Road Side Safety Tips

Even the most prepared drivers find themselves stuck on the side of the road at least once. Brand new and well-maintained old automobiles stop working for a variety of reasons, including part defects, tire punctures, blown fuses and dead batteries. Whether it’s daytime or nighttime, you should never think that you are 100 percent safe while waiting for a tow truck. Another car can collide with you, your passengers or your vehicle at any time. You can also experience any one of many different kinds of attacks from human and animal predators.

Follow these tips to help you stay safe while waiting:

    Ignore Repair Temptations

You likely called for a tow truck because you don’t have the right tools to make repairs or enough mechanical experience beyond replacing fluids or pumping tires. Ignore the impulse to tinker with your vehicle while you wait even if you want to see if you can better understand the mechanical problem. You might cause yourself serious injury or trap yourself under your vehicle.

    Broadcast Your Position

Contact someone in your social circle to let them know where you broke down. Agree to call them back every half hour and give them the name and number of the tow truck service to make absolutely certain that at least one person who cares about you has some idea where to check if you don’t follow-up by the agreed upon time. Turn on your flashers, if possible, and set up roadside flares or snap glow sticks to make it easier for the tow truck driver to find you and to warn other drivers to use caution when driving past your vehicle.

    Wait Safely Inside

Unless you locked yourself out of your vehicle or the cabin contains fumes or smoke, always wait inside with the doors locked to protect yourself and/or any passengers from attacks. If you can’t stay inside, maintain constant awareness of your environment by regularly looking around you and noting the positions of other vehicles and people and the elements. Situational awareness can warn you of the potential for an attack, accident or bad weather.

    Demand Official Identification

Plenty of criminals pretend to be tow truck drivers, locksmiths and police officers. They lie in wait and then show up in an official-looking uniform or vehicle. Sometimes a flat tire or engine problem happens because one or more criminals targeted a driver days before, studied the driver’s movements and modified the driver’s vehicle just enough for it to break down at a certain point along a normal travel route. Never get out of your car when someone approaches it. Crack the window and ask the person to prove his or her identity. For example, ask the towing service for the driver’s employee ID and then ask the driver to confirm it or ask an officer for his official number and then call 911.

Bonus tips: Keep pepper spray and any weapon-like object, such as a screwdriver or jack handle, at hand in case you’re faced with an attacker. Always remember to ask your towing service for additional tips when you call them.

How to Become a Tow Truck Driver

We all see these reality shows that have made being a tow truck driver seem like it is the best thing in the world. There are some truths you will want and need to know about before you get behind the wheel of a tow truck. If you are looking to become a tow truck driver, then you need to know that this is a world that is not a glamorous as you might expect. There are a lot of long hours and a lot of driving that you will have to do. None the less, we will talk about the process that is involved to make this a reality and see if it is as possible as you might hope that it is. 

The first step to this process seems like it would be the most obvious one. You will need a valid driver’s license. You may think that this is a no brainer, but you would be surprised at the number of people that will not take this simple advice and make sure that they have a valid license in order to drive a tow truck. It is also a good idea to make sure that you are prepared for the company that you are looking to drive for to want to look at your driving record. They will want to make sure that those that they are employing to drive their trucks are safe drivers and will not end up on the back of a tow truck themselves. 

You may want to make sure that you invest in a CDL. This is not always a requirement, but it is a good idea in case the truck that they want you to drive would require you having a CDL. The lack of the proper license can cost you a chance at a good paying job and leave you fighting for one of the few jobs that they actually have. 

Make sure that you pass the CDL tests. This is a little more complex than a standard driving test as you have to prove you have the knowledge of operating a large truck, and you also have to prove that you have the skills to handle this as well. You will be in charge of a very heavy vehicle and if you are not careful, you can do some serious damage with the tow truck. Find the number of classes that are offered in your state and find out what the requirements are for you to get certified. 

Now comes the hard part; looking out for driving jobs in your area. These are listed online, in the paper and on bulletin boards all the time. The problem is often times these are in short demand and will require you to be on the ready to apply when you find one that interest you. 

The last step is once you have managed to find a job, you will just now need to make sure that you attend the on-the-job training for all aspects involving the job. Some companies will prefer to have a person that is experienced, while others will be happy to train you in everything that you need. They want to make sure that their drivers are not only helping their customers, but also that the drivers are safe and know what they are doing.

Getting Your Vehicle Out of the Snow or Mud

Tow truck helping a car get out of the snow

Stuck in the snow or mud?

Driving in adverse conditions is difficult enough, but encountering mud or snow can really put a wrench in the day for even the best drivers out there. Such conditions actually limit the amount of traction on most vehicles, meaning that it can quickly become difficult to navigate. If or when a vehicle becomes stuck, it can become almost impossible to get enough traction to get underway again, meaning that towing is just about the only available option.

If you find yourself stuck in the snow or mud, rapid spinning of the tires can actually do more harm than good. All that will do is simply create a bigger hole for the vehicle, and it is generally considered to be a waste of time. It is in such situations where a tow is the best bet, and thankfully few people are ever very far away from a reputable and professional towing service.

Central Texas might be dry for much of the year, but when the rain does hit it can do so with a vengeance. This means that even the most well intentioned and careful of drivers can quickly find themselves in a sticky situation. There are a few trick that you could try to get unstuck from the mud or snow prior to calling for a tow truck.

They include:

  • Remove the snow or mud from around the tires

It is quite common for people who drive in cold weather conditions, or who find themselves often in remote locations, to keep a small shovel in the trunk of their car or bed of the truck. If you do happen to have such a tool, consider trying to remove the snow or mud from the immediate area surrounding the tires. This could help put the tires on solid footing for just a long enough period of time in order to regain traction once again.

  • Try to drive in a low gear

The key in this situation is to get your tires to find some type of solid ground. If you have an automatic transmission, try putting the car in the lowest gear available. You will then want to lightly touch on the gas in order to just give the slightest of movement to the tires. This will hopefully allow the wheels to gain just the right amount of traction required to being inching the car forward. This can also be done with a manual transmission by putting the car into a high gear and then letting of the clutch very slowly to have the same effect of trying to inch the car forward and get out of the hole that it has found itself in.

