Tow it in or Drive it in? –Ask Jon Chartier

In this month’s ask Jon, I’ll be talking about whether you should drive your car or have it towed when it is in need of repairs. The two major contributing factors to this decision are safety concerns and or causing damage to the vehicle by driving it.

From time to time, we see cars driven to our facility that should have been towed. Sometimes what could have been a simple issue is compounded just by driving the car to the shop! Running the engine when it is overheating or low on critical fluids causes engine and mechanical component damage that can run in the hundreds or thousands to repair.

The dashboard indicators play a crucial role in the decision to drive the car in or tow it. Most vehicles now have indicators for critical fluid levels. If the engine coolant or oil is low, you will be warned by these indicators. Also, if the temperature gauge is high or a warning light is on, you should not drive. You should, however, be aware that not all vehicles have these warning lights.

For the most part, everyone is in tune with how their car should sound. If it is making an unusual noise like a grind, scrape or knocking sound, you should be concerned. The other critical factor is safety. If the car doesn’t stop properly, if the steering is binding, there is inadequate power, or you have loose suspension or components, these are all reasons to call a tow truck. Your safety and the safety of other people on the road is a major concern. We always tell people to have the vehicle towed if any of these items are in question.

A simple phone call to your repair shop is a great way get help in this decision. All repair shops have towing companies they will suggest. My advice to anyone that owns a vehicle is to join a roadside assistance program. A lot of people don’t realize many insurance companies and even cell phone companies have programs available to their customers. These clubs will be able assist you in towing the car, if you run out of fuel and even if you lock your keys inside. It is always best to have your car towed if you have any doubt whatsoever.

If you have any questions about your car or comments about this column please feel free to contact me. And, as always, if you’re in the neighborhood, feel free to stop by Garry’s and say hello!!!

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