What You Need to Know About Flat Tires

What You Need to Know About Flat TiresIn this article by Parker Towing in Colorado we explain what you need to know about flat tires. A flat tire can happen unexpectedly at any time and for any number of reasons. Knowing what to do if it happens to you can be a great benefit and even save you money in the long run.

Don’t Drive on a Flat Tire

First things first, if your tire goes flat do NOT try to continue driving your vehicle. Many people may think that it’s okay to forego a calling for a tow and instead driving slowly to the nearest repair shop, but it’s not a great strategy.

A flat tire doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to buy a new tire. Often, flats are caused by small punctures from a nail or screw that can inexpensively be repaired without having to fork out the extra cash for a new one. However, if you keep driving on a low-pressure tire, you can end up causing more extensive damage that will require a whole new tire.

The improper pressure on the sidewalls can cause them to rupture and if you keep driving long enough that the tire breaks apart the flailing pieces can cause costly damage to other nearby important parts of the car. For example, brakes, rotors, calipers, or parts of the suspension, can be damaged, putting you in danger of an accident because the car does not respond correctly.

Call a Tow Truck, or Put on your Spare

So, if you can’t drive your car, what should you do? If you have a spare tire available, and the know-how to change it correctly a good option is to change the tire out for your spare. Keep in mind that spare tires are usually not replacement tires and you should only use it to get your vehicle to a tire repair center. Don’t drive your car for an extended period using a spare.

If you don’t have a spare or don’t know how to change it, the other option is to call Parker Towing here in Parker and serving Lone Tree, Aurora, Littleton, Castle Rock, Centennial, Franktown, Elizabeth and Highlands Ranch. Keep our phone number handy and give us a call, we will be happy to help. Our fast, friendly service will get you and your vehicle safely to a reputable tire repair center quickly so you can get back on the road again as soon as possible.

Avoid a Flat

There are a few simple things that you can do to avoid a flat in the first place. Be sure that your tires are properly inflated and are maintaining the correct inflation pressure, have them rotated and inspected regularly, keep them properly aligned and maintain responsible driving habits.

We hope this article has helped you learn what you need to know about flat tires. Following the advice offered here will help you avoid a flat but if you do find yourself in this unfortunate predicament and don’t have a spare tire on hand, then just give us a call here at Parker Towing.

Four Great Reasons to Visit Parker, Colorado

Four Great Reasons to Visit Parker, ColoradoIn case you’re looking for a new adventure, here are four great reasons to visit Parker, Colorado brought to you by the Parker Towing team of friendly towing professionals. We are a family-owned and operated towing company that’s been offering our top-notch services since 1984. We’ve got your back should you run into any car troubles during your visit to our beloved town or the surrounding areas.

Awesome Microbrewery

In Parker’s industrial zone, Elk Mountain Brewery proudly offers free tastings of their trademark brews. Once you find your favorite, you can buy a case or two or few to take home with you. Even if you or someone in your party doesn’t drink alcohol, you can still participate in tasting the company’s locally brewed root beer. For more information, check them out their website here.

Great Hiking and Biking Trails

Get out and enjoy the great outdoors on one of the many trails that Parker boasts. There are about 12 miles of paved trails that offer access to some of Parker’s most scenic areas. Everything is kept up nicely and maintained by Parker’s Recreation Department.

The trails can be utilized by hikers, bikers, joggers and even horseback riders in certain areas. Not only are the trails well-maintained but there is also trailhead parking available in various locations as well as bathrooms and picnic areas. We make it easy to spend a relaxing afternoon enjoying nature’s beauty! You can find more information here.

Quaint Country Market

For those of you that enjoy browsing through an interesting and diverse inventory of items, the Parker Country Market is just for you! You can find all sorts of items ranging from antiques to jewelry to metal sculptures and Mexican pottery. The inventory is always changing due to high turnover so there is always something new and exciting to see. Check out their website for more information or just head down there ASAP to find some awesome hidden treasure!