If you are by yourself, you will want to be extremely careful in trying to move the car on your own. In addition, if the car is going up hill, do not try to push from behind. For these reasons, and numerous others, it your best bet is to stay calm and call a tow truck. They will come out to the scene, assess the situation, and work to get you unstuck as quickly as possible.

Occupational Hazards of Being a Tow Truck Driver

Safety on the Road

Every occupation has its own risks, big or small. While being on the road is a risk in itself, tow truck drivers face even more challenges than a regular motorist. They may be heroes to those stuck on the side of the road after a breakdown but make no mistake, their job is not an easy one.

Bad Weather Conditions

Driving in unsavory weather conditions is tough enough without having an extra vehicle attached to your own. Not only do tow truck drivers have to worry about handling their own load, they must also be vigilant to watch out for debris and other motorists that have lost control of their own car. One slip up in the rain or snow could mean big trouble for anyone, and adding another truck into the mix just adds onto that risk.

Other Motorists

Unfortunately, there have been many reports of deaths linked to this particular occupation. Motorists who are not paying attention have struck these drivers while they are hooking up a vehicle on the side of the road. This is especially unfortunate because these deaths could have be easily prevented by people taking accountability and watching out for others on the road. Tow truck drivers must be careful of other cars when on-duty, and this can be tough after a long shift.

Being on the Road

Driving is dangerous no matter how experienced the person behind the wheel is. Things can happen in the blink of an eye that could cause a small accident at the least, or a fatality at the worst. Some drivers behind the wheel assume they are invincible, and stop taking larger vehicles like tow trucks into consideration. Tow truck drivers are on the road for at least eight hours of the day, which statistically puts them at a greater risk for being involved in an accident.

Feeling Fatigued

Long hours on the road can cause fatigue in drivers, making it much easier for them to slip up on the road. Although sleep and energy drinks may help to an extent, facing exhaustion on the road is highly dangerous for obvious reasons, both for tow truck drivers and ordinary motorists.

Backlash from Individuals

Many tow truck drivers must repossess vehicles from individuals who have not made payments and defaulted on their cars. This can cause problems for the driver, as some will attempt to attack the driver for simply doing his job. There are a some people who will even attempt to jump in their car while the tow operator is trying to secure it, making their job both difficult and unsafe. This may not be an everyday occurrence for most tow truck drivers, but it does come with the territory.

Being diligent and safe on the road is the first step to ensuring that these drivers are not put in any unnecessary danger. While all accidents are not able to be prevented, knowing your surroundings and obeying traffic laws can make a world of difference in keeping the roads safe for everyone.

Everything You Need to Know If You’ve Been Towed

Tow Away Zone

Everything You Need to Know If You’ve Been Towed

If you don’t pay attention you sometimes break the law without realizing it. Perhaps you are on your way to get dinner with some friends and you are chatting in the car. You park the car, lock it and walk inside. After a meal and some drinks you pay the check and exit the restaurant only to find your car is gone.

You look at the parking sign for the section you parked in and realize it was a tow zone. Your car has been towed.

What do you do now? Let’s have a look.

For those of you who have never had this happen to you, this information should prepare you for the situation in case it happens to you one day. If it has happened to you, you may or may not know how to properly handle the situation when your car is towed.

Here are the proper steps to take if you think your car has been towed:

1. Stay Calm

You won’t be thinking clearly if you panic and the stress will be unpleasant. Your car has been towed. Stressing won’t help the situation. This can be difficult but it’s essential. If you do begin to panic, take a seat and give yourself time to calm down.

2. Contact the Tow Company or the Police

At this point you don’t know where your car is and the towing company hasn’t left you a card with this information. Check the tow sign in the parking lot. Does it list the tow company’s name and/or phone number? If so, call them and see if they have your vehicle. If not, it’s time for some investigation. Even though it may feel like an emergency, in the eyes of the police it is not so this is not an appropriate time to call 911. Unless you need your car immediately to tend to someone’s health or another serious matter, it’s important to stay calm and call the police station.

If you don’t know the number dial 411 to get it. It’s likely that the dispatcher will be able to tell you where your car is or if it has not been towed. In this case, it is likely that your car has been stole.

You could also Google local towing companies and call them to find out if they have your car.

3. Call Someone to Pick You Up

You will be stressed so try to think of someone you trust who won’t yell at you or make you feel worse than you already may. If you know someone who wouldn’t mind taking you to find the impound lot, try them first so that you can get your car back that day or night. Some impound lots charge holding fees if the vehicle is left there for a certain amount of time.

4. Get the Funds

Different impound lots take different forms of payment. Once you discover which lot has your car, ask them which payment forms they accept. It’s not uncommon for a towing company to only accept cash. In this case, find out how much it will cost and find the nearest ATM machine. Towing lots can cost as much as $300, but the cost will vary depending on the city and the circumstances.

5. Learn

While having your car towed is an inconvenience, it can also been seen as a lesson. While it’s unfortunate that it happened once, this experience can serve as a reminder for you to pay attention next time or to not risk it when you see the signs.

In Conclusion

If this happens, try to stay calm and call the police. Find out if your car has been stolen or towed. If it’s been towed, locate the lot it has been taken to, contact the towing company to find out how much it will cost and what forms of payment they accept. Make sure you have the correct means for payment and then call a trusted friend to pick you up and take you to the impound lot. Give yourself some time to forgive yourself.

Why Is My Car Overheating?

We’ve all been there: riding down the road, singing along to your favorite song, blasting that cold AC on a perfect spring day… and then you look down to see your car’s thermostat is rising. Wonder what that means? And it keeps going, then it’s in the red, and then all of the sudden engine lights are coming on, your car is acting odd–you suddenly realize you have a serious problem. You start to panic; why is this happening? What do I do?

