3 Big Questions about Towing Companies
There’s no doubt that owning a car comes with a great deal of responsibility; from routine shop visits and oil changes to making sure the vehicle registration is up to date, there’s a lot to coordinate and manage. When unexpected or emergency situations occur with your vehicle and leave you stranded on the side of the road, calling a tow truck company jumps to the top of your priority list. Whether it’s a flat tire or traffic accident, a tow truck is the first step toward getting your car back on the road.
What Services Do Tow Companies Offer?
On the surface, you’d think towing companies do one thing: tow vehicles. In fact, most towing companies offer a range of services geared toward remedying your car troubles. These services can include gas refills, jumpstarting a battery, unlocking a door, changing a tire, and even pulling your car out of a muddy ditch.1 When contacting a tow truck company, be sure to explain your situation and ask about the services offered.
Learn how to change a tire yourself here.
When all else fails, a towing company is going to do what it does best: take your vehicle to a destination of your choosing (as long as it’s within their service range), usually a repair shop. Make sure the towing company you contact is aware of your vehicle’s make and model, as certain vehicles can sometimes require a specific type of tow truck. While the original “hook and chain” style is still in use, flatbed tow trucks have become the most popular.3 These trucks are simple to operate and designed to prevent further damage to your vehicle during the towing process.3
How Much Does a Towing Service Cost?
Millions of vehicles are towed each year, and it’s no great stretch of the imagination to say that just about every car owner has needed at least one tow in their lifetime. Having an idea of how much a tow costs will help prepare you for unexpected maintenance issues or accidents. Basic tow truck rates start with a hook-up fee and begin around $50 for a standard tow and can go as high as $95 for a flatbed tow.2 These base rates often come with five to ten tow miles. Any distance beyond this amount is an additional cost, charged by the mile. This fee varies by company, but is usually around two to four dollars, though heavy-duty vehicles can charge as much as seven dollars per mile.2 If you’re in a situation where a tow is required, be sure to ask about pricing up front. Any reputable towing company will have no problem giving you a hook-up fee and additional per mile price based on your vehicle. Asking ahead of time will also inform you of any additional fees, such as hazardous pick-up or gas fees.
Ever Wonder Why Gas Prices Change So Much? Learn more here.
If you’ve been in a traffic accident or require emergency roadside assistance, there’s a good chance your insurance company can help. Contact them to see if they have relationships with local tow truck companies, and be sure to keep any receipts you receive, as these can sometimes be submitted for reimbursement. Apart from insurance companies, there are also roadside assistance companies that provide towing among other services, usually with varying degrees of support depending on your membership level.1
Who Drives a Tow Truck?
Tow truck drivers perform an important and specialized job—not one that just anyone can accomplish overnight. First and foremost are their interpersonal skills; a tow truck driver deals with frustrated people all day long, and that requires a good deal of patience, though there are other—more tangible—requirements.
Regulations for tow truck drivers vary from state to state, with many requiring applicants pass a series of certifications and licensing programs before they’re permitted to drive a tow truck.4 Federal law requires a driver to obtain a commercial license before towing more than 26,000 lbs., though many states require a commercial license no matter the weight.4 If you are ever in a situation where your vehicle needs to be towed, you can be confident that the driver handling your vehicle is professionally trained to operate the truck and handle any situation.
Towing companies are a necessity in today’s world; a safety net for the average driver. Locate a reputable and fully licensed towing company in your area so that you can be prepared when an emergency occurs. To find tow companies that accept the Synchrony Car CareTM credit card, use the Synchrony Car CareTM mobile app or our locator online.
Avoid the Tow—Recognize When Your Car Battery Needs Replacing.
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