Interesting Historical Sites

Of course, Parker has a rich Native American (First Nation) history as tribes hunted in this area for centuries. The first settlement of white men wasn’t founded until 1863, but there is plenty to see.

You can find the Parker Area Historical Society in an old schoolhouse in downtown Parker. The public can visit on Saturday mornings to see a variety of interesting ancient artifacts and learn about the area’s history. You can also check out the many historical sites on your own with information from the society’s website. Most of them are easily accessible and even viewable directly from a road, so they aren’t hard to find or access.

We hope these four great reasons to visit Parker, Colorado has inspired you to come and check out our town. As proud business owners of Parker Towing and longtime residents of the area, Parker and its people are near and dear to our hearts. Of course, if you have any car troubles here in Parker or while passing through on other adventures, simply call us for fast and professional towing services.

A Day in the Life of a Tow Truck Driver

A Day in the Life of a Tow Truck DriverEver wondered about a day in the life of a tow truck driver? Today, the staff at Parker Towing gives you a peek into our operations. As you know, tow truck drivers can be both the hero, rescuing people from the side of the road, or the villain, hauling off illegally parked vehicles. This variety of reactions when we arrive at the scene can be both rewarding and frustrating, but we’re passionate about what we do and helping people out when they find themselves stranded.

So, what do we do all day? Do we just sit around waiting for someone to call and have need of their services? Or do we “patrol” areas with the idea of being close by when needed? 

Heavy Machinery

A day in the life of a tow truck driver comes with a variety of responsibilities. The first and most obvious is learning to properly operate the heavy machinery used to move heavy vehicles from one place to another. Improperly handling this machinery can lead to serious injury so this step is, of course, crucial. 

Minor Mechanics

They also serve as minor mechanics. Sometimes, when you have a simple issue that doesn’t require being in a garage to fix, like a flat tire or dead battery, drivers can resolve your problem right there on the side of the road without having to haul your car anywhere. That is a sweet relief on the pocketbook and also takes up a lot less time. Our primary goal, after all, is to get you safely on the road again.

Clean-up Crew

When collisions leave damaged vehicles blocking traffic, tow truck drivers serve as the cleanup crew. Once the police and EMTs have performed their duties, tow truck drivers move in to get everything cleaned up and traffic flowing smoothly again.

Office Work

Even though much of their time is spent on the road, there is still a fair amount of paperwork that’s included throughout the day in the life of a tow truck driver. When impounding cars that have been illegally parked, the tow truck company is responsible for finding the owner and notifying them where their vehicle is and how to retrieve it. If they are picking up a vehicle involved in an accident that the police are investigating, the driver takes the vehicle to their evidence or salvage yard.

Many times, small tow truck companies offer their dedicated services to companies. Whenever receiving a call from one of these companies to collect an illegally parked or abandoned vehicle, the driver must fill out a report before leaving the office.

In short, a day in the life of a tow truck driver isn’t as mundane as you may have thought and we get to enjoy at least a little bit of variety within the job description. If you have any more questions about the services that we offer here at Parker Towing, feel free to contact us, and one of our staff will be happy to answer all your questions or send out one of our friendly, professional drivers.

Never Ignore a Blinking Check Engine Light

Never Ignore a Blinking Check Engine LightAt Parker Towing Inc. we recommend that you never ignore a blinking check engine light, as you could end up causing extensive damage to the vehicle, and even worse, wind up stranded on the side of the road. Sometimes people are hesitant to have their car checked when the check engine light comes on because they think it’s not a big a deal and hope it will just go away on its own. And if they anticipate a costly repair bill, some people just want to put it off as long as possible. Not a great plan.

There are several reasons that a check engine light can come on. Sometimes it’s an easy, inexpensive fix and sometimes it does end up costing more money. But it is always better to get it taken care of sooner rather than later as the check engine light sometimes serves as a warning that something pretty bad is happening inside your engine. If you take action right away, there’s a chance to avoid complete disaster and having to call us to come out and give you a tow – we are available 24/7 nonetheless.

