Are Snow Tires Necessary for the Winter?

Did you know that every year, 24% of the weather-related automobile accidents occur on snowy roads? So, if you live in an area with heavy snowfall, you need to drive carefully and have snow tires, which improve friction and provide better control, ensuring that you and the passengers in your are safe on icy roads. Tires play an important role in ensuring your safety, which means that you need to carefully choose tires specifically made for driving in certain climatic and geographical conditions, says an article on Certified Auto Mall Towing & Recovery. Your normal all-season tire may provide better grip and a quality ride in the summer, but they generally fail to do so in winter.

Snow Tire Technology

Snow tires or winter tires are manufactured from soft rubber, which remains flexible even when temperature drops below zero. Snow tires are also made with treaded patterns and wider grooves to increase the friction on slippery roads, says an article on US News & World Report. These treaded designs make it easier for water to drain and help reduce hydroplaning. Snow tires usually offer 25% to 50% more traction than regular, all-season tires.

Most manufacturers also use silica to make winter tires, since it makes the rubber soft and flexible, and reduces its hardening in low temperatures. Maintaining appropriate air pressure is very important for better traction, durability and efficient handling. It is important that you check the pressure, since air contracts with a decrease in temperature. Remember, to keep the valve caps tightly shut, since moisture can freeze inside, if left open.

How to Identify a Snow Tire

Distinguishing snow tires from all-season ones isn’t rocket science. Snow tires aren’t studded, instead they have treaded patterns to provide more traction. While metal studs provide better traction in soft snow, it offers no help in hard ice. Additionally, snow tires will always have a mountain and snowflake icon on the side walls. This mark will help you to set apart snow tires from general all-season ones.

If you drive frequently on snow-covered roads, it is best to have all four snow tires for balanced traction, says an article on Consumer Reports. However, if you rarely use your vehicle in freezing weather, you can choose to have high quality all-season tires. Before you buy snow tires, however, make sure to conduct thorough research and compare the features of various tires available in the market.

How the Cold Weather Might Affect Your Car

Winter is upon us and it could be a nightmare if you need to drive on frozen roads. Snow fall and freezing temperatures can affect your vehicle in several ways. Here’s list of the vehicle components that might get affected by extreme cold weather.

The battery

Extreme cold temperatures can drain your car battery completely. A normal battery can last for about 2 to 3 years, but cold weather has the ability to kill your battery much sooner. Keeping your car in a garage will ensure good health for the battery. Giving proper attention to battery care and maintenance will also ensure long life for your vehicle’s battery, while making sure that your car starts every time you turn on the ignition, says an article by Certified Auto Mall Towing & Recovery.

Fuel and other fluids

Studies have shown that your car’s engine takes longer to reach its maximum fuel efficiency in cold weather, which affects the fuel economy, says an article by Acccuweather. It takes more time to heat up, especially in the mornings. Generally, when the temperature drops, the fluid thickens, which makes it harder for the various car fluids to flow smoothly, reducing the speed and efficiency of your vehicle. So, check all the fluids in your vehicle, including oil, power steering, transmission fluids, antifreeze, etc., on a regular basis in winter.

Tires

Tires contract in the cold, which reduces their traction. Tire pressure also gets affected when the temperature changes. Tire pressure can affect the durability, reliability and friction of your tires, making it harder to drive in snowy conditions, says an article on The Telegraph. So, if you live in a cold region, choose winter tires or snow tires over all-season ones, since the former have treaded patterns that increase friction. If you don’t know how to identify a winter tire, just look for a mountain and snow flake icon on the side walls of the tire. Make sure you check the monitor light for tire pressure, before you go for a drive.

Spark plugs

A clogged filter, defective spark plugs or bad ignition component can cause your car not to start. As the temperature drops, it will be harder for you to start your engine and will directly affect its reliability. Make sure you have high quality spark plugs to bear extreme weather conditions.

Along with checking your car components, make sure you are driving slow and choosing the shortest and safest route while on icy roads.

When Should You Hire A Wrecker Service?

The decision to call for a wrecker often comes down to a judgement call that is hard to make when you are already dealing with the stress of a car problem. Too often, people mistakenly believe that they can fix the problem themselves, which can lead to dangerous situations. As a general rule, it’s always best to call for a wrecker anytime you are in doubt about your safety, and these situations definitely require professional assistance.

You Suspect a Major Car Problem

While you might be able to make it home with a broken headlight during the day, driving your car when it is having major mechanical issues can cause even worse problems. For instance, continuing to drive a car that is overheating or out of oil or coolant can lead to a cracked engine that requires replacement. When your car exhibits warning signs of a serious problem, find a safe place to turn the engine off and arrange for a wrecker to take it to the auto service center.

