Our Current Blog Articles
April 24, 2018
Do I Need a Tow with a Check Engine Light On?
Do I need a tow with a check engine light on? That’s a good question. Today, Parker Towing provides the answer so that you can be prepared in the case of an emergency. And if the occasion arises, our towing team is ready to take action the moment you call for a check engine light issue or driving dilemma.
Many of us are not familiar with how the check engine light works. Let’s break it down and demystify the inner workings of the check engine light system. That way you’ll know when to call us for help.
Check Engine Light System
First off, what does the check engine light system actually do? Well, the on-board diagnostic (OBD) system operates the electronic control module (ECM), aka your car’s computer, which in turn monitors and controls the level of emissions allowable while the vehicle is operating. It continuously scans for any out-of-parameter operation, which is reported by a myriad of actuators and sensors including:
- Fuel injectors
- Air meter sensor
- Camshaft and crankshaft sensors
- Oxygen sensor
- EGR solenoids
- Evaporative emissions sensor
- Engine coolant sensor
- Canister purge solenoid
- Idle speed motor
- Fuel pump
- Idle air solenoid
When the computer senses something amiss, it first tries to remedy the problem or waits for a few cycles. If the computer cannot correct the problem, it will set a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) in the memory and turn the check engine light on.
Most Common Check Engine Light Causes:
- Engine mechanical problems
- Loosened electrical connections
- Loosened vacuum hoses
- Shredded vacuum hoses
- Broken wires
As you can see, the reasons for a check engine light can be numerous. Whether the indicator illuminates intermittently, continuously flashes, or stays illuminated is also another indicator of the severity of the issue at hand. Read on to determine if you need a tow with a check engine light on.
This indicates a problem that comes and goes. Called a soft failure, the problem is appearing only when specific conditions arise. An example of this is a loose wiring connection on a bumpy road. The best thing to do is get to your auto repair technician for diagnosis and most likely a relatively easy fix.
When the check engine light stays on this is a sign of a hard failure. The mass air flow sensor is dirty or failing and will need cleaning or replacement to work correctly. This situation is probably not severe enough to call a tow truck, but if ever in doubt, do not hesitate. Saving your vehicle from severe damage is always better than letting the problem spiral out of control.
This is a critical situation and continuing to drive may cause irreversible damage to the engine, exhaust system, or catalytic converter. This might happen due to a misfire, allowing fuel to pass into the exhaust manifold and catalytic converter. Here, high temperatures can ignite the fuel, not good. The sooner that you can stop driving and get your vehicle to a mechanic, the better. This is a good time to call for a tow truck, as the more you drive, the more you put your vehicle at risk for major failure.
Now that you’re more familiar with the check engine operating system, you’ll know when to request a tow with the check engine light on. Cue Parker Towing for fast, efficient towing services 24/7. We hope you’ll never need us, but we’re here if you do.
March 28, 2018
Want an Abandoned Vehicle Towed?
If you want an abandoned vehicle towed off of your property or nearby street, Parker Towing has the information you need. Abandoned cars can be a real eyesore, not to mention take up valuable parking spots. If the vehicle happens to be parked right in front of your house and has been there for a week or so, it’s certainly time to start asking around for the owner. Read on to learn how to address getting an abandoned vehicle towed, and Parker Towing will always be there when you need us.
It’s best to do your research and know the laws surrounding abandoned vehicles before calling for a tow, even provide a copy of the information if you do find the owner. It could just be that the vehicle owner does not know about abandonment laws had been planning to leave it there long term.
Check out local ordinances in regards to disabled vehicles. Disabled means that they are immobilized due to a lack of engine, doors, tires, and other equipment necessary for driving. Generally, ordinances required disabled vehicles to be enclosed, such as in a garage or behind a fence.
Check out your city and county websites to learn the exact rules. Another efficient way to get answers is to call up the city manager to determine what to do. Be sure to review and fully understand before proceeding with the abandoned vehicle claim and calling a tow company. If you reside in a condo or townhouse community with Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, then check those as well.
