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.

Example of a properly documented 'No Parking' sign

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.

5 Steps to Properly Winterize Your Car

Winterizing Your Car

Winter seems to come a little late in Central Texas (anyone who lives in San Marcos or New Braunfels can vouch that this is fairly common), but colder days are finally set to arrive.

We’ve put together some tips to help prepare for the potentially cooler temperatures so you don’t find yourself stranded on the highway from a malfunction caused by cold weather.

First Things First: Check Your Battery

Cold weather can have a noticeable effect on your vehicle’s battery. Cold temperatures can slow essential chemical reactions that your battery uses to generate the power necessary to get your car up and running. If you’ve ever experienced the unpleasantness of trying to start your car on a cold winter morning only to be greeted with a car that wont turn over, you know all to well the hassle this can cause.

Now’s the time to have a mechanic run a battery load test to check your battery’s health. Even if it passes the test, your mechanic can clean any corrosion that might have built up and replenish any distilled water if necessary… so it’s a win-win as far as proper vehicle maintenance goes.

Check Your Car’s Tire Pressure

Cold weather can reduce the pressure in your car’s tires. A general rule of thumb is that for every 10 degree drop in the temperature, the pressure in your tire will drop approximately 1 psi. Keeping your tires inflated to the manufacturer recommended levels ensures your tires achieve their best traction while driving down the road, which is crucial for safe trips.

Anti-Freeze is Crucial

While pumping pure distilled water through your car’s radiator is generally fine, when the weather starts to cool it’s important to get a 50/50 mix of water & anti-freeze. This is crucial so the water that keeps your car cool doesn’t freeze up when temperatures reach sub-freezing levels.

Keep Your Oil Fresh

The colder the weather, the less effective the oil in your car is. Colder weather means thicker oil, and thick oil doesn’t circulate nearly as well as thin oil. Your best bet is to consult your car’s manual, which usually discusses proper oil viscosity levels for different temperatures and climates.

Inspect Your Belts & Hoses

The belts and hoses that keep your car running can be weakened by cooler temperatures. A quick glance by either yourself or a professional (if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for) should be sufficient to determine the current state of these essential belts and hoses. Be sure to inspect them, or else you may find yourself on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck to come pick you up.

If you follow the above steps, you’ll reduce the risk of running into troubles on the road as the weather cools down. However, if you find yourself in a bind and are in need of roadside assistance or towing to get your car to a local repair shop, be sure to have a reliable towing company in mind. If you’re looking for friendly and affordable towing services in San Marcos, Tx or New Braunfels, be sure to give Will Tow a call and we’ll be happy to get you taken care of as quickly as possible.

Services That Towing Trucks Offer Besides Towing

Public sentiment often is irrationally against tow trucks. This stems from one-off experiences where people had their cars towed after illegally parking. But the reality is that often times when our cars break down, tow trucks are our only option. But there are ways to make sure these services don’t bankrupt you. You may actually already have roadside assistance that is offered from one of the companies you already use.

Some of the services that these roadside assistance companies offer include more than just towing. And the good news is that you can try to have them help you get your car going, and if it is unable to start, then a tow truck is right next to you to take your car to a mechanic. Tow trucks will often have battery chargers that are mobile. Even if your car is parked between two cars and can’t be reached by a car with jumper cables, a mobile battery charger will tell you if your battery is even able to be charged or if it is completely dead, or charge it up itself. This can save a lot of headache, because if it is indeed dead, the only option is getting a new one.

Another service you can have them call for you is locksmiths. Some cars, especially newer ones, can be extremely hard to open. Especially by yourself. And the problems can include locking your keys in your car, or losing your keys all together. A locksmith will be able to help you open your car, or make a new key altogether. Electronic keys will tend to cost more, as they have to be custom made to your door to actually work.

Another service commonly offered by towing trucks is replacing tires or helping you with flats. While it is normally easy to replace a tire, not everyone knows how to do it. If you are one of these people, it can be beneficial to have someone there to help you replace your tire. Especially if you do not have a jack or any of the tools needed, they can be what helps you get on the road again. If you do not have a spare tire or a doughnut, then you can always have them tow your car to the nearest tire store. This is not commonly known, but often times if you are willing to pay for a tow truck’s fee, they will bring you a gas can with gas if you happen to run out of gas. Then you can just reimburse them when they get there. Often times this will depend on the driver of that specific company, but if it is the difference between having a working car or being stranded, sometimes that is your best option to get going again.

So while the companies may call themselves “Towing Companies”, the reality is that they are generally willing to help you as much as they can with the toolset they have. It is best to always call ahead to make sure they can help you before having someone come out, of course. But hopefully this can help you get your car going again!

