Knowing Your Vehicle so you don’t need a Towing Service(Part 3)

One more article on knowing your car, and how understanding the basics can stop you from needing a towing service.  Previously we’ve listed some of the basic signs and indicators that should help you prevent any mishaps and some of the most common problems you may find that leave you stranded on the side of the road.  Today we have two final problems that most towing services find are the cause and reason for our customers getting stranded on the side of the road.

Tyres

Tyre problems, either major or minor, are one of the most common problems that assistance vehicles are called for.  Most people can manage this on their own, and if you don’t know how to change a tyre, it’s one of those “everybody should know how to do it” things, and can really save you in a pinch (not to mention save you a few dollars if you have to call somebody else to come and fix it for you).  While not always an absolute disaster, nor something that you may require of a towing service, there have been times where a car has required towing – either when a spare isn’t available or if more than one tyre is flat or damaged (especially if the car has driven over something sharp or dangerous).

Below are a number of simple ways you can avoid either having a tyre problem, or having to call an assistance vehicle (or  maybe your family or friends) to help.

Tyre Pressure

If you haven’t checked your tyre pressure recently write yourself a to do note right now.  Seriously, stop reading for a second and put a note on the fridge or a reminder alarm in your phone.  Tyre pressure should be checked regularly and maintained at a consistent pressure.  This will also make driving better and more efficient (including a better fuel efficiency so you save money… so yeah think about that).   A sufficient tyre pressure reduces wear and tear on the tyre, meaning you don’t have to change them as often (again saving money) and that they are less likely to pop, rip or break under those circumstances where you drive over something you never intended, preventing you from being stranded. 

Consistently checking the pressure can also tell you when you may have an issue with a particular tyre.  For example, if you check the pressure  regularly and they are all consistently above 30, and one is lower, let’s say around 18, then you know that tyre may need replacing or patching.

Tyre tread

Buying new tyres when they’re due is absolutely essential and worth the expense.  If you have ever driven in wet weather or on bad roads with bald tyres you know how dangerous it can be.  If you haven’t, well, never do this.  Sufficient Tyre tread is absolutely essential for good grip and preventing accidents, especially in bad weather or when needing to brake urgently.  Outside of those scenarios, bad tyres can still be a problem simply when driving normally.  Sometimes even a corner or bend will cause you to lose traction without grip, sending you where you don’t want to go.

Make sure you have your tyre changing equipment.

If you are unsure whether you have a jack and crank for the vehicle, stop reading now and go and check.  There is nothing worse than getting a flat, having a spare and the knowledge, and not having the equipment to do it.  While there are towing services and roadside assistance vehicles that carry this equipment for this very reason, its likely they will still require a callout fee for their services, and the time it takes for them to arrive will only delay getting you back on the road further.

Driving in bad weather

While the weather is out of your control, and it seems strange to mention this here when the title of the article is about knowing your vehicle, it very much falls in line with preventing the need of a towing service.  Accidents are one of the greatest causes of being stranded on the side of the road and one of the biggest causes of accidents is bad weather.

Seriously, Know your vehicle

Different vehicles drive differently and it is important to know how yours handles in different sort of weather.  If it’s a new car and it’s the first time you’ve driven in ill weather, awe on the side of caution.  Drive slower than you normally wood until you are confident that you have the feel and understanding how it manoeuvres differently under different conditions.

Driving in bad weather

While many people drop below the speed limit in periods of heavy rain and other bad weather, the truth is, to prevent accidents, many should probably be driving much slower.  We understand, there is an urge to get home out of the bad conditions and many people believe as long as they are 10 kilometres or so under the speed limit, then they will be fine.  However, given the normal conditions, people underestimate various aspects that change such as stopping distance and visibility.  A car can take a long time to stop in wet weather and the two combine can make it certain that if, something unusual happens, like the car in front of you breaking suddenly, an accident is almost certain.  The best recommendation is too slow right down, and not worry about those behind you.  IT is better to be safe, rather than to be completely and utterly sorry.

Do a Defensive Driving Course

IF you are still uncertain, there is the option of doing a defensive driving course.  Make sure it is a course that lets you use your own vehicle so you can get the feel of how it handles under the dangerous conditions.  These courses that can teach you little things that you may never use, but if you do, can save your life, or at least prevent accidents or you being stranded and requiring a towing service.

Ensure your car is working efficiently

Finally, make sure your car is working at its optimum best.  See above for the reason that tyres are best maintained and replaced, potentially making a massive difference in wet weather.  Make sure all your lights are working, so that you can see others, and they can see you.  Make sure you’re anti-go, or air condition system is working , again, so that visibility doesn’t become an issue.  Finally, make sure your car is regularly serviced so that is performing optimally and less likely to have problems caused by water leaks and other side effects of bad weather.