Your Vehicle Is Stuck in a Precarious Position

Whether your construction truck got stuck in the mud or you ran your car into a ravine, this is another situation during which trying to do things yourself could land you in serious trouble. Trying to move a heavy vehicle out of a precarious position takes equipment that can handle the heavy load and professional expertise. A commercial tow truck service even has special trucks that can rotate vehicles off of their side without causing damage.

You Need to Move a Valuable Vehicle

Classic and exotic vehicles require a special touch when you want to get them out of storage and take them to an auto show. Trying to load and transport your vehicle by yourself is stressful, and you may not want to expose your valuable vehicle to potential damage by driving it on a major freeway. Flatbed tow services are an option in this situation that ensures your car arrives back home in flawless condition.

Your Car Is In a Collision

You should never try to drive your car after a wreck, even if it looks like only minor damage occurred. This is because more serious damage could be lurking beneath the surface, and you could find yourself in another accident or broken down on the side of the road. Always have a wrecker pick up your car after a collision so that you don’t have to drive it until it has been thoroughly checked out by a certified mechanic.

While calling for a wrecker service is the ideal solution for getting out of a dangerous jam, keep in mind that they can also help you with minor issues that arise such as running out of gas so that things don’t get worse. When in doubt, just give our wrecking team a call, and we’ll help you figure out the best way to handle any tough situation

Q&A’s About Car Batteries

The battery in your car serves an important role by sending a bolt of energy to the starter motor when you crank the engine, and it helps to provide power to other electrical features in your car such as the radio and lights. While battery technology has come a long way over the years, you should still know how they work and what to do to maintain the one in your car. As you read through this list of FAQs, remember that your regular oil change and tune up is a great time to request a car battery checkup.

How Long Does the Average Car Battery Last?

Today’s car batteries average a lifespan of about three to five years. However, there are multiple factors that go into how long a car battery can actually last. For example, extreme hot or cold temperatures alter the balance in the battery, and leaving a car sitting for long periods of time can also shorten the lifespan.

Will My Car’s Engine Die While I’m Driving If the Battery Stops Working?

In most cases, you will notice a battery problem during the initial start up of your vehicle. Once your vehicle is running, a failing battery should not cause the engine to die. However, a bad battery is often a symptom of a problem with the alternator or another component on your vehicle, and these types of issues could cause your engine to die.

How Do I Preserve the Battery When My Car Is In Storage?

Batteries in cars that are stored for more than a few days can lose their charge. For this reason, battery care should be on your checklist of things to do to prep your car for storage. If you plan to leave the battery in the car, arrange to have someone start it up at least once every two weeks. Alternatively, you can use a trickle charger or disconnect the battery.

How Do I Choose the Right Battery?

There are many different types of batteries on the market, and every vehicle has a specific size and type that is designed to fit the engine. While you can check your vehicle’s owner’s manual, its best to ask one of our certified auto repair technicians to help you find the right one to suit your car’s specifications.

What Are the Warning Signs of a Failing Battery?

Fortunately, bad batteries typically give some warning signs before they go completely out. You should be concerned anytime your car experiences a slow crank or fails to turn over since this could mean that the battery is weak. A bad battery could also trigger a warning light on your dash, but this could simply be a generic light telling you to check your engine. If you look under the hood, you may also see a bloated battery case or corrosion on the terminals. Finally, a need to jumpstart your car is a definite sign that the battery needs to be checked.

Proper battery care and maintenance gives you the reassurance that comes with knowing that your car will reliably start up every time you turn the key. If you car’s battery is nearing the end of its lifespan or is displaying warning signs, bring it in to see if a replacement is necessary.

Locked Out of Your Car? Here’s What You Can Do.

There is nothing quite like that heart sinking feeling you get when you realize you have locked yourself out of your vehicle. While car lockouts are a minor inconvenience when you are at home, they can quickly turn into an emergency situation when you are in an unsafe area or if the situation involves kids or pets. Be sure that you and every driver in your family know these strategies to handle a vehicle lockout the right way.

Double Check the Locks

When the driver’s side door refuses to open, your first instinct is to panic. However, one of the most common mistakes that we run across is a person failing to realize that another door is unlocked. Be sure to check each door on the vehicle, and remember to try the trunk as well. Many trunks have open access into the backseat that allow you to open the door from the inside and retrieve your keys.

