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What Do I Do if I Run Out of Gas on the Interstate?

Gasoline being distributed into vehicle

The Importance of Gas Service

It happens to the best of us, no matter how well-planned we live our lives. What are we talking about? Running out of gasoline in the car. It can be a sinking feeling to hear that sput…sput…sput and then the car dies. Maybe you were on your way to a gas service station and did have quite enough to make it. Or maybe the gas gauge doesn’t read correctly. 

Things are different today when it comes to gas service stations. There was a time, when if you ran out of gas, you could call or walk to the nearest station and they would fill a gas can up, bring it to your car, and get you on your way. They would check under the hood for the oil level, water level, and air filter. Today, gas service stations offer more than gas. They offer beverages and food, souvenirs, first aid stuff, and more. But the chance of them bringing gas to your car is rare. 

Fortunately, garages offer gas service and towing, at a cost. And we have auto clubs, third-party or through automobile insurance. They provide gas service, lock-out service, and jumper service. Again, at a cost either monthly or by the service.  If you find yourself needing gas service, do you know what type of fuel your car uses?  

Chances are your car uses unleaded fuel, most cars on the road do. But there is a chance your vehicle may use diesel fuel, common for pickups and heavy weigh vehicles. This information is available inside the gas door where you put gas in, there should be a label that clearly states the type of gas service required. 

Not as common these days, there are commercial vehicles that use natural gas or propane. The chances of a driver letting those vehicles run out are not likely.  And then, of course, there are solar-powered cars. The solar-powered cars can’t be filled with a gas service and sent on their way, they require being recharged.  

What are the different types of power available today for cars?

To recap the different sources of powering cars today, please review the following: 

  • Biodiesel: A renewable fuel that is manufactured from animal fats, recycled cooking grease, or vegetable oils.
  • Electricity: This method isn’t brand new, but is becoming relatively more common as we depend more on solar power. 
  • Ethanol: Becoming a more widely used way to power cars and is blended with gasoline. 
  • Hydrogen: This type of car fuel has the potential to be an emissions-free alternative and is used in fuel-cell vehicles.
  • Natural Gas: This fuel is abundantly available and provides the user significant cost advantages over diesel and gasoline.
  • Propane Propane is a readily available gaseous fuel that has been widely used in vehicles throughout the world for decades.
  • Emerging Fuels: The Energy Policy Act brings us several emerging alternative fuels that are still in development. 

How often should I get a gas service for my car? 

Just like your car needs routine inspection for the brakes, lights, and overall functioning, you should have gas service for your car annually or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. If you drive a larger vehicle, like a work truck, every 6 months or 6,000 miles is recommended, whichever comes first. 

What does a gas service consist of for a car? 

A detailed gas service isn’t needed as often as having the oil changed or the tires rotated, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beneficial. Sediments build up in the gas tank just as they do in other areas of a car, and can cause damage to some crucial parts including: 

  • Gas tank
  • Fuel lines
  • Fuel pump
  • Fuel injection system

When these components become clogged or wear out, they aren’t as effective and can hinder the performance of your car,  meaning you’ll use more gasoline!  What are the other benefits of having a professional gas service? 

1. Better Performance

Professional gas service will help the engine run better, improving the power and performance. Your car will run smoother and have more pep. 

2. Increased Fuel Mileage

As we have stated, and this can’t be stressed enough, with professional gas service, your car will get better gas mileage. Making fewer trips to the gas pumps is worthwhile! 

3. Longer Lifespan

Along with oil changes, radiator, and transmission flushes, getting professional gas service for your car will extend the life of your car’s engine. 

How much does a professional gas service cost?

This can vary between mechanics and from car to car. The make, model, and year will have a determining consideration as well the condition of the car. 

 Can I do my own gas service?

If you’re a mechanically inclined person, yes. You’ll need basic tools to check the fuel filter, fuel lines, and fuel pump. If your car is fuel injection, there are different specifics for a gas service job. 

Before The Sput Sput Sput: What are the signs that my car needs a gas service? 

The biggest indication that your car needs professional gas service is a decrease in gas mileage. If you seem to get gas frequently to go around the corner and get gas again, your car probably isn’t running as well as it could. Give us a call at __PHONE__ if you need gas service in Festus, MO!

Do You Call For Help if You Need a Jump?

close-up of a car battery being jump started

Get Your Motor Going

What is a ‘jump start’? What does that mean? The Free Dictionary online describes this as, “to get someone going or functioning.” It could mean waking somebody up a little earlier than is normal to ‘jump start’ their day or arriving at work earlier than required to ‘jump start’ your day before it gets hectic. 

When it comes to cars, the term jump start is referring to a dead battery. We all know that if the battery in your car is dead, you’re not going anywhere, right? So, you need someone to ‘jump start’ your car, typically using their own battery and jumper cables. Well, how do you jump start a car?

