Maintenance Checks that Keep your Car Going

car in need of roadside assistance

Owning a car is quite different nowadays compared with much of the 20th century, when they were still a relatively new invention. These days however, cars are commonplace in most households, and are a commonly used method of transportation. As a provider of a towing services in Woodstock VA, we believe in maintaining your car to avoid having to call upon us unnecessarily.

Most people will take their car for a ‘service’ annually, which usually involves checking the rudimentary functions of the car such as the brakes and headlights. Although depending on the age of the car and amount of use it’s getting, you may need to check it in between, if specific repairs or upgraded need to occur.

Here is a look at the less obvious maintenance checks which can keep your car going.

The Routine Checkup

As previously mentioned, most people will take their car for an annual checkup with their local mechanic. The following is what mechanics will evaluate when looking at your vehicle:

  • Engine Oil and Filter – These usually need to be changed every 5,000 miles
  • Coolant / Antifreeze – These need to be replaced annually
  • Brakes – All elements of the brake system need to be checked annually, including brake fluid, brake lining, rotors and pads
  • Tires – The pressure and condition should be checked regularly, with a tire rotation occurring every 5,000 miles
  • Battery – Check that it’s mounted securely and not corroded

Many of the people who contact us about our towing service in Woodstock VA failed to check or maintain one or more of the above features. While ensuring these parts are functioning correctly can rule out a huge variety of problems, there are other parts which benefit from regular checking and maintenance.

What to Check Immediately

Modern cars have many lights and dials which can indicate to drivers the types of issues that are taking place. The two most common indicators are the ‘Check Engine Light’ and ‘Tire Pressure Light’.

Check Engine Light

This light indicates that the electronic control system in your car has run into a problem which it can’t fix. There are a variety of issues which could cause this light to turn on, including:

 

  • Loose cap on the fuel tank – a common reason for the light to turn on which may occur immediately after filling up
  • Catalytic Converter failure – this plays a critical role in the exhaust of your car and while it isn’t a complicated fix, it can be expensive
  • Oxygen (O2) sensor fault – this can cause problems with the catalytic converter and should be fixed asap
  • Ignition coil or spark plug failure – only a problem in cars which run on gasoline (not diesel), these problems can be mistaken for one another
  • Airflow sensor failure – this checks how much air is entering the engine and tells the car’s computer how much fuel should go in. Problems with this are usually caused by the air filter

Tire Pressure Light

Unlike the check engine light, the tire pressure light indicates exactly what the problem is, namely that the tires are losing air. This could be due to a variety of reasons, and regularly checking and changing your tires can mitigate this problem.

Faulty Headlights or Indicators

If one of your lights goes out, check the fuse immediately as often that is the cause. If that doesn’t fix it make sure to replace the bulb as soon as possible, otherwise you may risk getting a ticket.

Broken or Noisy Wiper Blades

A relatively common problem in older cars or those used heavily, the wiper blades are prone to malfunction and can cause a cacophony when left unaddressed. Thankfully, replacing wiper blades is generally affordable and easy, with most car part shops offering the service for a small fee.

Other Types Of Maintenance Checks

After all of the above checks, the final few are either specific to certain vehicles or certain circumstances. These can include:

 

  • Automatic Transmission Fluid – only relevant to automatics, this needs be done while the engine is running and more information can be found in the owner’s manual
  • V Belts and Serpentine Belts – these should be tight, if they’re frayed or worn then replace them
  • Hoses – the various hoses underneath your car should be in good condition, any cracks and tears will require the hoses to be replaced
  • Power Steering Fluid – check while the car is warm and top up if necessary, if top ups become frequent check for leaks
  • Exhaust – inspect for leaks and damage and listen for any strange sounds it may be making, repair immediately if any faults are identified
  • Chassis Lubrication – unless your car is “lubed for life” (check owner’s manual or online) then you may need to get the chassis, steering and suspension systems lubed.

 

For information about whether our auto repair facility can help with any of the above maintenance checks, or to find out more about our towing service in Woodstock VA, get in touch with Shenandoah Towing, today!

Preparing A Car-Accident Kit

Truck being towed

Whether it’s a small collision with another vehicle, or your car has simply cut out on the highway, accidents do happen. Realizing the normality of these situations before they occur can help you to mentally, emotionally and physically prepare for their occurrence.

For most people, the extent of their current accident preparation kit is usually just the scrawled name and number of a towing service in Woodstock, VA. Residents aren’t strangers to the huge variety of problems that can occur on their roads, and some were able to give astute advice for things to have in an accident prep kit.