Remember, anyone can park their vehicle on public streets for up to 72 hours if they are observing all local vehicle codes and restrictions.
If you cannot find the owner, you may have to ask for help from your local police to get the vehicle towed. If the car is in bad shape, stripped or burned, with a lot of missing parts and looks worse for the wear, it very well may be abandoned, and you can call your local non-emergency police phone number.
When it’s time to report the vehicle abandoned to a tow company, be ready with the vehicle make and model, license plate if there is one, state, and exact location. The police will place a 24-hour warning tag on the vehicle in many cases, after first checking if the car has been reported stolen. After the period of 24 hours has passed, the city may have it towed, impounded, or dispose of in some way.
Sometimes a tenant will leave their unwanted vehicle parked and have no intention of reclaiming the car. The same procedure mentioned above applies in most cases. Be sure to follow all local laws and procedures to get the vehicle appropriately removed.
We hope your experience with the process goes well if you want an abandoned vehicle towed. The team at Parker Towing is here to help with thorough, professional towing services all across the Front Range. Call us the moment you need a tow, and we will get to you fast.
February 27, 2018
How to Get Your Car Out of Impound
Find out how to get your car out of impound with this guide from Parker Towing. Sometimes life takes you in challenging directions, so if your vehicle has been impounded for parking in tow-away zone, you are going to have to tackle the process getting it out. Each day that it sits there, your vehicle racking up more fees. So, before just showing up at the impound lot, be sure to have all of your ducks in a row.
Read on to learn how to get your car out of impound.
Find the Vehicle
Finding your vehicle can be the most challenging part. Start with the reason for the impound. If the car was impounded after an arrest, the police should give you the impound information. On the other hand, if your car was towed without your consent, that is much harder. If the vehicle was towed due to illegal parking, check the nearby signage to see who to contact about the towing or ask the closest business if they know. You can also call the city office and ask the clerk to see if your car was impounded.
The system takes a bit to update so give it some time, at least a few hours, to register and call back and ask if your towed vehicle is listed in their lot. If you have given the impound lots a thorough look, there is a chance that your vehicle was not towed, but stolen. You can notify the police of a stolen vehicle but be aware that you may discover it has just been impounded.
Pay the Fees
Whether your car was towed to a city or private lot, most impound lots charge daily, so the longer your vehicle sits there, the more expensive it will be for you to retrieve it. Impound fees vary, but it’s not cheap. If you are in a sticky situation, ask a friend or family member. If that is not an option, raise the money you need by selling something of value. If no other option remains, check out your local payday loan office – this should always be a last resort, payday loans come with steep charges.
Provide the Paperwork
Get paperwork in order as soon as possible. Also, don’t show up without everything you need or a ride to get back, just in case you don’t have sufficient documentation. You can even call the lot and ask:
- If your car was towed to their lot and hours of operation
- The exact amount owed on day of pick up
- Payment forms accepted, such as cash, credit, or check
- If proof of insurance needs to be printed or if you can show a digital format
- Precisely what other paperwork you will need to provide to get your vehicle out
- Fax number in case you cannot get a hard copy of any particular document
Most likely, you will absolutely have to have proof of insurance to get your car out of impound. If you do not already have insurance, shop quickly and smartly, especially if you need SR-22 insurance.
With these tips on how to get your car out of impound, you will have a much higher chance of doing it successfully the first time around. Good luck from the team here at Parker Towing.
January 16, 2018
Towing Services Beyond Roadside Assistance
The team at Parker Towing in Parker, Colorado are called upon for towing services beyond roadside assistance. While we prefer swooping in to help local drivers with a breakdown or flat tire, having this knowledge in your back pocket can help you avoid getting your vehicle towed in other situations.
Obstruction of Road or Walkway
Even though this seems like a minor offense, your car can get towed if it is blocking an access point for either vehicles or pedestrians. So, even if you think that you can beat the clock and no one will notice your car parked while you run inside for a moment, beware that many business owners are at the ready to call in and have any vehicle towed that blocks their business or walkway.