A Steady Check Engine Light vs. Blinking

There’s typically a big difference between a steady and blinking check engine light. When it begins to flash, a situation is occurring in your engine that could possibly damage your catalytic converter, a very expensive and important component. This is why you never ignore a blinking check engine light. With that light flashing, you will likely notice that the car is performing differently.

As soon as you safely can, pull over, turn your engine off and give us a call for a tow. We service Parker, Lone Tree, Aurora, Littleton, Castle Rock, Centennial, Franktown, Elizabeth, Highlands Ranch. Now, if you decide to “limp” home, you could be looking at hundreds even thousands of dollars to replace a catalytic converter depending on the car you drive. Hopefully, that puts the cost of towing into perspective.

Here’s What’s Causing the Blinking Light

In most cases, the actual cause of the problem and the cost for repair is far less catastrophic than if you let it reach your catalytic converter. By getting a tow and immediate repairs, you’ll likely avoid such an expensive fix. So, take a look at this list of what might be causing the check engine light to blink:

  • Engine valves have gone bad
  • A spark plug has gone out
  • A spark plug wire is not functioning properly
  • The engine computer has failed
  • The fuel injector is malfunctioning
  • The ignition coil has failed

 

Now that you understand why you should never ignore a blinking check engine light, be sure to keep our number handy in case this happens. One of the friendly staff members from Parker Towing will quickly and efficiently get your car safely to a repair shop. Remember, even if you think you’re close enough to keep driving to a shop, the cost of a new catalytic converter will outweigh our reasonable towing prices. It’s better to be safe than sorry (and broke)!

Tips to Avoid a Car Break Down This Summer

Tips to Avoid a Car Break Down This SummerHere at Parker Towing, our experts wanted to pass along a few quick tips to avoid a car break down this summer. Nobody wants to get stuck on the side of the road due to car troubles, especially if you’re on a fun summer outing or road trip. Just keeping in mind and inspecting a few simple things can help you to avoid the most common car issues and keep your car engine running smoothly.

Fluid Levels

Just as with the human body, a car engine needs a good level of all its fluids to function properly. They should also be fresh and clean. Be sure to check the fluids regularly including engine oil, transmission, power steering, brake, cooling system and washer fluids. If they are slightly low, top them off and if they look dirty, or the recommended time has passed, change them out for fresh fluid.

Don’t Let It Overheat

Particularly in hot areas, overheating is one of the leading causes of preventable breakdowns. An overheated engine is also extremely expensive, and preventative maintenance beforehand is much cheaper. Once your antifreeze gets to be a couple of years old, replace it. You can also add a coolant to your radiator that can lower the engine’s temperature by 30 degrees. Always keep a close eye on the temperature gauge, especially when it’s scorching out, and immediately stop if you see it climbing an unusual amount.

Oil Upgrade

High-performance synthetic oils are better at dispersing heat than mineral-based motor oils and thus are another way to help keep your engine cooler. The few extra dollars that you have to spend on high-quality oil are really worth it in comparison to an engine blowing up and needing to call for a tow. 

Check Belts and Hoses

Get in the habit of inspecting your belts and hoses every time you check the fluid levels. Any belts or hoses that are loose, or harder or softer than normal, or have visible signs of wear should be replaced immediately. Also, don’t forget to check the hose clamps to make sure they are tight and not cracking or showing signs of corrosion.

Inflate your Tires Properly

You can check on the side of your tire for the proper pressure level that your particular tires should have. Then check all your tires, including the spare, to ensure that they are at the right air pressure levels. A properly inflated tire not only helps with getting good gas mileage but is less likely to blow out, and will generally live longer – saving you money in the process.

If you follow all these tips to avoid a car break down this summer, it’s much less likely that you’ll get stuck on the side of the road with car trouble. Of course, it’s sometimes unavoidable. And if you ever find yourself stuck, just give us a call. Our professionals here at Parker Towing are friendly and will do their best to make your day a little better by taking care of both you and your vehicle.