We’ve taken their knowledge and put some facts behind it to help you prepare an accident preparation kit which can save you time, money, and stress.

Have Your Papers In Order and Ready

Whether you hit someone else, or simply damaged public property, an inevitable part of the post-accident process is the handing over of personal and insurance details. During this time directly after a crash, tensions are understandably high, and having to contact home or dig through your car to find your documents can be stressful for all parties involved. Make sure to have the following in a water-proof folder:

  • Drivers License – you should have this on you at all times when you’re driving, as it is required by law
  • Insurance Documents – have all relevant insurance information printed and ready, it may even help to have spare copies you can give to others if need be
  • Relevant Emergency Numbers – this can include a family member or friend who can help in emergencies, as well as the number of your local mechanic and local towing service in Woodstock VA residents can use 540-481-0658
  • Personal Medical Information – any personal medical information that you believe may be relevant can also be kept with this other information.

Have a First-Aid Kit Ready

While most car owners will know exactly where their first-aid kit is in their car, there are still many people who don’t realize their importance. Having a first-aid kit isn’t simply to try and fix any medical problems that occur, but they can buy you or others precious time while getting to the hospital. A good first-aid kit should contain:

  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Vaseline
  • A digital thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Curved scissors (the medical kind used for cutting clothes)
  • Adhesive Band-Aids for covering cuts
  • Gauze pads for treating wounds
  • Safety pins for closing bandages
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic and hydrocortisone cream for skin inflammation and rashes
  • Antihistamine for allergic reactions
  • Antiseptic wipes to sanitize your hands
  • Aspirin, Ibuprofen, or other pain relieving medication
  • Aloe Vera to treat mild burns
  • Insect bite relief pads
  • A needle
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Saline solution for eye washing or cleaning wounds

Thankfully you won’t need to buy all of these items individually, they often come packaged and can be found in most department stores.

Mental First-Aid

As one can imagine, regardless of how good you are at stress management, a car accident can be incredibly stressful and anxiety-inducing. If you’re prone to anxiety then you may consider preparing some things which can help you to calm down and remain calm. These could be:

  • A bottle of water – hydration can help break through shock response
  • Something sweet like chocolate or candy – these can cut through any dizziness you may feel after a crash
  • A comforting smell – whether it’s your favorite essential oil or something that smells like your partner, smell is a great sense to use to ground oneself
  • A stress ball – if you’re easily aggravated a stress ball can help you to focus on the matter at hand
  • Spare anxiety relief medication – if you’re currently medicating for anxiety, putting one pill in your mental first-aid kit can give you the means to calm yourself down quickly

Unlike the first-aid kit, this can be made of whatever you want, and is only meant to help you to calm down enough to deal with the accident.

Other Useful Items

There are some other things which may help in certain environments, such as a warm blanket for those who live in a cold climate. You may also want to prepare a spare set of clothes just in case something happens to the ones you’re wearing and you can’t make it home to change immediately.

Don’t Fret, Bet on Shenandoah Towing

Having been in the industry for several years now, we’ve seen how people can make their situation exponentially worse by not dealing with their crash in a calm manner. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to help people find ways to prepare for what truly is inevitable, and to have more in the way of preparation than just the number of a towing service in Woodstock VA.

Car Maintenance Can Prevent Needing Roadside Assistance

car in need of roadside assistance

If you’ve come across this article, chances are you’re looking for a local towing service for emergency breakdowns and the like. While it’s good to be prepared by having the necessary numbers for such services such as roadside Assistance in Woodstock, there is also wisdom in exploring preventative measures. Cars can stop working for any number of reasons, ranging from the mundane to the highly technical. Most modern cars claim to more-or-less look after themselves, which in turn has reduced general consumer competency when it comes to maintaining them. Doing these checks yourself can save you both time and money, as well as increase the longevity of your car.

Here is some basic car maintenance you can do at home.

Checking and Changing Oil

If you don’t mind getting a little dirty, and are happy to invest in some tools that will pay for themselves in savings, then change your own oil and filter. Before doing any of this though, it’s important to consider the frequency at which oil should be changed. Experts will generally state that oil should be changed every 3,000 miles, but as I have a relatively new car I will usually change mine every 5,000 miles. The frequency you should change your oil depends on the age and condition of your car: every 3,000 miles for older cars; every 5,000 miles for newer.

Always make sure your engine isn’t hot when checking or changing oil, if you have recently driven to the store to buy the tools allow the car to cool down for an hour or two.

