USAA auto or property insurance policy

    *Children must be 18 years or older to be eligible for USAA membership and purchase products in their own name. Children under the age of 18 can be listed as family members on their eligible parents’ auto policies.

    If you have car insurance with USAA, it is likely to only cost $12-$15 a year to add it onto an existing policy. It has everything a basic roadside assistance plan should already have. USAA is absolutely amazing, and if you qualify, should 100% be purchased.

Don’t Blame The Cold For Your Car’s Dead Battery

Dead Car Battery

We’ve all been there. You’re rushing out the door to get to work one frigid winter morning, hop in the car ready to blast the heater and get comfortable; your turn the key… and nothing happens. Your car’s battery is dead.

It’s easy to blame the cold weather for your battery’s untimely death, but did you know your battery was likely taking a beating in the summer heat long before the cool winter air rolled in? It’s true–heat, more than cold, shortens battery life and efficiency.

Most car batteries tend to last for about 5-7 years with normal use. However, extreme heat (such as a normal Texas summer) can cause the liquid in the battery to evaporate. These low fluid levels can damage the internal structure of the battery.

High temperatures aren’t the only culprit, however. If your car’s voltage regulator malfunctions, it can push more voltage than it should to the battery, which slowly kills the battery as time goes on. You probably won’t notice this issue until it’s too late–like when you’re heading to work one cold morning and your car simply refuses to start. This can be due to the fact that colder weather thickens the oil in your car’s engine, which means the battery has to work harder (and sometimes it just doesn’t have the power left to push through).

In order to keep your battery healthy for as long as possible, be sure to have your mechanic check your car’s electrical system so they can catch any early warning signs before it’s too late. Also be sure to keep the top of the battery clean, as dirt and grease build up can drain battery power.

While looking for dirt and grease build up, also keep an eye peeled for corrosion on the battery terminals. This corrosion can reduce the flow of the current and lead to more battery woes.

If your battery is on its last leg, don’t hesitate to replace it. It’s often cheaper to take care of it before it becomes a full-blown problem than after when you’re stranded in a parking lot and having to pay to have it towed to a shop to pay for a new battery and labor costs. Fortunately replacing a battery yourself is a fairly straightforward task if you have the proper knowledge and don’t mind getting your hands dirty.

If you find yourself unable to get your car started, fret not. Be sure to call a reputable local towing company to get you squared away as quickly and affordably as possible. If you’re looking for such a towing company in the San Marcos or New Braunfels, TX areas, be sure to give Will Tow a call–we’d love to help you get back up and running as quickly and painlessly as possible.