Some common causes of an overheating car can be outside temperature, a hose leak, a bad water pump, faulty radiator, a bad thermostat, using the air conditioning, or probably a million other things.

First things first: Pull over to a safe place and turn your car off. If you continue to drive an overheating car you can do irreversible damage to the engine. Pop the hood to allow cooler air around the engine. Many times giving the car time to cool down is the only solution you may need. You also can’t do anything if a larger problem exists until the engine is cool.

NEVER take off the radiator cap. It is pressurized and can cause you some serious burns!

Once the car has cooled down (with GREAT caution) check your antifreeze levels and also check hoses for any leaks or blockages. If there is a leak and you are losing antifreeze or it is not getting to where it needs to be, it will cause the car to overheat. If this is the case you may need to contact a mechanic to fix the problem.

If you are low on antifreeze adding more to the fill line might do the trick. Be careful and only use the manufacturer’s recommended coolant for your vehicle. You can always check your owner’s manual if you aren’t sure what is recommended.

Preventative maintenance might be your best bet in avoiding all this overheating trouble. When doing preventative maintenance check for four key things:

  • Make sure vehicle has enough antifreeze
  • Check condition of hoses and belts
  • Do regular oil changes
  • Check the motor fan regularly

Checking these things can keep your car running longer and keep you out of panic mode.

Once you have tried all these things go ahead and restart your car. Make sure you keep an eye on that temperature gauge though in case the problem is more serious; you might need a tow and a mechanic.

A safety kit is always an important thing to keep in your vehicle for times like this. You should always have a blanket, a small toolkit, water, snacks, flashlights, and a first aid kit. You never know what time of day or season this might happen and you can’t rely on your heat in the dead of winter if you vehicle is overheating. Being prepared if you have to wait on a tow truck can make a bad situation a little easier.

An overheating vehicle can seem scary and stressful, but it definitely doesn’t need to be! If you find yourself stranded on the side of the road in San Marcos, TX due to an overheating vehicle, or any other problem, give Will Tow a call for quick and affordable roadside assistance! We’ll pick you up and get your car to your mechanic so you can get back on the road ASAP!

A Look at Towing Capacity

When it comes to towing, nearly every vehicle–from a pick-up to a crossover–will have a factory rating that tells you how much it can pull. This information is important as it allows you to safely haul without issues such as insufficient power, cooling problems, difficulty braking, handling, and even structural failures. Where do you find these ratings and what else do you need to know to tow safely?

Teams of engineers have spent time in labs, testing grounds and roads in all kinds of weather conditions to make sure vehicles live up to their towing ratings. It is safe to assume that that these numbers are based on research and competitive needs. The auto industry does not want competition to be able to haul more than their vehicles. There are industry standards for tow ratings. A team of engineers from several major automobile companies formed procedures for establishing Gross Combined Weight (GCW) and towing ratings. They can be researched for your specific vehicle.

The starting point for designing a vehicle that can tow is researching customer needs. They engineers study the competition, perform a market analysis, and then set up design around gross axle weight ratings (GAWR), payload and tongue weight. This creates a criteria for the design and specific components for a vehicle.

What does this mean to the consumer? The towing capacity of your vehicle is how much weight your vehicle can haul. The factors that affect towing capacity are the transmissions, strength of the motor, brakes and axle. In addition, the size and weight of what you are looking to tow comes into play. Before you even think about towing anything, it is highly advisable to know and understand your towing capacity. If you exceed your vehicle’s limits, you will find it is difficult to stop and make turns. This could be extremely dangerous in a highway situation.

Where do you find this information? Your vehicle should have a compliance certification label if you chose to look for it rather than find the information for your vehicle on the Internet. Look for the label on the driver’s side door sill. The sticker will have information about the gross vehicle weight (GVW) and gross combination weight (GAW). You will also find information on the gross axle weight (GAW) and the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). If you check in your vehicle owner’s manual, you can get more information about the specifics of towing and learn just how much your vehicle can handle.

Lastly, make sure your vehicle is in good shape to handle the extra stress of towing. Check your tire pressure, fluid levels and plan your trip out carefully. There are towing restrictions and designated towing lanes on certain highways. Take your time and keep your vehicle at a safe speed. Make sure all lights work and can be seen on whatever vehicle you are towing. Taking these precautions will insure you are as safe as possible when taking on the added responsibility of towing.

If you need a vehicle towed but don’t have the right vehicle for the job in San Marcos, TX, be sure to contact Will Tow to discuss your needs! We can help tow whatever you need, to wherever it needs to go–at a surprisingly affordable rate!

Using Your Car to Tow a Camper or RV

Towing a Camper or RV with your vehicle

One of the most memorable and exciting family activities is taking the entire family camping. Having a camper or RV to take to the campsite allows a family to move their base of operations to the wild, while still having a comfortable place to sleep. These vehicles also provide some amenities that you just can’t get in a tent, like a bathroom, kitchen and recreation areas that make life in the wild acceptable to even the fussiest family members. These camping homes on wheels are great but you still have to get them to your campsites. They are designed to be towed, but it takes a little bit of knowledge to tow your camper or RV safely and efficiently, avoiding any major mishaps along the way.

Getting Started Traveling with a Camper

Traveling with an RV or Camper in tow is not a complicated process, but there are some steps that need to be followed to ensure a safe trip. The first prep-work takes place before you move one inch from where you started. Make sure that all of your gear is packed safely and securely inside the trailer. Otherwise, there may be items falling over or crashing while you are traveling. There are going to be sharp corners and quick stops. The overall weight of the load should be well balanced and appropriate for the vehicle. If the items are not balanced than it could lead to a trailer tipping on a sharp turn. The same could happen if there is too much weight. The vehicle towing the trailer may have issues if the weight is too much for it to tow around. The type of vehicle used for towing will also determine the weight the trailer should carry. The rule of thumb is the bigger the vehicle, the more weight you can put in your trailer. A smaller vehicle should tow a lighter load.