Checking Oil

You will need:

  • An old rag
  1. Pop the hood of the car and unscrew the dipstick, carefully pulling it out.
  2. Wipe the dipstick down with the rag and screw it back down, leave for a moment before pulling it out to check.
  3. There should be indicators on the dipstick to show you how much oil there should be, if you’re low it might be time for a change.

Changing Oil

You will need:

  • A car jack or a couple of small ramps which you can drive up onto
  • Ratchet
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Oil pan
  • Funnel
  1. Make sure the engine has had plenty of time to cool first.
  2. Use the ramps or jack to lift the car, get underneath and locate the oil pan.
  3. Unscrew the drain plug and drain the old oil into your oil pan. Once it has all drained, replace the drain plug.
  4. Locate the oil filter in the engine and carefully remove using the oil filter wrench, mind the filter contains old oil too.
  5. Lubricate the rubber gasket on the new oil filter with your new oil.
  6. Fill the new oil filter to about two-thirds with new oil.
  7. Screw in new oil filter, hand-tighten only.
  8. Using your funnel with the engine with new oil.

And voila! You’ve changed the oil and are now slightly less likely to need roadside assistance in Woodstock VA. Locals that I’ve spoken with about changing oil have said they’re happy to help their neighbors, so don’t hesitate to ask around if you need any help.

Air Filter

After changing your oil, changing your air filter will seem incredibly easy. This should be done every 12 months or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. Changing your air filter can be done with zero tools and experience, and can only take about 10 minutes.

Changing Air Filter

You will need:

  • A new air filter for your car
  1. Pop the hood up and locate the air filter, it should be in a black rectangular box with metal clips on the side. Check your owner’s manual if you don’t see it.
  2. Open the casing and take a photo of how the air filter is sitting in the box, making note of which way it’s facing.
  3. Remove the old air filter and dispose of it appropriately, put the new air filter in exactly how the other one was set (refer to photos or notes).
  4. Close the metal clips and close the hood.

Other Simple Car Maintenance Checks You Can Do Yourself

Once you’re comfortable changing the oil and air filter, you may be keen to discover what else you can check on your car. There are a huge number of things which can be done with minimal tools and experience, just be sure to not overextend yourself and leave the big jobs to the pros.

Roadside Assistance Woodstock VA

Despite any amount of maintenance checks we do, accidents do happen. We here at Shenandoah are well aware of this, and are in the business of coming to the rescue with our professional towing, roadside assistance and repair in Woodstock VA.

Contact us if you’re ever in a pinch or would like to know more about our services beforehand in case such an emergency does occur.

 

Roadside Assistance: Tow or Repair?

car roadside assistance woodstock concept image

Before calling us for our towing service and roadside assistance in Woodstock VA, it’s helpful to know whether or not your call simply needs a roadside repair. Breakdowns occur for any number of reasons, and there are usually some signs which can indicate why.

The price difference between a towing service and a roadside repair can be quite substantial. So knowing which one you need when your car breaks down can save you both time and money.

Here are some telltale signs of whether your broken down car needs a tow or a roadside repair.

Common Causes of Breakdowns

There are a handful of things which can account for a majority of cars breaking down on the side of the road. Recognizing signs of these can empower you to find your own solutions before needing to call for professional help.

Out of Gas

Running out of petrol or diesel is something that probably 90% of drivers will face at some point or another. The most common reason for running out of gas is poor planning, as your car’s tank will hold a certain amount of gas, which will take it a certain amount of miles. Whether you’re running late for work, on a road trip, or simply running around doing errands; it’s always important to keep an eye on your fuel gauge.

Some tips to help you from running out of gas include:

  • Fueling your car up regularly on the same day at the same time each week.
  • Checking how many miles your car does on a full tank, and recognizing each section of the fuel gauge as telling you how many miles you can drive.
  • Filling your car completely when you do put gas in, instead of just putting $10 or $20 at a time.
  • Having a jerry can full of petrol in your boot or somewhere safe in your vehicle.

Flat Battery

The most typical cause of a flat battery is leaving the lights on when the engine’s off. Although driving lots of short journeys, having many devices plugged in, or small faults in the battery’s connection can cause this too.

 

The best thing you can do to avoid this is to get into the habit of turning your lights off the second you arrive at your destination. Also getting your car regularly serviced, and not being shy about buying a new battery every few years if your current one seems worn at all. Also having jumper cables in your boot will allow you to bring your car back to life with the help of a nearby “good samaritan”.