Preparing for a Long Distance Trip

If you are planning on taking off for a road trip anytime soon, it is imperative to make sure that your vehicle is in proper working order, as you want to make sure everything is functioning correctly before you embark on your journey. This is particularly true if the trip is going to be very extensive, as you are definitely going to be putting more exertion on the car than normal. In order to get ready for your trip, here are a few things you should do prior to leaving.

Inspect the Vehicle

A few things that should be done before the trip are checking the oil and the coolant in the vehicle. If they are low and you take off on a long trip, your car may overheat or break down, so make sure they are filled. Another thing you are going to want to do is to go around the car and check the tire pressure as well on each tire and it is always a good idea to bring a spare tire and a jack in case you do blow a tire on the road. You are also going to want to check that the headlights and the brakes are working properly, as well as making sure that the windshield wipers are in proper working order. Also, make sure that you check to see if water and fluid for your windshield wipers and make sure you have more than enough gas to get to wherever you are going. 

Have an Action Plan if Something Goes Wrong

Far too many people do not think about what they are going to do if they do in fact run into a bad situation, such as a car breaking down in the middle of nowhere, or any other type of car trouble situation. A few things you should make sure you always have with you are a cell phone and the phones actual charger, with a plug that fits into a car outlet. A ton of people bring their phones with them, but forget to bring the charger, which may be of huge importance if you break down. 

Getting the Car Inspected

There are few things that are wiser when it comes to taking care of a vehicle that preventative maintenance, as taking the steps to prevent a problem from developing is going to give you the most lifespan out of your vehicle. You should always take your car into the shop to get it checked out every now and then, even if you are not planning on going on a long trip. If you do find that you are going to be driving a long distance, it is a perfect time to take the car into the shop to have a mechanic thoroughly inspect the car and repair anything that may need some fixing or tuning up. If you do run into a major problem with your vehicle while out on the road, you may be surprised at how many times the problem could have been averted by simply taking the vehicle into a shop before leaving, simply to make sure that everything was working up to par.

What Jackknifing Is and How to Prevent It

Truck jackknifed in a ditchIf you’ve ever had to tow something, you may be aware of the risks associated with having to haul something. Perhaps you’ve even seen accidents involving 18-wheelers and wondered how it happened. One of the biggest risks while towing is jackknifing. This incident can be frightening and very dangerous for you, as well as other drivers.

What is Jackknifing?

Jackknifing can occur when your vehicle skids due to lost traction and moves in a direction that is different from the direction that your trailer is moving. For instance, imagine you are traveling smoothly down the road when suddenly your vehicle begins to skid towards the left. Your trailer will continue to move forward, and as a result, your vehicle will not just skid, but spin and collide into what you were towing. When this happens the trailer may continue to drag forward and veer off-road, invade other lanes, or even head into oncoming traffic.

Jackknifing can be avoided by following some simple guidelines while towing. Following these tips can help put you and other drivers in the safest situations. 

Prior to hitting the road, make sure to perform a walk-around of your vehicle, and check the following:

• Weather – Rain is common in Texas and can impair your visibility and reduce traction. Monitor weather patterns before you head out.

• Tires – Are your tires properly inflated? Check the manufacturer specifications regarding inflation and check the tread as well. Do this for your vehicle and trailer. If your tires are in poor condition, they can greatly increase the risk of jackknifing.

• Brakes – Have your brakes been serviced recently? Brakes are essential in allowing you to reach your destination safely. Ensure that your brakes are in operable conditions and can endure the added weight of your vehicle and cargo.

• Payload – One big cause of jackknifing is poor weight distribution. If you’re towing a trailer, distribute any items inside so that the weight is spread throughout all areas of the trailer. Having too little weight may also cause a trailer to jackknife. Ensure your cargo is properly weighted and distributed before departing and after any sudden movements you may have made while traveling.

An important rule to follow in any situation is following the speed limit, but even more importantly is to drive below the speed limit while towing. By doing so you increase your reaction time to multiple variables such as unexpected traffic, a reckless driver cutting you off, or unexpected road conditions. While driving, you should constantly monitor your rear and side-view mirrors to check for payload sway, especially while braking. When you brake you can cause your trailer to sway and increase the odds of your vehicle jackknifing. If this happens, release the brake; this increases traction and may correct the trailer. Other methods that will prevent you from jackknifing include slowing down adequately before performing any turns. Never attempt to turn and brake at the same time. Instead, slow down ahead of time before a curve. Apply the brakes gently and never attempt any sudden maneuvers.