Attaching the Trailer

Once you are confident with the weight of the load, the distribution, and that all items are securely in place, then it is time to hook on to the trailer. The vehicle is backed up to the trailer hitch so that the towing ball is located directly under the towing hitch of the camper/RV. It is always easier to do with someone guiding you from behind. Then you use the lowering crank of the trailer to lower the hitch onto the towing ball of your vehicle. There are a couple of considerations here as well. You need to make sure that the towing ball is the right size for the trailer that you are towing. Then you also have to make sure that the towing apparatus you have is compatible with carrying the weight of the trailer. Making sure that these two are appropriate for each other will ensure a hitch that will last the whole trip. It will allow you to avoid losing your camping palace on the way to paradise. Many travelers use a stabilizing bar to help stabilize the trailer and minimize the risk of an accident.

The size of your vehicle and the type of camper is going to determine the type of hitch you will need. If you have a question about this you should contact a qualified expert towing service to get you headed in the right direction.

Final Preparations for Towing

Once the trailer is properly attached to your vehicle there are a couple of final steps to go through in order to hit the road safely. First, double-check the hitch and make sure it is secure to the vehicle with any safety chains or devices that the hitch requires. The next step is to make sure the lights of the trailer are attached and synchronized with your vehicle. This means that all of the brake lights and blinkers are working appropriately. This is a simple thing, but can lead to an accident if they are not functioning on the open road.

Ready to Go Camping

Now you are ready to head out on your camping trip, to enjoy a safe and fun vacation with the whole family. Remember to drive extra carefully with a trailer behind you. The turning radius and stopping distance that you use need to be increased. Also, speed should be managed much more closely than usual. It is not a good idea to speed while towing any trailer because it will increase the likelihood of an accident or breakdown. There are also other features that you might like to look for to enhance your safety, like a break system for your camper or RV, which will increase your stopping power.

Preventative Car Care & Maintenance Tips

There are many things that you can do to help yourself, and your vehicle, that can reduce the chances of you breaking down or getting stuck and needing to call a towing company. Heeding these tips and tricks can save you a lot of unneeded hassle and expense.

Tire Care

  • Do not put air in your tires if the temperature is under 10 degrees. There is a chance that all of the air could be let out of your tires.
  • Practice regularly changing, rotating, and maintaining your tires before an emergency comes up. Neglecting your tires is one of the leading causes of being stranded on the roadside.

Being Stuck

  • If you live where it frequently snows, keep kitty litter in your trunk. Pouring the litter under and behind your tires in the snow can help your tires get traction.
  • If you need to dig yourself out of a spot, use your tire’s hubcap as a makeshift shovel.

Engine Fluids

  • Taking note of the color of any leaks can help you and your mechanic determine the source and type of leak.
  • Line an old cookie sheet with either cardboard or kitty litter to catch oil drips.
  • Change the engine coolant regularly to help prevent any potential engine malfunctions.

Keep it Clean

  • If you live in an area where it often snows, keep a small broom in your vehicle to quickly and easily clean the snow off of your car.
  • If you have several areas inside your car that are hard to clean, buy a foam tipped paintbrush. The narrow tip will get into hard to reach areas and collect any built up dirt or grime.
  • Use a mixture of baking soda and water to clean your windshields.
  • Baking soda is also useful for cleaning up your headlights.
  • Use a sprinkler or similar device to clean under your car. Move it from the front to back to ensure that you have cleaned your underside of all the debris picked up from the road.

Being Prepared

  • Keep a writing utensil handy to be able to write down necessary information during a wreck. Also use your phone to take pictures of both vehicles.
  • If the paint on your car has been chipped, clean it and coat the spot with clear nail polish to help prevent rust.
  • Rub the rubber blades of your windshield wipers lightly with sandpaper to help extend their use if they have started wearing down.
  • If you suddenly hear silence while driving during winter months, this is a good sign that you are driving on ice. Take extra care not to slam on your breaks or make any sudden movements to help avoid being in an accident.

Of course, following the above advice can help reduce your chances of being stuck on the side of the road. However, nothing is fool-proof. If you find yourself needing roadside assistance in San Marcos, TX, be sure to give Will Tow a call, we’d love to help!

Moving Over for Emergency Vehicles

Fire Truck with Flashing Lights

Almost every driver has been in a situation where they were in front of an emergency vehicle that was operating with its lights and sirens at least once or twice. It seems like this is an anxiety-inducing situation for most individuals. Some move over right away, others seem to panic and lose all sense of what they are supposed to do. Rest assured, any first responder that is operating with lights and sirens does not have a goal to run someone off the road. Doing so would be counterproductive. After all, they are there to help people, not to cause additional harm. However, it is vitally important that anyone operating a motor vehicle understands why it is so important to move over for an emergency vehicle. Doing so gives first responders the courtesy they deserve and it increases safety for everyone who shares the road. Perhaps, most importantly, it is simply doing the right thing to do.

Give First Responders the Courtesy They Deserve

By moving over and allowing first responders to continue on, drivers are exercising a courtesy. In fact, the person who is operating the emergency vehicle is essentially requesting the right of way by alerting other drivers to the fact that they need to get through the area as quickly and safely as possible. When drivers fail to yield to them, they might be preventing a first responder from getting to a call or making it to the hospital in a timely fashion. There are times when a few minutes makes all the difference between life and death. Therefore, drivers should do everything they can to safely get out of the way and allow emergency vehicles to pass.

Safety

In most cities and towns across the United States, the roads are already congested enough. This makes driving from one location to the next hazardous, even before anything else is added to the mixture. Throw in a few frustrated drivers that are already running late for an appointment and then place an emergency vehicle in the area and you have a potential recipe for disaster. All it takes is one person who refuses to move over to block the line for the emergency vehicle and everyone else. By the same token, drivers that refuse to move over create an unsafe condition for everyone who is operating on that roadway. The emergency vehicle has to get through, and making it more difficult than necessary only increases the level of risk for both the first responders and the citizens who are simply trying to get wherever they are going. The best thing that any driver can do is move over as far to the right as safely possible and hold that position until the vehicle passes.