Flat Tire

Another painfully common cause of breakdowns, a flat tire can occur for any number of reasons. It could be due to something sharp on the road, or perhaps the tread has worn down too much. Regularly checking your tread, as well as replacing your tires with high quality replacements can help to avoid this problem. Also be sure to have a good quality spacer easily accessible somewhere in the car, as well as the tools to change it.

Bigger Problems

All of these problems can be solved by oneself on the side of the road, but there are many other causes of breakdowns which can’t. Here are some of the bigger problems, and whether you should call for a towing service or roadside repair. We offer both roadside assistance in Woodstock VA, so having our number written down can be a great help.

  • Too much or too little engine oil can cause a range of problems – depending on the severity of the problem, roadside assistance can top your engine up. Otherwise a towing service can take you to a mechanic to have the engine flushed and oil refilled.
  • Engine overheating – as with engine oil problems, overheating can have a few different causes and effects. If there’s steam coming from your engine get in touch with a nearby towing service, and don’t touch your bonnet!
  • Traffic accidents – regardless of who is to blame, traffic accidents happen, and your first concern should be your own safety, then that of the people in the other vehicle. Depending on how bad the accident was you may need to call a towing service to move your vehicle.

If You’re Not Sure, Give Us a Call!

If you’ve had a breakdown and none of these given problems are to blame, then you may want to give us a call. We provide both roadside assistance in Woodstock, as well as a professional towing service.

So if you need help, give us a call today!

Common Causes of Car Accidents in VA

woman stressed at car breakdown - roadside recovery concept image

Although many drivers in Virginia may argue this point, evidence continuously points to drivers of this great state being some of the worst in the country. Our experience in roadside recovery in Shenandoah County shows us just how many incidents occur on a given day.

A recent survey by insurance company QuoteWizard in October 2020 placed Virginia as the 2nd worst drivers in the country. This was based on two million insurance quotes for driving incident factors including accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs and other citations like texting and driving.

So how do we fix this? Instead of proposing stricter laws and higher fines as many politician-types may consider, we here at Shenandoah Towing believe in the power of the community. By looking at common traffic accidents and their causes, we can help one another to behave better on the road and make our great state safe again.

Here are the causes of common car accidents in VA and how we can avoid them:

(All statistics given here were based on the Virginian Department of Motor Vehicle report from 2019 which can be seen here.)

Speeding

According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there were 24,739 speed-related crashes in 2019 which made up about 19.3% of all crashes. This resulted in 13,289 injuries and 349 fatalities; a level of devastation that no speeding-driver could justify.

Why People Speed

The causes of speeding have been studied, and it’s been found that drivers can be split into three categories: compliant drivers, moderate speeders, and excessive speeders. The biggest sign that someone may fit into one of these categories is their personality. Speeders are often people who have thrill-seeking or aggressive tendencies, or those with chaotic lives that struggle to keep up with their routine.

How to Stop People from Speeding

To combat this habit of speeding, it may be best to make clear the personality traits that a person shows, and relate it to their habit of going over the limit. Thrill-seeking individuals can find safer outlets for their desire for excitement with such things as extreme sports or even go-karting.

Those with aggressive tendencies may benefit from an anger management course, or an introduction to a spiritual practice like meditation or yoga. Whereas those with chaotic lives may simply need some help making sense of their daily routine.

Distracted Driving

Virginians driving distracted caused 23,246 crashes in 2019, which made up around 18.1% of crashes that year. This resulted in 13,258 injuries and 120 deaths; which reflects the very serious nature of becoming distracted while driving.

What Distracts Us

The most commonly thought-of distraction is of course our cellphones. Although the DMV listed “eyes not on road” and “looking at roadside incidents” as more common distractions for 2019.

Driving requires an immense amount of focus, even at its most boring moments, as anything can happen and one should be prepared to react appropriately.

Combatting Distraction

The main reason we become distracted is usually our human nature which wants to make sense of the world around us. By considering the things that may distract us, we can train our minds to focus on the task at hand.

These are some common distractions and how to avoid them:

  • Cell Phones – putting your phone on silent while you drive can keep you from checking it every time it rings or beeps. Otherwise safely pull over to check your messages or take that oh-so-important call.
  • GPS – as helpful as they are, they can draw our attention from the road, so make sure your GPS is mounted where you can easily see it.
  • Applying makeup or grooming of any kind – adjust your sleeping patterns to ensure you have ample time to do this before you drive.
  • Adjusting music or other controls – ask your passenger to do this for you, otherwise safely pull over and do it yourself.
  • Handling children or pets – make sure you secure them appropriately before driving anywhere.
  • Talking to passengers – as natural as it may feel, there are times when it can cause an accident, so communicate clearly to your passengers that you need to focus.
  • Not looking at the road – as stated it’s within our nature to be curious, when this happens remind yourself where you are and what you’re doing.