What to Do and Not Do While Waiting for a Tow Truck

What to Do and Not Do While Waiting for a Tow TruckIf your car is stuck near Parker, Colorado, first call Parker Towing. Then remember this list of what to do and not do while waiting for a tow truck. Whether mechanical failure or even an accident, you will probably have to wait for help to arrive. Depending on your proximity to the tow truck company, or even how busy the day is for the tow truck company, knowing this information will help you stay safe.

What to Do

  • Get out of the road. If you are still able to move your vehicle, it’s a good idea to get it off the road as much as possible, especially if you are blocking traffic. Of course, other drivers will slow down or stop if they see a car blocking the road, but that only works if they see it in time. Your window of safety closes quickly in inclement weather or on an icy road. Better to get your vehicle as much out of the way as possible, even if you have to push it by hand.
  • Turn on the hazard lights. Even if it’s still light out and you think that other drivers can easily see what is going on, do everything you can to warn them, including turning on the hazard lights. Again, that doesn’t guarantee that other drivers will see you in time–but it does help quite a bit.
  • Get out of harm’s way. Depending on the location of your vehicle, it could be safer for you to stay inside with your seatbelt on, or get out and remain a safe distance off the road. Be very careful, watching for cars, and position yourself so that you are out of harm’s way.

 

What Not to Do

  • Don’t flag down a ride. Most people that stop to offer you a ride probably have pure intentions and do want to help, but not everyone. Help is already on the way, so you don’t need a ride. It’s best to stay where you are and wait for the professionals to arrive.
  • Don’t forget about your stuff. If you decide to wait outside your car, it’s a good idea to take your purse, wallet, cell phone, insurance information, and anything else of value with you. This will guarantee that you don’t lose your stuff. Even if you decide to wait in the car, be sure to gather your things while waiting, so it is with you at all times.
  • Don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Don’t ever step out of your vehicle into traffic. Your safety is worth more than whatever you might be trying to do. Even if the road looks clear, remember that traffic can be coming at you at incredibly high speeds.

Now that you know what to do and not do while waiting for a tow truck, we hope you stay safe! Of course, Parker Towing is always here to help with 24/7 roadside assistance in Castle Rock, Aurora, Lone Tree, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Franktown, Elizabeth.

Stuck In My Car During A Blizzard

What do I do if I'm stuck in my car during a blizzard?Have you ever asked yourself “what do I do if I’m stuck in my car during a blizzard?” Do you know the answer to that question? As long-time business owners and members of the Denver area community, here at Parker Towing Inc., we want to make sure that our neighbors know what to do in this situation. This knowledge is potentially life-saving. 

Survival Kit

The first step to surviving a blizzard in a car is to be prepared beforehand. It doesn’t take up much space in the back of your vehicle to have a few items always on hand anytime you will engage in winter driving. Grab a duffel and fill it with the following items:

  • Sleeping bag or blankets
  • Extra warm clothes such as coats, hats, gloves, boots, fuzzy socks
  • Even just a few granola bars can at least hold you over until the storm stops or help comes. Just be sure you don’t snack on them without refilling or let items expire
  • A couple of bottles of water or a metal container in which you can melt snow
  • Candles and matches to provide a little heat and some light, plus a way to melt snow
  • Flashlight & signal light
  • A small or foldable shovel to dig out your tailpipe or vehicle

It doesn’t take much to have these things on hand at all times, and if you ever get stuck in your car in a blizzard, you won’t be able to thank yourself enough. They can even mean the difference between life and death depending on how long you are stuck there (and how cold it gets). 

Survival Steps

Now that you’re prepared, you should also know what to do. If you get stuck in the snow and you don’t see any buildings nearby it’s best to stay in your car. Wandering around in the middle of a snowstorm is the last thing you should do. Next steps:

  • Check your tailpipe to ensure that exhaust can freely escape and carbon monoxide is not building up inside your car – use your shovel to clear snow
  • Don’t leave your car running continuously for heat, even with constantly checking the tailpipe you still risk carbon monoxide buildup and the last thing you want is to run out of gas
  • Bundle up in your extra clothes and do a few exercises inside the vehicle every so often to help keep yourself warm
  • Make sure to stay hydrated as that will help you keep warm – if you don’t have bottled water in the car, use your candles to melt some snow
  • Turn on your hazard lights or put out some roadside flares so other drivers can see you

Now that you know what to do if you’re stuck in your car during a blizzard, the only thing left is what happens afterward. Once the snow clears a bit, and there is better visibility, you may be able to proceed on your own. However, as is often the case with blizzards, your car may be too buried to get it out on your own. In that case, just call the friendly professionals here at Parker Towing to get you back on the road again safely. Be safe out there everyone!