It’s the Right Thing To Do

Imagine what that would be like if it was your loved one in the back of the ambulance or your house that the fire truck or the police car was responding to. You would definitely want everyone else to get out of the way so they could get where they need to go in order to help you or your loved ones. If you look at it like this, it becomes much easier to give them a little more courtesy and refrain from becoming frustrated simply because you might be delayed to your destination by a few extra minutes.

In closing, it is of paramount importance that you move over for emergency vehicles but that you do so safely. Don’t allow the sirens or the lights to scare you, but only to alert you that someone is behind you who needs to get by as quickly as possible. Maintain your level of courtesy to them and everyone else on the road, and every driver will have the opportunity to get where they are going quickly and safely.

Tips for Buying a Used Car

Buying a used car can be scary business. Even a used car is a substantial financial investment, likely to cost thousands of dollars. Your choice will also affect you for years to come, and you do depend on that choice to get you to work and other things. There is also the debate about whether to buy used or new. You get a car for a lot less money used, and you don’t lose as much on depreciation, but you also don’t have the assurance of protection of a new car warranty. We’ve put these tips together to help reduce the chances of buying a faulty used car that leaves you stranded on the side of the road.

Regardless of how you feel about the debate, here are five things to keep in mind when you shop for a new car.

1. Do your research. Determine the type of car you can afford, and then use the Internet to find a few that fit in that price range. Most dealers have websites now, so you can see cars available online for miles around. Also check the reputation of dealers. There are a lot of dealers, so you don’t have to put up with any shady dealers. Know what the price of the car should be before you go look.

2. Investigate the car. Ask for maintenance records, but usually there are not any. Get a Carfax report, or any kind of similar report on the car. This will tell you if it has been involved in an accident or had a major incident. It isn’t foolproof, but at least it is a start. If a dealer refuses, walk away and don’t look back. You might also take the car to a mechanic and get them to give it a quick look, hopefully someone you know and trust. They will be able to spot anything that is obvious to a professional. Dealers are good at detail and making any car look great. Again, if you get resistance from the seller on this point, walk away.

3. Avoid suspicious deals. If a deal seems to good to be true, there is something wrong and you should not take it. No one sells a $10,000 car for $3,000, so if you get an offer like that, run away fast. Also avoid any deals that do not include a free and clear title at the time of sale. Sometimes a dealer will try to sell a wrecked car that has a salvaged title.

4. Buying from individuals is risky. When you buy from an individual, you may get a better price and at may be a great deal. It also may not. There is just more risk there and you have no protection. With a dealer at least, usually there is a 30 day warranty.

5. Consider all your options. There are other ways than buying from a used car lot or an individual. Car rental companies also sell off their vehicles. These are well maintained, even if they have a few scratches and have been treated rough. Cars off lease are another option. If you know a lot about cars, you can even go to an auction, but that is risky.

Of course, the end goal of following the above tips is to help ensure you don’t end up with a junker car that frequently breaks down. We know getting stranded on the side of the road can be scary & frustrating. However, if you find yourself broken down around the San Marcos, TX area, give Will Tow a call and we’ll get you towed where you need to go as quickly as possible.

Steps to Take if You Find Yourself Locked Out of Your Car

Every driver fears locking their keys in a car, and the reality is: it happens. When you find yourself in this situation what can you do? Below are a few ideas that will help you to quickly rectify this unfortunate situation.

Dial 911 if You Don’t Feel Safe

Safety comes first, and you should call 911 to get help on the road fast if you don’t feel safe where you’re stranded. In many cases the authorities may be able to unlock the door. But if they are unable to provide you with the necessary assistance or tools to unlock it, you or they can call a roadside assistance/towing company to help out. But at the least you’ll feel safe, and safety is first and foremost.

Purchase A Vehicle With Advantages

Some cars won’t lock with the power-lock button if the key is in the ignition and a door is not closed. Additionally, several automobiles from Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury have provided a doorway-mounted keypad that enables you to tap in a code to unlock the door. If you drive an automobile with a programmed system such as for instance Hyundai’s Blue Link, GM’s On Star, or Mercedes Benz Mbrace, you can call a toll-free customer service to have your automobile remotely unlocked. These methods also provide free software that let smart phone owners unlock their doors themselves.

Get A Spare Key

A dealer might have the ability to make you an affordable key that’ll only open the door (but wont’t start your car). You’ll probably require your VIN (which is visible during the lower border of the driver’s-side windshield) and proof that you own the automobile. Obviously, you’ll also need a ride to the car dealer.

Request Roadside Assistance

Alright! Now here’s when those annual auto-membership charges actually pay off. There are many organizations that will provide road-side support to help you, although it can take a while for them to reach you. Many new cars come with roadside assistance throughout the basic warranty period. Your owner’s manual should have that information, but obviously that’s locked inside the car so you won’t have access to it. The number to call may be present on a window decal. Contact the dealership for details. The number should be saved in your phone, or write it down in keep it in your wallet. If you don’t have a new vehicle or don’t belong to a road side service organization you should inquire about incorporating roadside assistance to your insurance plan.

Keep Your Spare Key Handy

Remember to keep your extra key somewhere in a safe place. Stash it in your wallet, your handbag, or a well-concealed place on the automobile. You can buy a magnetic carton that can hold an it, and place it beneath the car. Or maybe consider leaving an extra key with some one who could save you in the event of a lock out.

If You’re out of free options, contact a local towing company. Most towing solutions will provide lockout support for a reasonable price. If you find yourself looking for lock out services in San Marcos, TX, be sure to call Will Tow for quick and affordable assistance!

All About Towing Capacity

On occasion, you may find yourself needing to tow a car or trailer. If your only vehicle is a car, it’s possible, but you’ll need to be careful and check a number of factors before you hitch up and drive off. If you own a truck, you’re probably good to go–but you should still take a bit of time to do some research to be sure your vehicle is capable of properly and safely hauling your cargo.