Other Major Causes

Obviously, alcohol and other intoxicating substances play a big role in many traffic accidents these days and the need for roadside recovery. By planning a sober-driver or calling a taxi you can not only save your own life but also the lives of others on the road.

Roadside Recovery Shenandoah County

Sometimes accidents happen for reasons beyond our control, and as scary as they may seem, it’s important to try and be level-headed when these inevitable situations arise. Depending on the nature and severity of the accident, emergency services may need to be called to save a life or apprehend a criminal.

In the event that you have been in an accident and need to move your vehicle, you’ll need to call a towing company.

Here at Shenandoah Towing, we provide towing services, roadside repairs, and of course roadside recovery in Shenandoah County. For our towing service, Woodstock VA is our headquarters. We also service Shenandoah County, Warren County, Frederick County, and Page County as well as both Interstate 66 and Interstate 81.

Write down our name and number on paper and put it in your glove box just in case!

4 Common Car Emergencies and How to Handle Them

empty gas gauge - roadside repair concept image

When you get behind the wheel of your car, it’s usually with the assumption that you’ll get from point A to point B without any trouble. But every so often, trouble pops up. Some things, like traffic jams and accidents, you just can’t help. And sometimes your car runs into mechanical issues that you can’t diagnose on your own. Then there are some issues you can fix on your own. While our roadside repair in Woodstock, VA is happy to help drivers no matter their need, we’re here to let you know that there are some car emergencies that aren’t as dire as they seem.

Fixing a flat tire

Whether it’s due to damage sustained on the road or a leaky valve stem, flat tires are one of the most common problems drivers face.

And while dealing with them is stressful — especially in the case of a sudden blowout — fixing them is easier than you might think. All you’ll need is a spare tire, jack and lug wrench, and a brick if possible.

Start by putting your car in park — with the emergency brake engaged — ideally away from traffic and on a level surface. Put the brick behind the tire opposite the one you’re about to replace to prevent the car from rolling.

Once you remove the hubcap, you’ll find the lug nuts. Loosen them slightly with the wrench, but make sure they stay attached to the fire for now. Place the jack under the body of the car in a way that it is against the car without risk of falling. From there, jack up the vehicle and remove the lug nuts.

Replace the old tire with your spare/new tire and tighten the lug nuts. You should do this on alternating sides. If your tire has five lug nuts, tighten them in a star pattern, starting at the top, moving downward on a diagonal, then back up, etc.

After you’ve lowered the jack and the car is on the ground, tighten the lug nuts once more for good measure.

Jumpstarting a battery

You’re at the grocery store, loading bags into your car when a lady parked next to you asks for help jump starting her car. If you know what you’d do next, feel free to skip ahead.

If not, here’s how to restore a dead car battery to life. Jumper cables aren’t something to fool around with. They can be dangerous. Follow the directions on their packaging, or get another driver with more experience lead the way.

Start by making sure both cars are parked facing each other, hood to hood. Keep the jumper cables unbent at all times to prevent shocks.

When you open the hood, you’ll see terminals marked positive (plus sign) and negative (minus sign). Once you know both cars are off, jump the battery with these steps.

  • Connect the positive cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery. In most sets of jumper cables, the positive cable is red.
  • Connect the other positive cable to the positive terminal on the live battery.
  • Connect the negative cable to the negative terminal on the live battery. Negative cables are normally black.
  • Connect the other end of the negative/black cable to a metal section under the hood of the car with the dead battery. This metal surface must be unpainted and away from the battery.

From there, let the battery charge for five minutes, then see whether the car will start. If the car doesn’t start, let it charge for a few minutes more and try restarting the car with the dead battery. Assuming the jump was successful, detach the cables in this order:

  • The negative cable attached to the unpainted metal section
  • The negative cable attached to the live battery
  • The positive cable attached to the live battery
  • The positive cable attached to the car that was jumped

If neither you or the other driver are sure about this process, don’t hesitate to call your local Woodstock VA roadside repair service. It’s better to admit you don’t know how to do something than put yourself or another driver in danger.

Running out of gas

“I have enough gas to get me home,” you tell yourself before setting out on a long drive down a rural stretch of highway.