Guide to Safe Winter Driving Checklist

Guide to Safe Winter Driving ChecklistThe professionals at Parker Towing offer this handy guide to safe winter driving checklist because winter driving doesn’t have to be dangerous or scary. It’s all about being adequately prepared for what may happen and knowing what to check before heading out in your vehicle. Ultimately, it can mean the difference between ending up stranded on the side of the road and safely arriving at your destination.

It’s a good idea to get yourself into the habit of checking many of the automotive items listed below whenever you head out driving, especially for a long road trip. However, during the winter it is even more important as what could be a rather minor annoyance in the summer can quickly turn into a major problem when there is snow and ice on the ground up in Colorado’s mountains. Even the fact that you may have to deal with car trouble when it is freezing cold is annoying enough.

Avoid ending up in an unpleasant situation by going through this quick and easy auto checklist before heading out on the road.

  • Windshield wiper fluid: is there enough? Is it still liquid?
  • Heater/Defroster: The heater is indispensable for comfort and the defroster for the windows.
  • Wiper blade antifreeze: without it, you might have fluid, but it still doesn’t come out.
  • Lights: all lights should always be in good working order.
  • Fuel System and Full Tank of Gas: a no brainer. You should always have more gas than you think you will need.
  • Ignition: you want a car that starts when you turn the key.
  • Exhaust System: proper ventilation is important.
  • Tire Tread: particularly important for the vehicle to be able to maneuver ice and snow effectively.

This second checklist is a good list of items to have on hand in case there is a roadside emergency. Being prepared for the worst will give you a huge advantage in a situation of urgency. Be sure you always have these items in your vehicle.

  • Flare/Reflectors: use these to warn other drivers and to show that you need help.
  • Snow shovel: or anything that can be utilized effectively to remove snow
  • A battery or crank radio: in case you need to hear emergency broadcasts
  • A sleeping bag or survival blanket
  • Extra clothes: particularly things like a coat, hat, boots, gloves, etc.
  • Those handy little hand warmers
  • First Aid Kit
  • At least a gallon of water and some non-perishable food
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire chains plus a tow strap
  • Kitty litter that doesn’t clump or sand, for better traction
  • Extra paper or cloth towels for cleaning
  • You can even throw in a deck of cards or a board game in case of a long wait

If you have any questions about anything in this guide to safe winter driving checklist, feel free to call us here at Parker Towing. We are a family owned and operated business and we are dedicated to taking care of you and your family the way we would ours. And while we hope you won’t ever be in a situation where you need our services, we’re just a phone call away if you do.

Understanding Colorado Towing Laws

Understanding Colorado Towing LawsFor car owners, understanding Colorado towing laws is important. Nobody wants to be taken advantage of by a shady towing company. Unfortunately, few drivers know what protections are available to them. Parker Towing Inc. wants to familiarize our customers and neighbors with the laws that are in place to protect you from unscrupulous companies looking to make easy money.

You know that you shouldn’t leave your car in a no parking zone, but just about everyone does it once in a while. So, if you decide to leave your car where you shouldn’t and don’t make it back as quickly as you thought, you might come back to the unpleasant sight of your vehicle being hooked up to a truck and on its way out – or maybe it’s already gone altogether.

Most of the time when a tow truck company picks up a car, they’re within their rights. However, there are protocols that the company must follow. Read through this list of laws so that if you find yourself in a sticky situation, understanding Colorado towing laws can help you protect yourself and your wallet. 