Assess Your Safety

Vehicle lockouts tend to happen when you are distracted or in an unfamiliar area. Once you know for sure that you cannot get into your car, your next step is to make sure that you are safe. Criminals are adept at recognizing a person in distress, so remain calm and make yourself less of a target. For instance, you may need to leave your shopping bags behind the counter of the retail store you just left, or you might need to sit inside of a restaurant while you wait for one of our certified auto repair technicians to arrive and unlock your car.

Contact a Loved One

After ensuring your safety, reach out to someone that you know to let them know where you are and what has happened. You may also ask your spouse or roommate if they have a spare key or know how to locate one for your vehicle. If not, simply knowing that someone knows where you are while you wait for help to arrive is reassuring during a stressful situation.

Avoid DIY Methods

When you are under duress, you may be tempted to try anything to get into your vehicle. However, the majority of modern car door locks are designed to be difficult to open. You can also do more harm than good by trying common DIY methods that involve coat hangers or window wedges, and doing one of these methods wrong can lead to a need for repairs at our auto service center. Instead, call for a professional to provide you with lockout assistance that preserves your vehicle.

Report Emergency Situations

For parents and pet owners, car lockouts can turn into life-threatening incidents. While you should also take steps to prevent locking kids in the car, accidents sometimes happen. If your car lockout involves a child and you believe that they are in danger, be sure to call your local emergency authorities and let our technicians know about the situation. This way, you can ensure that your pet or child is rescued as fast as possible.

When you realize your keys are locked inside of your car, don’t panic. Instead, keep the number to our tow and recovery company programmed into your phone so that you can quickly receive help with car lockouts at any time of day or night.</p

3 Debunked Myths About Car Towing

Towing and recovery companies play a vital role in helping to keep people safe during roadside emergencies. Unfortunately, there are common myths that continue to circulate among drivers, and believing these myths leaves you vulnerable during one of the most difficult moments that you can face as a driver. Since falling for one of these beliefs could cost you time, money, and even your vehicle or health, we decided to clear things up once and for all by sharing the truth about towing services.

You Never Know What You Get When You Call For a Tow

At some point, just about everyone has heard some horror story about a towing service gone wrong. Perhaps the tow truck never arrived, or a person was the victim of a scammer. While these situations do happen, you have the power to make sure that you know exactly with whom you are dealing when you call for roadside assistance. Ideally, you should establish a relationship with a reputable towing company before you experience a vehicle breakdown. This way, you can verify that the crew members follow the best practices for towing such as undergoing continuous training and using the latest techniques to increase safety during every tow.

All Tow Trucks Are the Same

Depending upon the type of vehicle that you own, you may not be able to call just any company that you find since there are different types of tow trucks. Many smaller companies only have one type of tow truck, which will not work for specialty vehicles such as RVs or exotic cars. Alternatively, you may require a heavy duty tow truck such as a rotator if you have an overturned tractor-trailer. To avoid wasting time and money by having the wrong truck show up at your location, always make sure that the tow service knows the specifics about your vehicle and emergency situation so that they can send out the appropriate truck. We keep a fleet of flat beds, traditional trucks, as well as heavy duty rotators so that we can save the day in any situation.

Towing Companies Only Help With Broken Down Vehicles

Towing is obviously what tow truck drivers are known for, but you can also rely upon their services for more than just hauling away a broken down vehicle. These companies that can quickly reach your location before anyone else, can provide assistance such as bringing gas to fill your tank or helping you get into a locked car when your keys are stuck inside. When our drivers arrive at your location, they quickly assess the situation to decide the right course of action. In many cases, you may be able to be safely back on the road driving your car within a matter of minutes.

Misinformation about towing services doesn’t help anyone. In fact, believing any of these myths leaves you open to mistakes that could make a bad situation worse. When you have a question about towing services, be sure to reach out to us with your concerns so that we can continue to ensure that everyone learns the truth about how tow truck drivers strive to do their best serving the community.

What Should You Do When Your Car Overheats?

Keeping up with your car’s routine maintenance goes a long way toward preventing this type of roadside emergency since a lack of coolant is one of the most common reasons for an engine to overheat. However, your car could also overheat due to unforeseen circumstances such as a broken hose. When you see the temperature gauge start to climb, be sure to take these steps to preserve your car and stay safe.

Pull Over Immediately

You should never drive an overheating car since the high temperatures or a lack of fluids could cause serious damage such as a cracked engine block. If you must drive a short distance to find a safe place to park, then turn off the air conditioner in your car to reduce the strain on the engine. You can then turn on the heater to help transfer heat away from the engine. Once you get to a safe parking spot, turn the engine off and make sure that you are visible to other vehicles.

