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Auto Maintenance: Choosing One Repair Shop

One of the things I learned from my dad is that it pays to find a good auto repair shop and stick with it. True enough, I have tried using more than one shop, based on what I needed done to my car. Every time, I found myself going back to one shop that knew my car and the car's history. I had found that shop not too long ago. They had offered help with everything from rebuilding engines to dent repair. The shop is located near my home, and they keep records that went back for years. Thanks to the long history, they always knew what to do when something was not working as it should. If you think that finding one shop to meet all your needs is a good idea, let me help. With a little effort, you'll know exactly where to take your vehicle any time it needs some work.


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Auto Maintenance: Choosing One Repair Shop

Should You Try To Tow Your Car Out Of A Snowy Ditch?

by Noelle Snyder

Driving on snow, ice, or wet pavement can be challenging even for the seasoned driver—in fact, more than 1.2 million car crashes per year (or around 22 percent of all crashes) are weather-related. If you're one of the many Americans who finds your vehicle hurtling nose-first toward a snowbank during a blustery winter day, you may be wondering the safest (and least expensive) way to extricate yourself from this unpleasant situation. Read on to learn more about when it is possible for a Good Samaritan to tow your vehicle from a ditch using only a winch or chain, as well as a few situations in which professional towing services may be necessary. 

Is it a good idea to rely on passersby to help tow your car out of a ditch or snowbank?

Many vehicles that don't have four-wheel drive (4WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) have difficulty extricating themselves from even small ditches if there isn't enough traction for the front or back tires to grip the roadway. You may find yourself in a frustrating situation in which your vehicle is barely even off the road, but isn't going anywhere. You may be tempted by offers of help from fellow drivers with a towing hitch, winch, or just some strong rope and a 4WD or AWD vehicle. 

In many cases, this help is all you'll need to be safely on your way. A few burly assistants may be able to "rock" or push your car out of the ditch or snowbank as you press the accelerator. You may also be able to hook your car or truck up to a towing chain and be easily pulled from the ditch back onto the road by another vehicle.

However, these options aren't right for all vehicles. Many late-model cars don't have an easy place to attach a towing chain—and placing the chain on a weak area of your undercarriage could cause significant damage to your vehicle. Unless there's a dedicated metal hook or other contact area below your front fender, self-towing can be a risky proposition.

When should you call a professional?

If your vehicle seems operational, it usually doesn't hurt to at least investigate the possibility of having it pulled out by a Good Samaritan. However, if you find yourself trying to attach a chain to a plastic part of your undercarriage or are afraid your vehicle will slip sideways and injure someone trying to push you out of the ditch, you'll want to contact a towing company. These companies have special equipment that can be used to safely and easily extricate your vehicle from just about any snowy situation. In some cases, towing services may even be covered by your auto insurance policy.