Unexpected vehicle troubles could leave you stranded on the roadside with a disabled car.
But rather than try to resolve the problem yourself, it’s helpful to have a tow company take your car to a professional auto repair shop.
In this article, we’ll explore the scenarios where it’s best to get a tow to a mechanic, the costs of towing, and how to prepare for it. We’ll also resolve other questions you may have.
This Article Contains:
- Scenarios Where You’d Need To Tow Car To Mechanic
- How Much Does It Cost To Tow A Car?
- How To Prepare Your Vehicle For Towing
- 4 FAQs About Towing A Car To A Mechanic
Scenarios Where You’d Need To Tow Car To Mechanic
Here are situations where you’d need a tow to an auto shop for repair services:
1. Flat Tires
If you have a flat tire, trying to drive to a car mechanic can leave you with more damage.
Instead, it’s better to hire a towing service — especially if you’re on a highway or an area that’s out of service for a mobile mechanic. A tow truck can safely transport your car to a mechanic.
But what if it’s beyond normal working hours?
Look up “24 hour towing service near me,” and you’ll be able to find a service near you. So, you won’t have to worry about calling closed towing services.
Whether you’re a car or truck owner, if you get into a collision, you probably need to call at least one of these services:
- The police
- An ambulance
- Your insurance provider
- Roadside assistance
- A towing company
And even if you and the other driver are uninjured, you should still avoid driving away till you have a good idea of your vehicle’s condition.
Your vehicle could have damaged brakes, fuel leaks, or even broken lights. So, it’s important to seek repair services. But to get to an auto repair shop, you’ll need to call towing specialists to haul your car.
3. Battery Issues
You’ll probably need the services of a tow truck if you have battery issues, including a dead battery or a bad alternator.
Yes, you could jump-start the battery if it’s dead. But if your battery keeps dying or the engine keeps stalling, you shouldn’t risk driving without having it checked at a repair shop.
So, it’s best to call a tow truck to take your vehicle to a quality auto shop.
4. Engine Overheating
Engine overheating is a serious issue and can lead to severe engine damage.
That’s why you, whether a car or truck owner, should safely park your vehicle and wait for a tow truck driver. Trying to drive with an overheated engine could leave you with a large auto repair bill or sudden engine failure.
But how to tell if your engine is overheating?
You’ll notice either a flashing Check Engine Light or high-temperature lights on your dash.
In such cases, we recommend calling a repair shop or mobile mechanic, and asking whether they recommend you seek towing services or roadside assistance.
5. Breakdowns (Car Won’t Start)
If you can’t start your car, it’s best to call a tow truck company to have them take your car to a quality auto shop to diagnose the issue.
You can even look for fast towing services if you’re in a hurry.
6. Smoke Or Noise
Neither smoke nor odd noises emitting from your car are a good sign.
Here’s what you should do based on the color of smoke you see:
- White smoke indicates serious danger. Turn off the engine and get away from the car.
- Blue smoke indicates an oil leak. Continuing to drive could further damage the engine.
Your best option is to take your vehicle to a repair shop if there’s smoke or vapor coming from the hood. And the safest way to do that is to call a towing service.
As for noise, you can pull to the side and investigate the issue. If it’s a serpentine belt issue or you can’t pinpoint the source, we recommend you call a tow vehicle or a mobile mechanic.
7. Malfunctioning Steering Or Breaks
If your steering or brakes have issues, it’s best to seek professional towing services to get your vehicle to a car mechanic.
These issues make your vehicle hazardous to you and other drivers. So, it needs immediate attention.
But how much would hiring a tow vehicle cost you?
How Much Does It Cost To Tow A Car?
The cost to tow a car mostly depends on how far the tow truck carries your car.
Here are average estimates based on distance:
- Less than 5 miles: $35 to $125
- Up to 40 miles: $125 to $275
- Up to 100 miles: $275 to $600
Generally, an affordable towing service costs about $2.50 per mile, while the expensive ones charge about $7 per mile. However, a tow truck with a winch or boom may cost an additional $50 to $250.
But check your insurance, as it may include roadside assistance coverage.
Next, let’s review what you need to do to prepare for roadside assistance.
How To Prepare Your Vehicle For Towing
Here’s how to prepare for towing:
1. If your car isn’t stuck, pull over to a safe area (off the roadway if possible). If the car abruptly stops, try pushing it to the side of the road when there’s no oncoming traffic.
2. For a broken down vehicle, turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers.
3. Contact your insurance company. They’ll inform you if your insurance only covers a specific or registered tow company.
4. Take pictures of the broken down vehicle, especially if you were involved in a collision. They can help validate the condition of your car before towing.
5. Figure out your exact location and call a tow company. During the night, contact round the clock towing services.
6. Remove personal belongings from the car, including all the relevant paperwork from your glove compartment. Towing companies aren’t liable for lost or stolen items.
7. Wait away from your vehicle in a secure location, especially during nighttime.
8. Contact the police to let them know your car is waiting for a towing service to arrive. This can help prevent unnecessary fines or non consensual towing.
Once the towing specialists arrive, you’ll need to complete the necessary paperwork with the tow truck driver. They’ll also inform you about putting the car in neutral depending on the type of tow vehicle they use.
What else should you know about car towing?
4 FAQs About Towing A Car To A Mechanic
Here are questions you may have about towing your vehicle to auto repair services:
1. What Should I Find Out Before Agreeing To A Tow?
Since towing services have different procedures and rates, you should find out important details before contracting them.
Here are questions to ask when you’re on the phone with a towing company:
- What type of tow truck will they use?
- Will they take your vehicle to your choice of auto repair shop?
- If not, where will they take the towed vehicle?
- When will the truck drop the towed vehicle at the repair shop?
- What is the price estimate?
2. What Are The Types Of Tow Trucks?
A tow truck company can offer different trucks for roadside assistance.
These are the different types of trucks:
- Tow truck with a flatbed trailer: Flatbed towing is the safest method. The flatbed trailer lowers like a ramp, making it easy to load a disabled car. It’s especially useful for large vehicle towing.
- Wheel-lift tow truck: An updated version of the hook and chain tow truck, this towing vehicle lifts a car safely by the front wheels. It’s commonly used to haul vehicles that need auto repair services.
- Tow truck with a boom: This truck provides assistance to stuck or submerged vehicles.
- Hook and chain tow truck: This towing vehicle pulls the car by the bumper, often damaging the vehicle in the process. It’s usually meant for totaled vehicles.
3. Can I Drive My Vehicle To An Auto Shop?
Driving a malfunctioning vehicle to an auto shop is dangerous for you and other drivers on the road.
On top of that, you may end up spending more at the repair shop.
Why is that?
If your vehicle is already malfunctioning, driving it to an auto repair garage could cause further transmission damage.
So, while it may seem cheaper to drive your car to an auto repair shop, it may cost you more in the long run.
4. Can I Tow A Car With Another Car?
Yes, it’s possible to tow a car with another car if you have a dolly, tow bar, or hauling trailer to transport the incapacitated vehicle safely.
Without them, you could cause a transmission and mechanical issue.
That’s why hiring professional towing services with well maintained tow trucks is a better option to prevent incorrect towing.
Tow trucks are a great way to get your vehicle to a professional auto repair shop. They can transport your car safely while preventing further damage from driving a malfunctioning car.
If you’re in need of a mobile mechanic instead, you can contact a top-rated mobile auto maintenance and repair service like AutoNation Mobile Service. We’re available 24/7 with an easy online booking process.
Get in touch with us to have an expert mechanic assess and resolve your vehicle troubles right in your driveway.