Roadside Assistance: Roadside Solutions and When to Tow

If you’ve ever been in a roadside emergency, you understand the stress involved, especially if you’re in a company fleet vehicle. You’re stranded on the side of the road, not sure how to fix the vehicle, and most likely, you’re on a tight schedule.

Feelings of anxiety build while you sit there, nervous from a combination of factors. You don’t want to be late, your safety is at risk, and you’re concerned about disappointing the company you work for.

Regardless of what the issue is, the number one priority is your safety and fast arrival to a solution. Just to make sure you’re prepared, let’s look at roadside repair situations and towing situations where a shop is required.

Roadside Repair Solutions

The ideal outcome is a quick roadside remedy that gets you back on the road momentarily in roadside repair situations. Sometimes it might look like hope is lost, but you’d be surprised at what a quality roadside technician can accomplish. The following situations can be fixed on the shoulder, making your next stop the location you originally planned for instead of a local shop.

1. Refuel

This is a classic roadside assistance situation. The problem doesn’t have to be complicated or even require repairs at all.

On long trips, it’s easy to let your fuel level slip your mind for a little bit. Passing a fuel station when you’re low is understandable. Roadside techs are equipped with diesel tanks to get you going to the next service station.

2. Tire Blowout

If a tire blows out, it can be scary. It’s important to stay focused get to the shoulder as soon as possible. A good fleet service company has access to new or used tires in order to get you back on the road.

3. Add Fluids

Sometimes when a vehicle doesn’t run efficiently or shows signs of malfunction, it could be something simple like the fluids. Roadside service trucks carry a variety of fluids that allow a technician to top off low fluid levels.

4. Lockouts

Lockouts are another non-repair situation. They can also be a little more embarrassing than most. Locking yourself out of a vehicle does require a technician, but it doesn’t take much time.

If a roadside service truck is close, you can be back on the road in a half hour or less. Don’t attempt to fix your lockout situation. You don’t want to foot the bill for a busted window or any other damaged component!

5. Alternator

Sometimes you may think your problem is a dead battery, but it can actually be the alternator.

An alternator is fairly simple to install on most vehicle models. You probably didn’t assume alternator repairs were on the list of roadside repairs!

6. Overheating Issue

Sometimes a belt replacement can fix an overheating vehicle. In certain cases, coolant may need to be added to the radiator or reservoir to remedy an overheating vehicle.

Certain sensors can cause this issue as well. Regardless of the cause, normally, an overheating vehicle can be fixed roadside with a few standard tools, coolant, or another simple component.

7. Brakes

Have you ever had your brakes changed on the side of the road? A good fleet service knows exactly how it’s done.

A technician needs a jack, a few socket wrench extensions, a screwdriver, and brake fluid to change brake pads.

8. Fuel Filter

You probably didn’t expect this one. If a fuel filter is located in line and not within the tank, a filter can be replaced fairly quickly. The technician just needs the part number and may even have the component in stock.

Fleet service companies keep a note of the year, make, and model of the vehicles used. Logging this information allows them to keep certain parts in stock or know what to order from a local parts house.

Issues That Require Towing

The good news is the list of issues that require towing is much shorter than that of roadside repair abilities!

1. Transmission Issues

If a transmission is out and needs to be repaired or replaced, your vehicle will need to be towed to a local shop. A transmission repair is an intricate, detailed job that requires a large variety of tools and isn’t safe to complete roadside.

The car or truck will also need to be placed on a lift. Special equipment that lifts or supports transmissions is also required. A transmission usually has to be ordered as well. Parts that large are usually not kept on hand.

2. Engine/Blown Head Gasket

This is another job that is too large to be completed on the side of the road. A blown head gasket requires many working parts to be removed from the engine block. Sometimes this can be a time-consuming repair.

Specific parts need to be ordered, and sometimes in severe cases, the gasket can’t be repaired. A new engine has to be ordered in these cases, and the job completion could take days.

3. Clutch Repair

Although a simple clutch adjustment can be made roadside, a more extensive clutch repair requires the removal of several different components. In some makes and models, as many as ten different parts need to be removed before replacing the clutch.

The prep work required to replace the clutch is too extensive for roadside work. This time-consuming job must be left in the hands of an auto shop.

Remaining Safe During an Emergency Roadside Situation

Use this guide to ensure your safety during any roadside emergency.

  • Take action immediately, time is of the essence. Contact the owner or manager of the company and inform them of the issue. You must get this service in motion so you can be safely removed from the side of the road as quickly as possible. Having a go-to roadside assistance contact is always a good idea
  • Be as descriptive as possible when contacting company representatives for your company and the roadside assistance company. If you have an address to a close location, provide that to whoever you speak with on the phone. Sometimes an address isn’t always available. The next best thing is to use mile markers and visual markers to describe your location. Explain the extent of the issue as best you can.
  • Preserve as much of your cell phone battery as possible and try to conserve the vehicle battery (assuming it’s not dead). You never know when you might need the last bit of power the vehicle has or the last bit of battery on your cell phone.

Remember to remain calm and keep yourself composed. With a good fleet service, help will be there momentarily to get you back on the road.

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