If your car has broken down away from home, this is not only an inconvenience, but you may be fearful, especially if you are on a deserted road. Before you call an auto towing service, however, there are some things you need to check.

Make Sure Your Car Cannot Be Fixed at Roadside

There are some cases where your car is broken down due to something simple and fixable, like a bad battery or a flat tire. You may be able to tell if the battery is the problem by inspecting it. Open your hood and look at the battery terminals to make sure they are not loose or broken. You may also see sulfur built up on the battery terminals. There are also digital multimeter that you can use to test the battery. If you do not have one, purchase one from an auto parts store in case this happens again.

If you determine your battery is bad, call a friend of family member to come with jumper cables, so that you can try to jump-start your vehicle. If that doesn't work, then you can proceed with calling a towing company.

If you have a flat tire, and have a spare in your trunk, replacing it is not difficult. If you do not know how, check your owner's manual. The manual is vital because it has specific instructions and illustrations for your vehicle, so that you can attempt this repair even if you have little experience. Make sure you are in a safe spot with your hazard lights on before starting. You'll need to use a jack to lift the vehicle off the ground to remove its lug nuts.

Contact a Car Dealership that Has a Working Relationship with a Towing Company

If you are broken down and are close to an official dealership for your car, contact them before you call a tow company. In some cases, they may work with a towing company and will be able to get a better deal. If you will take your car to their auto shop to have it repaired, the dealership may cover all the towing costs for you.

Call Your Credit Card Company

If you use a credit card, call the credit card company. In some cases, they offer roadside assistance to their customers completely free. They may limit how many times you can use this service or have other exclusions. Make sure you ask about this before you let them handle the towing bill.

If you do need to call a tow truck and do not know of one, there are apps you can install on your smartphone that will show you all the local towing companies, along with their address and phone number.