You can always call a wrecker service to come to jump start your car, but that isn’t always possible. Fortunately, with some instructions, you can do your own jump start with the help of another person’s car and jumper cables, then follow these steps: 

  • Place the 2 vehicles grill to grill or side-by-side. 
  • Set the emergency brake on both cars.
  • Open the hood on both cars and remove any battery covers. 
  • Identify the negative and positive battery terminals and clean any corrosion off with a wire brush.
  • Connect one battery cable red clamp to the dead battery’s positive post.
  • Connect the other battery cable red clamp to the good battery’s positive post.
  • Connect one black clamp to the good battery’s negative post.
  • Connect the other black clamp to an unpainted metal surface of the dead battery car.
  • Start the engine of the good battery car and let it run for a few minutes. 
  • Then attempt to start the dead battery engine.

Why is my car not starting with a jump start? 

If the dead battery car still didn’t start, you’ll need to troubleshoot to find out why.  

  • Is there a clicking noise as you try to start the car?  That could indicate a bad starter.
  • Is the electrical system working, like the headlights or radio? If not, that may indicate you need a new battery, or a fuse is blown, or the ignition switch has gone out. 

If you aren’t experiencing any of those two things, try to start the car again with the jump after letting the good battery car run a little longer. The dead battery may need more power from the dead battery before the jump start takes.

Once my car battery dies, do I have to get a new battery?

Do you need a new car battery or can you charge it? When a battery dies, it doesn’t automatically mean you need a replacement battery. If the jump start doesn’t work, take your car to a mechanic (you’ll have to have it towed at this point). They can inspect the battery and all things electrical and then advise you of what the problem is and the best solution, which may be replacing the battery.

 Why should I call someone to jump start my car?

Jump starting a car isn’t a one-person job for a non-mechanic. There are dangers in jump starting a car and having a 2nd person to help you with the process is always recommended.  This is especially true of newer cars that have computers. 

How is jump starting a car dangerous?

What begins as a well-meaning jump start can lead to a power surge that could damage the onboard computers. That can affect the safety systems and even damage the engine, all resulting in expensive repairs.

What do I do if I need a jump start?

And is a jump start an emergency? Well, if you’re trying to leave for work and the battery is dead, then it will seem like an emergency to you! So, do I call 911 if my car won’t start? No, it isn’t that kind of an emergency, unless you’re on a train track, your car dies, and the train is coming. But don’t wait to call 911, get out of the car and get to a safe area away from the track. 

Otherwise, is needing a jump start an emergency worthy of calling 911? Absolutely not! Call your auto club service, a family member, a friend, or a local garage. If you’re in an area you’re comfortable and familiar with, you can ask somebody close to you for help. 

close-up of a mechanic working on a car battery

Closing Thoughts

It is important to make sure your battery is in good condition. With each oil change, ask the technicians to check the battery. Most of them will tell you if they see issues with the battery and make any suggestions. 

Once your battery has had to have a jump start, you should have the battery checked by a mechanic or an auto parts store. It may have been caused by leaving the headlights on, and in that case, it’s probably fine. But it may something more detailed within the car’s electrical system or the battery may be nearing its end of service. 

How much towing capacity do I need for a motorcycle?

young woman sitting on top of a motorcycle

Towing a Motorcycle

It’s time for summer vacation, and families everywhere are making plans! As exciting as this time of the year is, make sure you get the car, truck, or RV inspected and checked out for the road. Including making sure that the vehicle you’ll be using can tow any of the things you’re taking like boats, jet skis, ATVs, and or motorcycles. Keeping in mind that motorcycle towing is a little different than the other things you may be taking with you. 

What is the best way to transport your motorcycle?

If you’re new to the world of motorcycles, the dealership where you purchased your bike can provide you the different motorcycle towing options available to you. If you’re new to motorcycle ownership, there is nothing to be embarrassed about asking, “How do I tow a motorcycle?”.  Chances are, you have already gone through a class on how to handle a bike before the purchase was complete. But if they didn’t cover motorcycle towing, they are a great source of information. 

Having it towed by a professional wrecker service that specializes in motorcycle towing, but Motorcycle towing costs can be expensive, especially if you’re going on vacation!  You don’t want to plan on using that type of motorcycle towing unless you’re broken down. 

So, what is the DIY way of motorcycle towing?  There are advantages to this method, but there are a few downsides as well that should be considered. First, let’s review the how and what about DIY motorcycle towing, starting with the statement, “take your time, do it right”. Here are the recommended steps for DIY motorcycle towing: 

  • Get the right towing vehicle or trailer that is properly equipped for securing the bike. Pickups are the first choice, your own or a rental, or purchase a motorcycle trailer. 
  • Have help on hand because even the smallest of motorcycles can get heavy when you’re loading and unloading it alone. The bike should be in neutral and a person on each side as you roll it up the ramp. 
  • Tying the bike down is crucial for safe motorcycle towing. Using with a soft tie and a solid structural place to wrap the tie around, like the fork assembly or the lower triple clamp. Never use the brake lines or wires! And don’t put pressure on the bodywork or fenders. 
  • Have 4 straps for each corner of the bike.
  • Check your vehicle insurance to make sure you’re covered for your motorcycle. Towing has it dangers and obstacles, and if you get pulled over, they are going to check your insurance. 

Now, the pros and cons of DIY motorcycle towing. 