Dangers of Not Checking a Tow Truck’s Ratings

One thing you need to make sure of is that your vehicle can safely tow your other vehicle or trailer. You’ll need to factor in the weight the item to be hauled, plus any heavy cargo that you might be carrying.

If the vehicle you’re considering to use cannot handle your load’s weight, this could cause your vehicle to blow a tire or have brake issues. Both of these incidents can damage to your car.

Make Sure the Tongue is Taken Into Account

The tongue, or the towing vehicle’s trailer hitch, needs to be in perfect condition. Verifying that the tongue weight is about 10 percent of the entire tow truck’s weight is important for two reasons, which are:

  • A tongue that is heavy protects your haul from swaying too much as your vehicle transports the haul.
  • A tongue that is heavy but still light enough–what some tow truck experts call the 10 percent mark–helps ensure that the towing vehicle’s steering operates at optimal capacity.

Ensure That Any Cargo is Properly Distributed

Your vehicle’s towing abilities can be affected by the weight of your haul’s load. Keep this in mind if you have heavy objects in the vehicle or trailer you’re hauling. It’s also very important that you move some of these items around to evenly balance the weight if need-be. You may even need to move some of the items into the vehicle you’re using to haul the cargo. If you’re hauling a car, leaving heavy items at the very back of it may put your car’s muffler in danger because the load may cause your car to drag too low.

It is also imperative that the items are secured wherever they are placed, as you will likely need to turn or switch lanes from time to time. The swaying of your haul may cause the items to move while in transit, which could cause damage to some of your car’s compartments or other items that may be inside. Heavy items could also throw your towing vehicle out of balance, which could make it difficult to control the haul.

These are just a few of the key issues that you should consider when it comes to towing capacity. What you have to remember is that asking these questions or verifying that everything is correct are steps to ensure you and your haul make it safely to your destination.

How to Properly Jump a Dead Car Battery

Jumper Cables on a Dead Battery

So you’re out and about running errands, everything seems fine and all of a sudden the unthinkable happens. Your car battery dies. Relax, no need to panic, the process of jumping a car is actually a lot more simple than you would think. Just follow these instructions and you will still make it home for dinner.

First Things First

Now you will need a second car with a working battery before you can get anything done, plus jumper cables to create a line between the two that will charge your dead battery. Any car will do, so you don’t have to worry about difference in make or model, but unless you can summon lightening, the second car is a must. Also before you even start considering connecting anything to any part of either car, establish which handles of the jumper cables are positive, and which are negative. This bit is important to know unless you want an electrical meltdown along with your emotional one.

So now that you’ve gotten the proper equipment and a buddy to see you through your sorrows, let’s continue.

Making a Connection

First of all you need to make sure that both cars are OFF. Read that one more time as it is very important, both cars need to be off before you attach either of the clamps.

Now, see if the battery is visible under your hood, if not don’t worry everything is going to be alright. Look under the hood for what is called the positive post, it has a red cap on it. Unscrew the cap and attach the red (the POSITIVE end) cable. After you accomplish this, pick up the black (the NEGATIVE end) cable to the negative post which usually has a black cap. If you cannot find a negative post, then you must find a ground source. That means attach the negative cable to the metal frame or part of the body of the car that is metal.

If the battery under your hood IS visible, the same rules apply, put the positive cable with the positive post and the negative cable with the negative post or attach it to a metal part of your car as a ground source.

Now that you have accomplished this, it’s time to turn your attentions to the second car. Do the exact same thing. Remember when I said know which is positive and which is negative, this is extremely important at this juncture. Do not cross the lines, you are not a Ghost buster. Positive goes with positive, and negative with negative.

Now on the off chance that the colors are different, there are other ways to check what kind of cable you have. One cable is marked with a “+” that is the positive cable. The cable with a “-” is the negative. Do not get these mixed up please.

Charging Ahead

You successfully hooked up the cars, all that’s left now is to turn on the car with the good battery. Allow it to charge the bad battery until you can start your car! If you find yourself stranded and can’t find a friendly passer-by to help jump your car in San Marcos, TX, be sure to give Will Tow a call–we offer quick and affordable roadside assistance so we can help get you back on the road.

Tire Maintenance Tips

Probably the most common need for roadside assistance is a flat or blown tire. In a pinch, Will Tow will come rescue on the road from an emergency like this, but we want you to be as prepared and proactive about this situation as possible so we are going to teach you a little bit about tire maintenance.

Proper inflation pressure is very important for optimum performance, safety and fuel savings. To maintain proper tire pressure, try to check your tires often, at least once a month. Make sure they are cool and you didn’t just stop driving and use an accurate pressure gauge. Tire inflation is especially important before long trips in which the vehicle can be worn a little more than usual and the owner is farther away from a comfortable repair shop or possibly in the middle of nowhere. Always check and inflate your tires before a long trip.

There is always a recommended level at which the manufacturer states the tire pressure should be kept and is usually found on the vehicle placard or in an owner’s manual. Maintaining tire pressure is the most crucial way to promote tire durability and tread life. Similarly, under-inflation is the leading cause of tire failure which can lead to severe cracking, component separation, or the dreaded blow-out.

The next tip is to avoid spinning your tires excessively. The common reaction when a vehicle is stuck in snow, ice, mud or sand is to spin the tires in an attempt to grab and get out. This can be dangerous as the centrifugal forces generated by a free-spinning tire may cause sudden tire explosion. In this scenario, never exceed 35 miles an hour and use a gentle backward and forward rocking motion to free your vehicle.

Check your tires for wear frequently. Tires should be removed when they reach 2/32” remaining tread depth. All new tires have tread-wear indicators that appear as smooth banks in the tread grooves when they wear to the before mentioned limit. Many wet weather accidents occur when someone skids on bald or nearly bald tires and worn tires also become more susceptible to puncture damages.

Because anything can happen to your tires, it is important to check them at least once a month for damage to ensure your safety. Impacts, penetrations, cracks, knots, bulges, and air loss always requires tire removal and inspection and possibly repair by a qualified professional.