As it turns out, you don’t. Miles before your destination, your car starts to sputter and die, the fuel gauge on “E.”

When this happens, here’s what to do:

  • Pull over. If your car has stopped and there’s not enough fuel to get you to the side of the road, shift to neutral and — when you know it’s safe to do so — push the car to the side of the road, switching on your hazard lights to let other drivers know you need help.
  • Use your smartphone or a good old fashioned map to figure out where you’ve stopped.
  • Be sure your phone has a proper charge. You might be waiting a while, so you’ll need a way to communicate.
  • Find a local gas station. Failing that, call a towing company or roadside assistance service.

An overheated car

Having your car overheat can be scary. One minute you’re driving along normally, the next your engine is hissing and smoking. When this happens, take control of the situation by:

  • Switching on your heater. This might sound funny, but having the heat on pulls warm air away from your engine, easing the pressure on your car’s cooling system. Sometimes this is enough to bring the engine temperature down. You’ll know it’s worked if the warning light shuts off or the temperature gauge returns to its normal position.
  • If turning the heater on fails to cool the car after a few minutes of driving, it’s time to pull over and shut off the car. It’s the safest and most effective way to bring the engine temperature down. Call roadside assistance if you have it, or get in touch with your local Woodstock, Virginia roadside repair service.
  • If you don’t have access to roadside assistance, be patient. Give your engine at least 15 minutes to cool down. The coolant in an overheated car is EXTREMELY hot. You’re als in danger of burns from hot water or steam.
  • Once you’ve given the engine time to cool, add some coolant. Consult your owner’s manual to find your coolant reservoir.
  • If the temperature gauge returns to normal, you can proceed with caution. Keep in mind that this is a temporary fix. You’ll need a mechanic to find what caused the car to overheat in the first place.

Roadside Repair in Woodstock, Virginia

We should stress once again that if you don’t feel comfortable addressing any of these DIY car repairs on your own, Shenandoah Towing is here to help.

Our roadside repairs include tire repair and replacement, battery jumpstarts and more. And with our own on-site repair facility, we can serve whatever mechanical issues we aren’t able to address at the site of your breakdown. Contact us today to learn more about our Woodstock VA roadside repair services.

Items Every Driver Should Have in Their Car

jumper cables clamped onto a battery - roadside repair service concept image

What do you have in your car? Maps? A cell phone charging cord? Maybe a jacket? Far too many drivers neglect stocking their vehicles with the things that can help them — or assist other drivers — in case of an accident or breakdown. It’s something we see all too often as a Shenandoah, VA roadside repair service.

Ask yourself if your car contains the following items:

Things to Address Basic Problems

Any driver who finds themselves stranded on the side of the road will want to have:

  • Flares/emergency reflectors
  • Jumper cables
  • Motor oil (2 quarts)
  • Antifreeze (1 gallon)
  • Brake fluid
  • Extra gas tank
  • A small fire extinguisher
  • A flashlight

We realize that the advent of the smartphone has made flashlights seem unnecessary, but we’d argue it helps to have one on hand to make minor repairs — like fixing a flat — in the dark. A flashlight will provide you with more light than your phone, and allow you to conserve your battery in case you need to search for Shenandoah, VA roadside repairs.

Tools for Temporary Repairs

Your emergency toolkit should contain things like:

  • Screwdrivers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pliers
  • Vise grips
  • Funnel
  • Duct tape
  • Gloves
  • Small compressor for tire inflation
  • Extra fuses
  • Pocket knife
  • Pressure gauge

We realize that not everyone is a professional mechanic, but even if you’re not sure how to make car repairs, having those tools can help if you run into someone who is a little more mechanically inclined.

Emergency Items for Your Car

You might run into problems on the road that have nothing to do with car repairs. Whether you’re crossing state lines or just commuting to work, you have no way of knowing what you might run into, whether it’s a crash or driver in distress.

Pack an emergency kit that includes:

  • Bandages
  • Medical tape
  • Gauze
  • Antiseptic creams
  • Scissors
  • Latex gloves
  • Aspirin/pain relievers
  • Instant ice and heat compresses
  • Paper towels

Your emergency kit should also include items to help you in case you’re stranded due to extreme weather, an accident, or mechanical failure. Protect yourself while you wait for help to arrive by packing:

  • A large bottle of water
  • A blanket
  • Non-perishable food like granola bars
  • Charging cables/battery back-ups for cell phones

Keep all your emergency items and repair supplies together so they’re easy access when you need them. Keep them secure inside your trunk in a box with a lid to prevent tools or other small items from rolling around in the vehicle.

