Tips for first-time car owners

Buying your first car is an exciting experience. It provides you with a level of freedom and independence which you may not have ever had before, allowing you to go where you want, when you want without having to rely on public transport or lifts from friends and family. However it’s also a big responsibility and it’s important to treat it as such. Here are a few tips for first-time vehicle owners.

Be prepared for a breakdown

Nobody wants to think about the possibility of a breakdown, but it is important to be prepared for this eventuality; even if you’re an exceptionally careful driver and own a brand new vehicle, things can still go wrong and you may find yourself stranded on a country road or motorway with a broken car.

This can be a very stressful experience, particularly for first-time car owners who haven’t gone through this ordeal before. However by keeping a small breakdown kit in your car, you can make this situation far less distressing. Some of the items you might want to include in this kit include a road map (in case your phone and GPS stop working), a small, reflective hazard triangle to prevent other motorists from driving into your vehicle, bottled water, an umbrella, a flashlight and the contact details of either a local towing services company or your breakdown assistance provider.

Get to grips with basic checks and repairs 

Whilst you don’t need to be automotive expert to own a car, you should try to familiarise yourself with your vehicle and learn how to carry out simple repair work and checks. This will reduce the likelihood of a breakdown and will enable you to handle minor issues without needing to call for help.

Every first-time car owner should, for example, learn how to change a tyre; flat tyres are a common problem which happen to almost every driver at one point or another. It is a skill that could save you a lot of stress and hassle, particularly in cases where severe weather conditions or poor mobile reception prevents your breakdown service or friends from coming to assist you.

It’s also important to get into the habit of checking the tyre pressure regularly; having the correct level of pressure will make steering your car easier and will slow down the deterioration rate of your tyres. Consider investing in an air pressure gauge, so that you don’t have to track down a garage every time you want to carry out this check.

Lastly, make sure that you know what each of the warning lights in your car represents. The illumination of one of these lights can signify a serious issue which needs urgent attention; for  instance, the engine light switching on could indicate that the oil has run out. If this isn’t addressed quickly, it could lead to the engine overheating and the car’s rings and pistons becoming irreversibly damaged. 

When It’s Good to Call a Towing Service for Your Car

Trying to drive your car when it’s not in good condition can mean facing very expensive repair bills at a later date, which is why it’s often good to have your car towed to a service station under certain circumstances. This can protect your car from more extensive damage and protect you from paying for more costly work that needs to be done. Unfortunately, many car owners don’t realize this and assume that if the car is running, it’s good for driving. Note when it’s good to call a towing service for your car rather than drive it, even a short distance.

1. When the gearbox gets very sticky

If the gearbox of your car gets very sticky so that you cannot easily shift from one gear to another, this can mean that the chain of the gearbox or a chain in the transmission system is getting ready to break. If this were to happen, your car might be stuck in neutral and you could not move forward or back. Rather than risk this happening when in traffic, have your car towed to a repair shop so you can determine the cause of the stickiness and get it fixed safely.

2. After an accident that causes a fluid leak

If an accident has done anything more than just dented a bumper, you want to call a towing service. You could have damage that is not readily seen from the outside of your car, and this is especially true if you see a fluid leak after a collision. Hoses may have been torn or damaged, and if you drive this way, they could allow the fluid to leak out completely; in turn, your steering, transmission, or engine could seize up or otherwise be severely damaged. After any accident larger than a fender bender, but especially if you see fluid dripping from underneath the car, call a tow truck.

3. If it thumps or bumps on one side

If you’re driving and you notice a distinct thumping or that the car seems to bump and dip on one side, it’s good to pull over and call a tow truck. You could have a flat tire, but the car might also have broken lug nuts that are meant to keep the tire in place, and the tire could actually go flying off as you drive. You might also have a bent axle, broken shock, or other severe problem that could allow for extreme damage the more you drive. If you notice this thumping or bumping anywhere from your car, be safe and have it towed rather than continuing to drive.

What to Do When Your Car Breaks Down

Your vehicle allows you to get from one location to another, but even the most reliable cars can break down from time to time. No matter what type of vehicle you may own, breaking down on the side of the road is a situation that you could likely find yourself in at least once. When your car breaks down, it is important that you know the steps you need to take in order to maintain your safety and the safety of the other motorists on the roadways.