Following these easy tips can greatly reduce your chances at jackknifing and having a safe, enjoyable trip.

The Most Common Towing Mistakes and Tips to Avoiding Them

Not everyone has adequate experience in towing. However, this fact should not limit anyone from tagging their belongings along when going on a road trip or vacation. The most important thing is that all towers learn the common mistakes that they might be penalized or fined for, and how to avoid them. Here is a list of some of the most common towing mistakes that people in Central Texas make and ways in which one can avoid them.

Improper Loading

One of the most common mistakes made by towers is the improper loading of luggage. Only a few drivers are aware of how to properly load cargo. Properly loaded cargo should be well distributed such that it balances through the truck. The purpose of this is to ensure that proper control of the trailer is maintained throughout the journey. The best way for loading your cargo is by ensuring that the bigger percentage is near the axle and that the rest is evenly distributed in the trailer.

Not Checking Your Vehicle Rating

Every vehicle comes with a rating for the goods that it is allowed to carry and those that are not advisable for it to carry. However, not many drivers take this precaution before towing their trailers. Noting your vehicle rating will help you in preventing some vehicle damages associated with improper luggage carriage. This may affect your car brakes, tires, suspension and even transmission. Damages on this area can pose great danger for the driver and the passengers. It could also mean a shorter stay on the roads.

Forgetting to Care for the Brakes

Forgetting to check the car brakes is another very common mistakes made when towing. Most drivers will forget that at while towing, the brakes of their cars or trucks respond much slower than on normal occasions. For this reason, it is important that towers have trailers with a separate braking system such that they reduce the stress on the braking system of the leading vehicle. Additionally, you should ensure that the brakes are in proper working condition and are well- lubricated before embarking on a long journey.

Speeding

Speed and towing can never go hand in hand. Remember, while towing, you are literally controlling two vehicles. This means that there is need for increased caution. And, this is not possible when speeding. Speed jeopardizes the integrity of your vehicle’s operating system, endangering both you and your passengers.

Forgot to Check the Tire Pressure?

Checking the tire pressure might seem like an obvious thing to do when embarking on a trip. However, in the midst of all the excitement associated with traveling with a trailer, one might underestimate the importance of pressuring the tires of the trailer. Particularly, because people tend to assume that the tires will be in order since the trailer is rarely in use. This is one grievous mistake that most drivers make. Maintaining the integrity of the trailer’s tires is as important as that of the towing vehicle. Otherwise, this could lead to accidents, caused as a result of increased friction, arising from low tire pressure.

Locked Your Keys in the Car?

Tow truck helping a car on the side of the roadThis is an all too common problem that many face. The odds are becoming increasingly higher that more people will continue to lock their keys in their car. Just a few years ago the yearly number of people who are in this fix was at 500,000. Now it’s gone up to a few million. Chances are, in the next few years it will go up again.

According the AAA, there are two main bad guys in this scenario. The first one is the keyless ignition. Now, some of this fall onto the owner. He or she buys the system, thinking it will have their back. When the keys are locked in, all of that falls out the window. Number two, the other culprit is the security systems. They are there to prevent people from getting in. What happens though when one of those people is the owner? The alarm sounds and chaos breaks loose. The more advanced the security system is for the car, the more problems it creates for the driver.

There are ways around this issue. Below you will find an assortment of options to look at if you have locked your keys in your car:

1) Call the police, or at least 911. This way you will be safe and you won’t have to explain anything to anyone.

2) Does anyone out there have road-side assistance? It’s going to be in the best interest of the driver to call assistance. Everyone should have some sort of plan under their driving record. In some areas there are highway patrol personnel. They often times patrol the areas looking for drivers with issues. Flag one down. Tell them the problem. More often then not, they will take the time help out.

3) You could also call a towing company. This option is for those who don’t have the money to put out. Just dial 411. Most companies have a lock-out service option. Look into at least. Even if they say no, at least you have put in the effort.

4) Make an extra set of keys. This option will probably save you from having to make all sort of arrangements. It won’t cost you anything to make the extras either, or at least it shouldn’t. Have one around your house. Have one on you at all times. This way if something does happen, you can dig into your pockets and get it.

5) If you don’t have a key, then you are going to need a replacement. This is where it could get complicated and could cost you. You will have to call a locksmith. Now, on the cheap side it’s going to cost you about $200. On the more expensive side, it’s going to cost you close to a thousand. It all depends on the car, such as the make and model.

ONE FINAL NOTE

Some of the newer models have something called a door-mounted keypad. This is where you punch in a code to unlock the door. Some also have a benefit where you call a number to have the car unlocked by a remote, no matter where you are.