And finally, don’t just pack your emergency kit and forget about it. Take some time to familiarize yourself with everything so know where everything is stored and how to use it in case of an accident or break down.

You might even want to practice things like replacing a flat tire, or reviewing common engine issues that might leave you stranded. Lots of things can happen when we drive, but with the right amount of preparation and the right equipment, you can handle almost anything.

Shenandoah VA Roadside Repairs

And when you run into a problem you can’t handle, contact Shenandoah Towing. Our Virginia roadside repair service is equipped to deal with problems big and small. When we can’t address your issue on the side of the road, we can take your vehicle to our repair shop to diagnose the trouble. Contact us today to learn more.

8 Emergency Items to Keep in Your Car

jumper cables useful in car emergencies such as having a dead battery

What emergency items should you keep in your car? There are some things most drivers tend to keep in our cars, like the owner’s manual or insurance cards.

But what if an emergency happens? Will you be prepared? Even if you have the number for a Shenandoah roadside repair at the ready, there are still a few emergency items to keep in your car.

1 – A first aid kit

A good first aid kit should include several different sizes of band-aids, gauze, antibiotic cream, cotton swabs, allergy medication, hand sanitizer and over-the-counter pain meds. You may also want to include a thermometer, any medication you and your loved ones need, a heating pad and battery-powered radio.

A pair of disposable gloves might also be a good idea, in case you need to treat someone else’s injury.

2 – A flashlight

In a pinch, your cellphone can work as a light source — it may even have its own flashlight. But it’s a good idea to preserve your battery during emergencies.

That’s why you should keep a heavy-duty, waterproof flashlight — and extra-batteries — in the car to light your way during nighttime emergencies.

3 – Water

It could be a jug in the trunk or a case of plastic bottles from the supermarket. Either way, it’s a good idea to keep water in your car. Not only will it prevent dehydration, you can use water for cleaning or to add water to an overheated radiator.

4 – Snacks

Having snacks in your car can keep your stomach from growing as you wait for your Shenandoah roadside repair driver to show up.

But it’s also important to stay nourished in an emergency. Go with food that will keep without refrigeration, such as nuts, granola bars or dried fruit.

5 – Keeping warm

Having warm clothing and blankets in your car can be a literal lifesaver if you’re stranded during cold weather without a functioning heater. It can be one of the most important emergency items to keep in your car. If you live in a place with really cold winters, having a fleece blanket in your car can be invaluable.

6 – A spare tire

Every driver should have a spare tire, and the tools — a jack, wrench or tire iron — to fix it. But if you’ve never changed a tire before and feel uncertain, there’s no shame in calling your local Shenandoah roadside repair service to take care of this problem.

And while we’ve advised against making car repairs on your own when you’ve had a breakdown, it can’t hurt to have some tools with you, along with things like antifreeze, oil and a scraper and shovel for wintry weather.

7 – Flares

We can’t choose where we have to pull over if our car breaks down. We might be able to pull into a well-lit parking lot in a busy suburb, but we could just as easily end up on a winding, narrow-shouldered country road.

That’s why it’s important to let other drivers see you. You should always put your emergency blinkers on, but setting up some flares will go a long way to keeping you and other drivers safe.

8 – Jumper cables

Just like a spare tire, jumper cables are a must-have for your car in case your battery dies. Attach them to the positive and negative battery terminals of another car and you’ll be back on the road.

This is a situation where calling a Shenandoah roadside repair service can help, as we can’t always count on someone to pull over and help.

Shenandoah Roadside Repair Service

An unexpected breakdown can leave us feeling scared and alone, but Shenandoah Towing and Recovery is here to help.

We’ve cultivated a reputation for quick and reliable service, whether you need light towing, vehicle recovery or roadside repair service, with a fleet driven by professional, CDL-certified staff. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

 

 

How Can I Choose a Towing and Recovery Company?

woman stressed at car breakdown - roadside recovery concept image

How do you choose the right towing and recovery company? No one gets through life with a completely uneventful driving record.

Even if we never get pulled over for speeding or ticketed for parking at an expired meter, chances are we’ll find ourselves behind the wheel of a vehicle that breaks down.

And when that happens, we’ll need to find a reliable service to provide towing and recovery. Shenandoah County residents, ask yourself these questions when searching for a new towing service.

1 – Do they do what I need them to do?