Be Aware of Surroundings

The first thing that you need to be aware of when your car breaks down is your surroundings. This means that you need to accurately determine the general location where you are stranded. Look for mile markers are road signs that give you insight on the major exits or cross streets near by.

Pulling Off Roadway

When you are pulling your car off to the side of the road, it is important that you move to the far right shoulder. This is always the ideal part of the roadway to pull over onto. Make sure that you pull away from traffic as far as possible without putting yourself in danger. If it is impossible to pull your car off to the side due to the type of mechanical issue you are experiencing, you need to turn your flashers on right away to alert other drivers of an issue, then exit your vehicle as soon as possible. However, you should not stand directly behind or in front of your vehicle. If another driver strikes your vehicle, this could leave you at risk of being hit. Simply get out of harms way and safely get to the side of the road that is away from traffic.

Alert Other Drivers

Before you call for roadside assistance, you need to make sure that other drivers are alerted. This means that you need to make sure that your emergency flashers are on or that the hood of your car is up. Both of these will help to increase the visibility of your vehicle. Using flares can also be a great way to alert other drivers of your presence on the roadways. Be sure to place flares directly behind your vehicle as close to the road as possible without obstructing the roadway. If you smell some type of fuel leak, do not use flares at all.

Always Call a Towing Service When Your Car Is Doing This

No car owner wants to think about the expense of a tow truck when their car is acting up, but calling a towing service can be a good choice in a variety of situations. Trying to drive or operate your car when it’s acting up can mean more expensive repairs as you do more damage to your car and can also put your safety at risk. Consider what your car might be doing when it’s time to call a tow truck, and why.

1. When your car is grinding versus starting

When your car grinds versus starting, it often means that the battery is weak or even dead. You may assume that you can keep plugging away at it and that it might “catch” and start, but in truth, you’re usually just draining the battery even more. A tow truck driver may be able to jump your car with cables and recharge your battery if you don’t drain it completely, but if you keep trying to start your car with a low battery, you may damage it so that it can’t be recharged. In turn, you may need to have it replaced altogether.

2. When your car grinds with every bump

A grinding sound is never good when you’re driving, but if you notice this more often when your car hits a bump, it may be a number of problems that can be very serious. The lug nuts of your tires may have broken, and in turn, you may be at risk of losing a tire while on the road. You may also have broken a spring or shock, and this can put pressure on the car’s axles. When you notice any type of grinding, thumping, or other noise when you hit a bump, pull over and call a tow truck to get you to a repair shop.

3. When the electrical systems act up

If you’re on the road and notice that your dashboard lights and needles to the gauges suddenly fail, or you hear a type of clicking when you try to turn on the headlights and the lights don’t come on, you should call for a towing service. These are signs that your car has an electrical system problem which could be very serious; the car’s computer may be malfunctioning or you may have blown a fuse. Remember that your car’s major systems including the brakes and transmission rely on electrical components to work properly, so don’t risk driving when you have an electrical problem with your car and call for a tow instead.  


Benefits of Flatbed Car Towing

There are various types of towing methods being used by many car towing companies today. Flatbed towing involves using a special truck or trailer that comes with a flatbed fitted behind it to transport cars from one location to another.  If you are still hesitant about using flatbed car towing service, the following points will help indicate why it is the best way to tow your car.

Best way to prevent further damage to the towed car.

Unlike in other methods of towing, e.g. flat towing, where all of the towed car’s wheels remain touching the ground, flatbed towing will ensure that all wheels of the towed car are securely placed onto a flat platform.

When your car is transported on a flatbed, it is unlikely that the bumper of your car will be damaged when the tow truck or trailer speeds over a pit hole or road bump as is usually the case in flat towing. Hence, there will be no tyre wear or damage to engine parts, ignition systems, transmission systems, etc.

Greater safety on the road.

Flatbed towing is perhaps the safest way to haul your car. This towing method makes it easier to negotiate traffic and ensure better safety for other road users. The risk of hitting passing cars or knocking pedestrians is much lower when the towed vehicle is firmly strapped on the platform at the back of the tow truck and is not swaying behind the truck on two or four wheels.

Only option for transporting cars in some cases.

As opposed to towing methods like tow by dollies and flat towing, flatbed towing does not require any of the towed car’s wheels to be running during the tow. If, for example, a car has a broken axle, flatbed towing might be the only way of hauling it.