Violation of Private Property
The same goes for parking on someone’s property. They have the right to have your car towed if it is on their property for any length of time. They don’t need to have any reason except that it is parked on their property.
Parking in any tow away zones, accessible parking spaces, ambulance loading zones, or in front of fire hydrants without any special permit will all easily lead to your vehicle getting towed away.
If pulled over, a police officer can have your vehicle towed if they feel that it is unsafe to be on the road. If your car breaks down and is sitting on the side of the road for any length of time, it is liable to get towed as well.
If your vehicle registration is expired more than 6 months, police can have your vehicle towed without notifying you first – that means it can be towed while parked on a public street. Then you must bring proof of current registration and get your vehicle out of the impound lot.
Too Many Traffic Violations
That’s right; if you have too many tickets, parking or otherwise, that are unpaid, your vehicle could get towed away. Make sure to pay all tickets before your car or truck is at risk of being towed.
Driving Without a License
If you happen to get pulled over and don’t have a license, forgot your license somewhere, or it’s expired, your vehicle may get towed. There is little to no tolerance for driving without a license in any state, especially Colorado. This is where we get a lot of calls for towing services beyond roadside assistance.
Evidence at a Crime Scene
If your vehicle is suspect of being involved in a crime, police may impound the vehicle for evidence or inspection, if they have a court order. It makes no difference where it is parked or stored.
At Parker Towing, we hope that you never have to deal with any of these towing services beyond roadside assistance. However, just in case it happens, you can rest assured that we will treat your vehicle like our own and keep it safe until you have the situation cleared up.
December 19, 2017
Safer Driving on Winter Roads
For safer driving on winter roads this season, Parker Towing offers a few pointers to our customers in Castle Rock, Aurora, Lone Tree, Centennial, Highlands Ranch and beyond. There are many ways to avoid problems while driving in snow or other inclement conditions, and if you do experience an issue, even more ways to ensure your safety, such as calling for a tow instead of bearing the brunt of bad weather.
The best strategy for winter driving is to be prepared. Stock non-perishable snacks, drinking water, blankets, extra clothes, flashlights, flares, phone charger, batteries, jumper cables, reflective triangles, reflective vest, ice scraper, snow shovel, and kitty litter or sand for tire traction if your car gets stuck. Before heading out, make sure your gas tank is full and use either all-season tires or snow chains.
Check how your battery is working before heading out into the cold. Turn on the headlights and start your car’s engine. If your headlights brighten up when the engine starts, then it is a good idea to bring it in for a recharge or a completely new battery. Be sure to check antifreeze and windshield fluid levels while you are at it. There are a number of de-icing windshield fluid brands for severe weather.
It's always a good idea to clear off your windshield as much as possible before heading out onto the road. Having the most visibility will increase the chances of a safe journey wherever you are headed. Defrosting and de-icing before you hit the road is safer than while driving. Clear snow or slush off of the headlights, brake lights, and turn signals. Use your headlights, even in the daytime, to make sure that you are visible to other drivers.
Slow and Steady
Even if you have all-wheel drive, a slow even acceleration and deceleration is the key to safer driving on winter roads. Avoid spinning tires as much as possible. Especially if you only have 2-wheel drive, plan to leave early and take it slow a route.
Braking is going to be different in snow and icy conditions. Most likely, your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS). This will help to keep it from skidding, allowing you to continue steering during sketchy situations in which you must brake hard. In this case, “stomp, stay, and steer.” If you have to brake hard, you will feel a thumping sensation below the foot pedal. This is completely normal with ABS and actually helps with the mechanism.
Practice steering around obstacles instead of heading straight towards them. Even though it sounds like a no-brainer, our instincts to evade don’t always kick in when the moment arises.
If you find yourself in a skidding situation, turn the wheel in the same direction as the rear of the vehicle is going. Otherwise, a skid could turn into a spin and even a car accident.
As you can see, there are few precautions to take for safer driving on winter roads. No matter what happens though, Parker Towing is here to help, anytime day or night. Just give us a call.