Not every towing company is the same. Some focus solely on recovering and transporting vehicles, while others can provide roadside assistance. As you examine different Shenandoah County towing and recovering companies, check their list of services to make sure they’ll do what you need them to do.

2 – Do they go where I need them to go?

Make sure the towing company you’re interested in has a service area that overlaps with the area where you live/work/do most of your driving.

3 – What will the towing and recovery company charge?

Towing companies should be able to give you an estimate of what it would cost to tow your vehicle to a repair shop — theirs or another mechanic — compared to towing your vehicle back home.

Expecting rock-bottom prices AND great service in one package might be too good to be true, so look for a towing company that meets your budget and has a reputation for good service. And that brings us to the next question…

4 – What do other people say about them?

Nearly every business these days has online reviews. Find out what past customers had to say about the towing companies you’re considering. Take the time to read the reviews to look for specific details that explain how the company came through for their customers (or left them in a lurch).

Shenandoah County Towing and Recovery Company

The idea of getting stuck somewhere without a working car can be scary. Fortunately, Shenandoah Towing & Recovery is ready to assist motorists in the Shenandoah County area 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

From sedans to compacts to SUVs to motorcycles, our towing and recovery company offers short and long towing for personal and business vehicles.

Some of our services include:

  • Light and medium towing
  • Winch out (retrieving vehicles and equipment that are stuck)
  • Pick and drops
  • Automobile and truck roll-overs
  • Automobile and truck stabilization
  • Broken down vehicles
  • Light and medium duty roadside repair
  • Water recovery for cars, trucks and equipment
  • Off-road recovery

Do you have further questions about towing and recovery? Shenandoah Towing is ready to answer. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

DIY Towing and Why You Shouldn’t Attempt It

Car being towed - Towing service concept image

Repairing your own leaky faucet, learning to change your own oil, doing your own taxes. These are all things we are encouraged to learn if we want to save money on basic services. There’s certainly a DIY spirit to all of these things and we would even recommend you to learn them for the sake of it. Many people get the idea that they can translate this DIY spirit to towing vehicles. After all, many people own trucks that have powerful engines that are designed to tow whatever you’ve hitched. Of those things hitched that Ford, Chevy, or Dodge designed for, we can tell you that cars were not one of them!

DIY Towing is Risky and Can Damage Your Other Vehicle

Towing is a service unto itself. There are many different vehicles of different sizes, dimensions, weight, etc. Having the proper equipment to tow all of these different vehicles is part of what makes a Towing and Recovery company like Shenandoah worth their salt. We provide specialized services to help people recover their vehicles from sometimes hard to reach spots. One of the ways that this is facilitated is through using special connectors if required.

If all that was needed was some rope and hitching, then towing companies would not be as in demand as they are. The fact of the matter is, DIY towing is not something people should attempt because it can cause extensive damage to one or both vehicles. I think we’ve all seen a few funny videos online where the entire front or rear bumper gets ripped off when someone attempts to tow something. You probably would not have the same reaction when if it were to happen to you! We also would not want that to happen to you.

Fear of Mishandled Property Makes People Hesitant to Tow

It is strange, some folk would rather attempt to tow their own vehicle and potentially damage both vehicles rather than letting a professional towing company do it. In other words, many people believe that the towing process is sloppy or that precautions are not taken to prevent your vehicle from being dinked, scratched, or otherwise damaged in some way during the recovery process.

A tow company is completely specialized in getting your vehicle to a shop or other location safely and unharmed, so this fear is unfounded. The risk for damage to your vehicle is much, much higher when attempting DIY towing.

Driving While Towing is Completely Different

The requirements vary per state, but driving with a load requires different licensure to establish that you are a qualified and safe driver who is trained in driving with heavy loads. While most cases of a truck towing another small vehicle can fall under regular use of your standard driver’s license, the fact of the matter is that as the load size increases, so too does required certifications.

While you won’t be towing huge loads, it still doesn’t change the fact that driving with a load is completely different than unencumbered. You have to account for less acceleration, greater braking times, and being aware of the extra vehicle length and sway that accompanies towing. Many people are not well-practiced in this and it is a road and safety hazard to attempt it without practice.

Towing and Recovery Shenandoah County

Professional towers know how to hitch a load safely and with little risk of damage, then transport that load safely with a tow truck that is specialized for hitching heavy loads. Most importantly, all of our drivers are highly qualified and have years of experience on the road.

Shenandoah Towing and Recovery was founded on hard work, faith, and a desire to help our fellow neighbors. Contact us today if you have any questions about our many services.