Saves on time.

If you usually tow your car by dolly, you can avoid hassles such as drive shaft removal by using flatbed towing service. Loading cars for flatbed towing is somewhat easy. If the car is still in good mechanical condition, you just have to drive the car up the flatbed, park it, and strap it for transportation.

With flatbed towing, a badly damaged car that can’t be driven up the flatbed will be hoisted by winch. Besides hitch installation, no extras will be required to move it onto the flatbed of the tow vehicle.

Taking Your Car To A Showcase? Here’s Why You Will Need A Towing Service

If you have a showcase car that you’re planning to take to a venue, it’s imperative that you plan on getting a towing service as part of your preparation process. This applies for vehicles such as vintage cars, classic cars, project cars, prototype cars and performance/race cars, among others. These vehicles, unlike normal day-to-day drive cars, need special consideration during transportation, hence the towing. Read on to see why towing is so important for these vehicles.

Avoid the risk of damaging your car

Accidents can happen at any time while on the road. Your car may get a minor ding, a fender-bender or a full-blown smash. For showcase cars, this is not a risk worth taking. Most showcase cars derive their value from their impeccable condition. A road accident would therefore greatly ruin the integrity of your vehicle. This is especially true for prototype cars or cars entering a competition. Also, considering that some showcase cars are rare models, repairs can be very expensive due to unavailability of spare parts. For performance or race cars, accidents at the 11th hour would be a nightmare. Such an eventuality would mean missing out on an event. With towing, however, your car will be safely rigged on a flat-bed truck and will arrive at the venue in its pristine condition.

Your showcase car may not be fit to drive

Although showcase cars are good to look at, the mechanics of these cars is a completely different story. Some, especially prototypes, cannot be driven at all. They are simply not mechanically functional. Most prototypes and project cars have not been tested enough thus they are not yet road-legal. This makes it mandatory for them to be towed rather than driven. A lot of vintage and classic cars, too, are either not functional or cannot be driven for long durations. To avoid the risk of stalling or getting mechanical damage, it becomes much safer to have them towed instead.

Your showcase car may not have the requisite insurance

Most showcase cars are rarely driven. Some are never driven at all. They are simply showcased in venues for other people’s visual pleasure. It is therefore no surprise that most of these vehicles do not hold any insurance cover. As such, it is legally obligatory for owners to tow them to each venue.

Got a showcase car that you need transported? Call a car towing service and plan how to get your priced vehicle to the venue safely.

Consider these When Choosing Roadside Assistance Plans

Many people are now aware of the various roadside assistance plans available to them, especially in the area of towing services. Arrangements offered by auto insurance providers, credit card companies, auto clubs and even some wireless service providers are now incorporating towing service coverage as an extra incentive for their members. If you are looking for a partner that offers the most helpful solution when it comes to towing services, there are several considerations you may need to make. The following are the most crucial questions you should ask yourself before choosing a plan for this reason:

How many tows do you get per year?

There are some plans that will offer a maximum of three tows a year while others merely offer one. If your plan simply offers one tow, it would be better not to pay the monthly membership fees and just pay for the towing service outright. Some plans also use total distance instead of a number of tows. In such a scenario, there is more wiggling room for you to squeeze a couple of tows out of your plan based on the distances you choose.

Are you covered when using other vehicles?

It goes without saying; anything can happen whether you are in your car, a rental or a friend’s car. You want to know if your chosen plan covers you personally or your car specifically. If the plan covers you, then it does not matter whose vehicle needs towing. 

Can you include anyone in the coverage?

Some towing service providers advise people to choose a plan that incorporates spouses and children. This is typically the best scenario. The limitation with this is that you will have to cover only one specific vehicle. Whether it’s your spouse or children that were driving, your car will still get the towing service offset by your plan provider. They, however, will not be covered if they were driving their respective cars, and you had registered them under your plan.

What is the maximum distance you can tow before being charged extra?

Finally, the downside with most plans is the maximum distances they offer. Some distances offered by some plans are too meager. Not many people will be fortunate enough to break down near their house or somewhere very close to their personal mechanic. You should consider this distance because you may have to pay for anything extra. If the distance is too small, it is probably cheaper to independently source for a tow truck and pay instead of sticking to a monthly plan for this reason.