If possible, try not to overload your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will have a recommended limit which should not be exceeded because it can cause poor handling, increased fuel consumption and increases risk of tire failure. In extreme cases, overloading your vehicle can lead to sever cracking or a sudden blowout.

To prevent vibration and irregular tire wear, make sure to have your tires regularly rotated, well inflated, balanced and aligned as well as replacing worn suspension parts. The problem with misalignment is that it can cause erratic scrubbing against the road which gives the tire a saw-tooth appearance and unbalanced tires lead to vibration which can cause driver fatigue, premature tire wear and unnecessary wear to the vehicle’s suspension.

If it is possible and you know how to change a tire, keep a spare on hand at all times. This can save you a lot of time and money in repairing your vehicle and getting back on the road. Even if you don’t know how to change a tire, keep a spare tire anyway so that a roadside assistance provider can help you more easily.

Now that you know a little more about tire maintenance, we hope you can avoid a roadside emergency in the future. However, if you do find yourself in this unfortunate situation, Will Tow is open 24 hours today to help you out. Give us a call if you have any questions or need assistance and we will be with you as soon as we possibly can.

A History of the Tow Truck

Often times, we take for granted the things that have made our lives more convenient in this modern day and age. When thinking about these things, we often look back to the story of the origins of the tow truck, and how it came to be truly revolutionary idea in the age of the automobile.

The story began in 1916, when while headed home, a driver lost control of his Ford Model T automobile, driving it into a creek bed at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Service station owner Ernest Holmes Sr. caught wind of the terrible news, and along with a troop of six men, spent the the better half of a day working to save and recover the car. They were finally able to recover the car, which in turn would spark an idea within Holmes.

Learning from this experience, Holmes Sr. thought there must be another, more efficient way to recover a broken-down vehicle. With this thought, he enlisted the help of his friends, L.C. Decker and Elmer Gross to build a vehicle that could lift other vehicles – a tow truck. Back at his service station, he equipped a three-year-old automobile, that was pretty sturdy and stout to begin with, with a crane and pulley system that would lift wrecked vehicles and could tow them back to a nearby mechanic’s station. They refined the idea further by adding a pair of outriggers to provide stability while holding other vehicles. Ernest Holmes ended up filing a patent for his idea (US Patent 1254804) in November 1917.

Holmes' wrecker

The story doesn’t stop there, though. Once he acquired his patent, Holmes decided to focus his business on building his very own line of Holmes Wrecker tow trucks which he would then sell to other mechanics and garage operators. With that said, Holmes became a rather prodigal inventor, who patented many improvements on the general tow truck theme as well as at least another half-dozen vehicle lifts, creepers, and jacks before he passed away in 1945.

The history of the tow truck is a tale of hard work and innovation and reminds us to not take for granted the convenience we have today. You shouldn’t resort to having you and your family toil and sweat to push your broken-down vehicle back home or to a shop; call us at Will Tow. We’re the go-to Central Texas towing agency, here to serve you. Eat. Sleep. Tow. That’s our motto, and we mean it! Give us a call today at 512 – 738 – 5748 to discuss prices.

Driving Safely in Texas Weather

If you live in Texas, you’ve probably know about the crazy and unpredictable weather the Lone Star State is known for. One day it’s a cozy, warm Summer-esque day outside, while the next it can be hailing with strong winds the next. Down here, the seasons have no set date. Because of the crazy weather, we believe everyone should know how to drive in these conditions. Today we’ll be giving simple tips to driving in adverse weather, so that you won’t end up with a flat, and needing a tow!

You’ll also want to increase your following distance if there is another car in front of you. If the roads are slippery or icy, one hard brake can cause you to lose control of your car, which can in turn cause a wreck. Just play it safe and stay 3 cars length’s away from the car in front of you.

Make sure to slow down in general. Braking safely will take longer on slippery roads, so the slower you go, the easier it will be for you to stay in control and stop your vehicle when needed. In addition to this, keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road at all times.

If you’re on snowy or icy roads:

Beware of black ice, which is almost impossible to see, but extremely dangerous. Usually formed in areas that trap cold or are hidden from the sun. Make sure to slow down a couple of hundred feet before stop signs and lights.

If your car begins skidding, stay calm, take your foot off the brake and the gas, and turn the car in the direction the car is skidding. This will cancel out the skid, the car will correct itself, then begin driving straight. As a last resort, and if safe, leave the road and drive the car into a snow bank.

In foggy conditions:

Turn on your fog lights. They are usually found on the same lever that controls the turn signal, but if you can’t find them, your low lights will work. Fog lights are yellow, which cuts through fog better than white lamps do, and they’re low to the ground so the beams illuminate the road well.

Pumping your brakes before you enter a fog bank can alert drivers behind you to stay far behind. If you wait to brake until you’re in the thick of it, they might see you too late!

In rainy weather:

Turn around, don’t drown. Avoid flooded areas since it will be difficult to gauge the water’s depth and speed. If enough water gets into the air-intake valve or the engine, the car will likely shut off.

Before you leave anywhere, make sure your car is well-prepared for the conditions. Be sure to check your battery, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, windshield wipers, headlights, tires. You should also carry a medical emergency kit and tools such as jumper cables and a jack. If you ever find yourself in a situation in which you need aExa in central Texas, no matter the weather, Will Tow will be there for you. Give us a call at 512 – 738 – 5748 to discuss prices!

An Overview of Will Tow’s Towing Services

Today we want to let you in on the services we provide. Sometimes it seems like tow companies are just big bad guys that come and take your car away and make you pay lots of money to get it back. While that is a part of the job, we also provide helpful services.

Property Reinforcement. We want to help you keep your property free of unwanted vehicles. Especially in downtown areas or neighborhoods situated closely to the bulk of the city life, unwanted parking is a big issue. With often too little parking in cities themselves, the surrounding areas often get flooded with illegal parkers.