Nonconsensual Towing

Colorado has laws governing what a towing company can charge for a non-consensual tow, which is the type of tow that happens when you leave your car in a no parking zone. The maximum they can charge is $160 not including fuel and mileage surcharges or storage fees. Those fees are capped as well at $2.60 for fuel and $3.80 per mile (with a 12 mile maximum) and $30 a day for storage – all of which are for a vehicle under 10,000 pounds. So, you’re looking at about $240 max if you retrieve your car on day one. 

Credit Cards

This is a newer law, but it is in effect. Previously, towing companies did not have to accept credit cards and didn’t like doing it because of the possibility that a disgruntled car owner might attempt to reverse charges through their credit card company. However, Colorado law now requires that they accept credit cards as payment. If you get the cash only speech, don’t fall for it.

Drop Fees

This is imperative to know. If you arrive and discover that your car is about to be towed away, you might try to reason with the driver to not follow through on the tow now that you’re present. Some deceitful drivers will tell you that it’s too late and you’ll have to pick your car up from the tow yard later.

Colorado law, however, requires the company to give you the option of simply paying a drop fee (that has a maximum of $70). Many people don’t know that they can insist on this and end up with a whole lot more out of pocket expenses than just $70 – cash or credit card. 

Getting Permission

There have been many stories about towing companies fishing for cars to impound by driving through private lots, such as apartment building complexes, looking for vehicles that shouldn’t be there. This is not legal – in fact, they must have permission from the owner of a private lot before they can tow.

If you are unsure about any of this information and understanding Colorado towing laws, feel free to call us here at Parker Towing Inc., and one of our friendly representatives will be glad to help. And of course, if you ever find yourself stranded on the side of the road, we’re available to help 24.7.

Safe Driving Tips for Visitors to Colorado

Safe Driving Tips for Visitors to ColoradoSnow is just part of winter in our area of the country, and those native to Colorado have probably already had a fair amount of practice driving in it. However, Parker Towing Inc. would like to offer these safe driving tips for visitors to Colorado. We want everyone to enjoy a safe winter season, and these are good reminders even for experienced drivers.

  1. Slow down

Maybe it’s a pain, but leave a little early and give yourself more time. When there is snow on the ground, it is not the time to pull out your best Fast and Furious moves. They will only get you crash-landed in a ditch, or worse.

  1. Don’t overestimate SUVs

Many drivers think that SUVs are immune to problems in the snow and don’t drive them judiciously. Take the same precautions that you would in a car, or you will probably find yourself bottoms up as SUVs are very prone to rollovers.

  1. Don’t slam on the brakes

Slamming on the brakes is not helpful in a slide. With standard brakes, you should pump them gently and if you have good anti-lock brakes just hold a steady pressure.

  1. Black ice exists, and it is worse on bridges

Sometimes people disregard ice warnings because they can’t see it on the road. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. You may find it the hard way if you’re not driving carefully. Also, bridge warning signs aren’t just there to give a city worker a job. Bridges are slicker than the rest of the road, so take extra care with them.

  1. Don’t use your high beams

When visibility is low, it might feel natural to flip on the high beams to help you see. However, high beams just end up blinding you as the extra light is reflected back into your eyes by the white snow. It’s better just to use your low beams and slow down a bit more if you can’t see well.

  1. Don’t turn suddenly

Sudden moves are the best way to get yourself started into a skid. If you are unfamiliar with the area, then slow down to find the street you need to turn onto to get where you’re going. If you find it too late, don’t turn suddenly. Continue and turn around at the next safe spot. It will be better getting to your destination a little later than not getting there at all.

  1. Always be ready

On snowy, icy roads your vehicle can end up in a skid at almost any time. The best advice is to remain calm and try to steer into the direction you want to go. Use your brakes lightly or not at all until you have pulled out of the skid.

Of course, we prefer that everyone stay safe out on snowy roads. That’s why we have offered these safe driving tips for visitors to Colorado. However, if you do find yourself stuck in a ditch or with a crinkled car, you can always call the friendly professionals at Parker Towing Inc., and we will be there with a smile to help you out.