Wait to Open Up the Hood

If your car’s hood has a feature that allows you to open the hood from the inside, then go ahead and pop it to help vent out the heat. If not, then you may need to wait for the engine to cool down before you can safely open up the hood. As you open the hood, watch out for steam or a blast of hot air that could cause a burn. You will also want to use caution when opening the radiator cap. If it feels hot to the touch, then it’s too soon to open it up.

Assess the Situation

Although a car repair company is the best place to get an accurate diagnosis of why your car overheated, you may be able to get a few clues as to what went wrong. Check under the car for leaks, which could indicate a ruptured hose or cracked reservoir. Alternatively, you may notice that a hose is disconnected when you check under the hood. In some instances, such as for a small leak, you may be able to add coolant and drive if your service center is only a short distance away. However, it is usually best to err on the side of caution and call for a tow. This is the only way to be sure that you do not cause further damage to the car.

Repair the Issue

A car doesn’t overheat unless there is a reason. If you acted fast and shut off the engine in time, then you may be fortunate enough to only have to arrange for minor repairs on your vehicle. Keep in mind that even older cars should not overheat if they are in proper condition. Always arrange for your car to be inspected at the auto service center after an overheating incident to make sure that the underlying cause is repaired.

An overheating engine can be a frightening thing to experience as you are driving down the road. Not only will the temperature gauge start to climb, but you may also see smoke or steam emanating from under the hood. By keeping a cool head and getting to a safe place where you can turn off the engine, you can manage the situation in a way that helps preserve your car from further damage.

3 Different Methods of Roadside Recovery

Roadside breakdowns range from simple problems such as running out of gas to full-scale emergencies that happen if a heavy duty truck or construction vehicle rolls over. While being stuck in a jam causes you to think of all kinds of worst-case scenarios, the truth is that heavy duty towing and recovery professionals know how to get you out of any sticky situation. In fact, these three different methods of roadside recovery are just a few of the options that might be selected from to preserve your property.

Wheel Lift Towing

This is one of the most frequently used types of towing, and you’ve likely seen cars rescued from the side of the road using this method. Wheel lift towing is exactly what it sounds like since the truck picks up the car by a set of its wheels. In the past, chains were wrapped around the axles of a vehicle for this method, which had to be done very carefully to prevent damage. Now, however, towing companies are equipped with trucks that have specialized hydraulic dolly systems that support the vehicle at the tires where damage is less likely to occur. Typically, a car is supported with the yoke on the drive tires. For instance, a front-wheel drive vehicle will be towed with the front tires off of the ground. The unique recovery system involved with this method makes it ideal for getting two-wheel drive vehicles out of tight spots without causing damage.

Flatbed Tow Trucks

At times, a specific type of vehicle or situation may call for extra care during the recovery process. For instance, an exotic car may have a low undercarriage that increases the risk of damage with a wheel lift tow. Alternatively, your vehicle may be all-wheel drive, and using the wheel lift method with this type of vehicle could cause damage to the transmission. Flatbed tow trucks have a specialized system that allows for a ramp or portion of the bed to lower so that the car can be loaded on to it using its own power or through winching. Once the vehicle is loaded on the flatbed truck, it is then secured and transported to the auto service center for repairs. Since cars towed in this manner never touch the ground, this is an ideal method for long distance tows or those over rough terrain that pose a hazard for the vehicle.

Heavy Duty Rotator Recovery

Large and oversized vehicles require special recovery methods that go beyond the basic tow. Heavy recovery equipment such as rotators are designed to manage tasks such as turning rolled over construction vehicles and semis upright. These heavy duty trucks also come with equipment that can help pull vehicles out of precarious situations such as dangling from a ledge or being stuck in deep mud.

Whether you have a family sedan refusing to start in a parking lot or a big rig rolled over on a bridge, you need to know that there is always a way to handle even the worst roadside situation. If you find yourself stuck on the road, then just give a few details about your vehicle and the circumstances surrounding your emergency so that our crew can put together a plan to get you back to safety.

When Do You Need Heavy Duty Towing and Recovery?

As the driver of a heavy duty vehicle, you have a responsibility to protect the safety of everyone on the road by following the laws and keeping your truck maintained. Yet, accidents happen, and you should always have a plan in place to quickly get your large or oversized vehicle out of dangerous circumstances so that everyone stays out of harm’s way. If any of these situations apply to you, then you likely need heavy duty towing and recovery services to get your vehicle to a qualified auto shop that can get it back to working conditions.