Since private property owners are not required to mark their property with a “no parking” sign, it is easy to attract vehicles. That’s where we come in. Marked or not, we are ready to come tow unwanted vehicles off of your property day or night. You comfort is our number one concern and we want to help you out by taking the responsibility of straggling cars off of your shoulders.

If you’re worried about angry drivers coming to you ab out their car being towed, don’t be. It is the law that you as a property owner have the right to get rid of unwanted cars and if someone gets upset, they have to deal with the tow company to get their car back, not the property owner.

Roadside Towing. Almost everyone will experience their car breaking down at some point. It is upsetting but give us a call and we will be there shortly to give you a hand and take care of your car. We want to make sure you are safe and taken care of so we will do our best to arrive as quickly as possible and make the process as smooth as can be.

We operate 24 hours a day so even if you are stranded in the middle of the night, we are here to help you. We don’t want you stuck on the side of the road late at night with no help so let us give you a hand and we will take good care of you.

Roadside Assistance. If your car breaks down but you don’t necessarily need a tow, we can still help you. At Will Tow we offer high quality roadside assistance. We can jump-start your car, unlock your doors, change a tire and do much more to help you out. Accidents happen, we totally understand, we just want to be there to help you out when they do.

So if you are left on your own at the side of the road, stranded late at night, or need help getting unwanted cars off of your property, let us know and we will get with you as quickly to help you get back on the road as soon as possible.

Know Your Rights to Prevent Getting Towed in San Marcos

Though nobody wants their car towed, cities and private property owners do have rights when it comes to parked cars. To decrease the chance of getting towed, it’s important to make sure you know your rights for parking and the rights of those who could potentially have you towed.

Parking on Private Property

If you parked your car on private property, the land owner has the right to have your car towed. There are certain rules around this law that make it a tricky subject to navigate, but it is best to just not park on private property because a majority of the time, the land owner will win the case.

There are certain rules for towing a car parked on private property. The first is that the land owner must have exclusive possession of the land. This just means the owner has full rights to the land and it’s used so if you are parked there, they have the right to have your car towed away. The second is that the car must cause damage to the property. In most cases, an illegally parked car does no damage to the property, but since towing is a large expense, the cost of towing is considered to be an actual damage. The last is that your car must still be on the land. If your car is moved, the land owner cannot hunt you down and have your car taken away from you for having been previously parked on their property.

Some think that if there are no warning signs displayed, they cannot be towed. This is not true. There is no requirement for private property owners to display a sign warning that cars will be towed if parked illegally nor do they have to provide the tow companies contact information. This can be very tricky when trying to figure out where to park and most people assume that if there is no sign that they cannot be towed, so remember that this is not the case and avoid parking on private property altogether to reduce your risk.

If your vehicle is damaged in the towing process you should contact the towing company directly. Often times you can talk to your insurance and they will file a claim with the tow company and help you obtain reparations for the damage done to your vehicle.

Parking on Public Land

The rules for parking on private property are not the same for parking on public land. Only police officers or traffic wardens have the power to authorize the removal of a car obstructing a road or vehicle entrance or causing another traffic problem.

These situation are typically well marked. Aside from the general laws about not parking in front of a road entrance, keeping distance from stop signs, not parking in front of fire hydrants, and other similar rules, the no parking zones must be marked. This is often done with yellow curbs or no parking signs.

Other Important Things to Know When Your Car Is Towed

If you return to your car and it is being towed, you can keep your car, but you may have to pay a drop fee. Keep in mind though that just because you get in your car does not mean they can no longer charge you. They can’t take your car but they do have the right to charge you a fee.

You have access to your car and can retrieve your personal belongings from the towing company free of charge.

You may request a tow hearing at the Justice of the Peace Court in the county which your car was towed if you believe that you have been wrongfully towed. You must request a hearing within fourteen days of when your car was towed.

What to Do When You Get a Flat

Few things can be quite as scary as having a blowout while you’re driving down the highway. It happens to a lot of people each day… if it’s never happened to you, it’s not fun! But even if it’s never happened, that doesn’t mean it won’t in the future. As we’ve discussed in a prior post, there are ways to help prevent blowouts and flat tires, but not every incident can be avoided (sharp objects on the road, deep potholes, etc.), so we’ve put together some tips on what to do if you’re have the misfortune of getting a flat or having a blowout.

If you’re driving down the road and you feel a thumping and vibration, it’s time to pull over as soon as it’s possible and safe to do so. Don’t try to continue driving on the flat, no matter how close you are to your destination, as it can exacerbate the situation with more damage and headache.

It’s important not to panic and to check for cars that may be approaching before pulling over to the right side of the road. Make sure you park as far off the road as possible to avoid getting hit or sideswiped. It will also create more space if you need to change a tire on the left side of your car. DON’T stop in the middle of the road or you may get hit and seriously injured.

Be sure to turn on your hazard lights so drivers will see you as they approach. If it’s late or getting dark, a safety flare or reflective triangles in your trunk, it would be a good idea to get them out and place them a fair distance behind your car as an extra precaution. If you don’t have either of these, you may want to pick some up next time you’re at a store that carries them–it’s always good to be prepared.

You have a few options now:

  • Change it Yourself: If you have a spare tire and the tools and knowledge necessary to change a tire, you can replace the tire yourself. Stay tuned for our article about how to change a tire yourself!
  • Get Assistance From a Passerby: If you have a spare but aren’t sure where to begin, you can open the hood of your car which is a universal sign that you need assistance, and you may get lucky and have a nice person pass by that will stop to help. However, the longer you stay on the side of the road, the longer you’re in a potentially dangerous situation.
  • Call for Help: If you don’t have a spare tire or don’t want to risk getting assistance from a stranger (which is a valid concern), your other option is to call for professional roadside assistance. They can help swap your spare if you have one, or tow your vehicle to safety so you can get a new tire replacement and get back on the road as soon as possible.

 

If you’re in need of roadside assistance to help with a flat or blowout, or if your car breaks down and you’re in the San Marcos, TX area, give Will Tow a call! We’ll get you off the road as quickly as we possibly can so you can get back to whatever you happen to be doing!