Let’s talk emergencies. You’ve broken down or the car won’t start and you need to get the car towed. This is everyone’s nightmare (even mine), however you’re not completely stressed out because you’ve prepaid for a towing service (and if you haven’t and you do have an older car then DO SO IMMEDIATELY). You are so proud of yourself, you fish out the towing insurance card and you make the call. The tow truck arrives and of course “he’s a mechanic and knows exactly what’s wrong with the car” and insists you need to tow it to his shop. One small problem, he’s probably NOT a mechanic, he’s probably guessing, AND he’s being paid by that shop (if he’s a private vendor) or he works for that shop. This doesn’t mean that you should follow his lead and let him tow you. If I had a lug nut for every time one of my customers got towed to some random shop and then got taken advantage of, I’d have a hernia from carrying that heavy bucket around.

Now I’m not suggesting that you don’t use that free tow, of course pick up that phone and get that tow truck on their way but while you’re waiting, start doing some research about where you want the car towed to. If it is to your regular mechanic, by all means insist on that. If you’re out of your area go online and do some research (even if you have to call a friend and have them look it up online). Call the shop of your choice and explain that you’ve broken down and ask how quickly the turn around might be, if it’s acceptable then you tell that driver where YOU want to go. The tow truck driver might try to convince you that MUST go the shop that is connected to his truck but this is NOT TRUE so just insist on going to where you want to and that it’s covered under your policy (there’s usually a mileage stipulation). Just remember, you’re in charge and don’t let them convince you otherwise!

Questions: dontgetwrenched@gmail.com

About dontgetwrenched

Elayne Kling, was the owner of a downtown Manhattan auto repair shop for 25 years and recently in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, www.ZPAUTO.com. Elayne knows the particular ins and outs of the auto repair world and keeps up her blog because people will always need help navigating the potential pitfalls of that world. Due to the crazy NYC real estate market she has since closed down her shop and started a new business called Projects Unlimited Inc., helping other small businesses. www.projectsunlimitedinc.com
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