You Drive an Oversized Vehicle

When you first contact our towing company, one of the first things we ask is what type of vehicle requires assistance. While a light duty truck is fine for towing passenger cars and small vans, you need a truck with more horsepower for large vehicles such as big rigs, commuter buses and even large RVs. A heavy duty tow truck allows us to quickly load and transport vehicles of any size without causing damage.

You Require a Tractor Swap

At times, engines fail and you may be stuck on the side of the road with a trailer filled to the brim with cargo that must be delivered on time. Heavy duty towers can easily pick up a new tractor from your fleet and bring it to your driver at their location so that they can get back to their drive. Meanwhile, the tow driver can deliver the faulty tractor to your mechanic so that it can be put back into action as fast as possible.

You Are Dealing With a Rollover

Rollovers are life-threatening and embarrassing, and they unfortunately happen all the time in the trucking industry. While you should always practice proper rollover prevention techniques, you should also know how to handle this emergency. Following a rollover, make sure that everyone is okay, then reach out to a heavy duty tower that has equipment such as a rotator that can set the rig upright again.

You Must Act Fast to Clear a Public Roadway

Depending upon where and how you have a breakdown, you may have a legal and moral obligation to get the road clear as fast as possible. This means that you don’t have time to mess around with do-it-yourself techniques or a tow company that isn’t equipped with the right types of vehicles. When you arrange for heavy duty towing, you can know that help will arrive promptly and with the equipment required to clear the road.

You Get Stuck in a Precarious Position

Some tow jobs require delicate maneuvers to preserve the site of an accident as well as the vehicle. For instance, a runaway truck could break through a guardrail and dangle precariously over a ledge. Alternatively, construction vehicles frequently get stuck in on uneven ground or in mud and require a strong recovery truck to get them out.

Large vehicles stuck in dangerous situations require someone with an experienced hand and the right equipment to handle the situation with professionalism. Before you hop in the driver’s seat of your heavy duty vehicle, make sure that you know who to call in the event of an emergency.

What is Suspension Repair and Why Do You Need It?

Your vehicle is one of your most important assets, and regular maintenance helps to preserve its value and ensure your safety. The suspension system on your vehicle plays a major role in how your vehicle operates and handles, and regular inspections of its components should be a normal part of your car’s routine maintenance plans. Similar to most car problems, repairing an issue while it is small is the best way to avoid a potentially dangerous breakdown. To get you started, you can use this guide to understand more about the importance of suspension repair and how to know when you really need it.

Main Components of a Suspension System

Suspension systems are complex, and they contain many parts. However, there are six main components of the suspension system that connect your car’s body to the wheels and regulate the amount of bouncing that occurs as you drive down the road. The springs on the suspension system help to absorb energy that occurs from driving over bumps and potholes in the road. There are also the struts and shock absorbers, which help to counteract the oscillations of the spring. These components tend to need replacement the most often on a vehicle, and failing to repair them leads to dangerous issues with braking and handling due to improper weight transfers between the different sides of the car. The roll bars, ball joints and spindles are the final three main components, and each of these should be inspected regularly when you visit our auto repair company.

Signs of a Suspension Problem

When the suspension system is having problems, you may notice issues as you drive. For instance, your car may bottom out when you drive over minor bumps, or it will continue bouncing long after what you would expect when driving over a pothole. You may also notice the front end of your vehicle dipping downward when you brake, which indicates a potentially dangerous situation.

You may also be able to visibly sight a suspension problem. For instance, a car with a bad suspension component in only one area may be lower on that part of the vehicle. A quick way to test your shocks is to push down on each corner of your vehicle and see if it continues to bounce after you release your hand. If it does, then you may need to seek certified auto repair services to replace the shocks.

Tips to Preserve Your Vehicle’s Suspension System

You can do your part to preserve your vehicle’s suspension system by using caution as you drive over bumps and potholes. Maintaining the tires also helps to reduce the wear and tear on the suspension system since properly inflated tires help to balance your vehicle. Finally, be aware of your car’s recommendations for maintenance. While the springs should be checked after an accident, they typically last the life of a vehicle unless you drive on rough terrain. However, most shocks and struts need to be changed between 50,000 to 75,000 miles, if not sooner.

When you love a smooth ride, keeping the suspension system in proper condition is critical for eliminating unsafe movements of your vehicle during your drives. Always be alert for signs that a component may be going out so that we can give it a check and make the necessary recommendations for repairs that preserve your safety.