  • The Pros: You will be in control of the bike arriving at your destination. That is part of the allure of a motorcycle – being in control! You’ll also save money by DIY motorcycle towing if you take your time, have the right equipment and supplies, and get help loading and unloading the bike. 
  • The Cons: Just like any hobby or pastime, motorcycles will take a lot of your time, and a lot of money with additional things like equipment. Yes, it will be cheaper (if you do it right) than paying for professional motorcycle towing, but don’t be cheap with quality of the tie-downs or ratchets. 

Is it illegal to tow a motorcycle?

Not when it is done correctly and adhered to the state guidelines for motorcycle towing. Don’t be that person that causes a wreck on the roadways. Ensure that you have the bike properly loaded and secured either in your truck or on a trailer. If you’ll be traveling through different states, check the laws on motorcycle towing in each one.        

What is needed to tow a motorcycle?

The key to safe and successful motorcycle towing is making sure you have the right equipment and tools, including a vehicle with adequate towing capacity.  Next, you need a motorcycle ramp for loading and unloading the bike or a trailer that has a built-in ramp. The ramp should be made of durable, heavy metal and if you’re using a trailer, you need to make sure you have the right hitch. Next make sure you have a small diameter tow rope, a nylon strap, and either a cable or a wire. 

Is it legal to tow a motorcycle with a car?

Yes, if the car is registered, and your insurance covers the car and the motorcycle towing.  Be sure know the state guidelines for motorcycle towing on the roadways and you have the bike secured on the towing trailer, a motorcycle carrier, or a tow dolly. 

Using a tow dolly is the easiest way to use a car for motorcycle towing, but you will need to have a hitch installed and confirm the car’s towing capacity. The dolly will be placed on the hitch and the front motorcycle tire will be at the front of the trailer then strapped down. As you load the bike onto the trailer, make sure it is in neutral gear and leave it neutral for the tow. 

Can a motorcycle tow a car?

Motorcycles can tow trailers, but the towing limit will not be sufficient to tow a car. To tow a trailer with your bike, you need to make sure you have the proper combination of motorcycle engine displacement and a lightweight trailer with all the necessary hardware.

man in a leather jacket standing in front of a motorcycle

A Closing Question on Motorcycle Towing

You can’t afford a professional motorcycle towing service. You don’t have a trailer or a pickup, but you do have a low-profile van, so can you lay a motorcycle on its side to transport it? This is not the ideal way for motorcycle towing, but it can be done. Make sure you drain the gasoline, oil, and all fluids, then remove the battery first. Once you have arrived at your destination, stand the bike upright and let it sit for several hours before adding any fluids or installing the battery. 

How to Jump Start a Dead Battery

close-up of jumper cables on a car battery

Get Your Car Running Again

Other than a flat tire, what is the worst way to get your day off to a bad start than a dead car battery? You must hope you can find somebody to give you a jumpstart and hope you’re not parked where it is impossible for them to reach your battery! Or you hopefully belong to an auto club that offers jump start services. But no matter the kind of help you have, all of this can make you late for school, work, or other appointments. 

If you don’t have a jump start service to call, if you can find a fellow driver with jumper cables that is willing to help you can provide your own jump start service. Before you do this, make sure you know the proper process, or you can do severe damage to your car and/or theirs. 

How do you jump start a car?

This skill isn’t learned as much as filling the gas tank, but it can be a critical skill and remembering it could keep you, or somebody else, from being stranded: 

  • Park: Both cars should be as close to each other as possible, without touching, and the engine should be turned off. 
  • Preparation: Open the hood on both vehicles, then unwind and untangle the jumper cables.
  • Connection: Hook the red clamp of the jumper cable to the dead battery’s positive terminal, indicated by a + emblem.  Then, hook the red clamp to the positive terminal, indicated by the + emblem of the working battery. Hook the black clamp of the jumper cable to the working battery’s negative terminal, indicated by a – emblem. Then hook the last black clamp to an unpainted metal surface on the dead car.
  • Starting the cars: In this order, start the car with the working battery, wait a minute then start the car with the dead battery. 
  • Disconnect: Now, in the reverse order that you hooked the two cars together with the jumper cables, remove the cables, assuming the dead car battery started.
  • Let the Car Run: Let the car engine rev up a few minutes, and then drive it for 15 minutes or more to get the battery charged. 

If the dead battery car won’t start, check the jumper cables connections, and try again. If it still won’t charge, either the battery is completely dead or there is another issue that must be dealt with. 

So, why do the positive cables need to be connected first? This will avoid shorting the battery of either car and if either is a newer car with a computer, it will prevent damage to the computer and entire electrical system. 

Why does the last jumper cable end need to be attached to an unpainted metal part of the dead battery car? This will avoid any potential possibility of damaging the dead battery and the person(s) performing the jump start service. 

How long does it take to jump start a car?

Untangling and unwinding the jumper cables will take longer than the actual jumping off process if the dead battery will jump off. Once the cables are connected, the jumpstarting process will usually take approximately five minutes.

If you have a jump start service, they will likely have their jumper cables in a ready-to-use mode, i.e., not tangled up. You’ll need to show your membership card and driver’s license though, which may take longer than the jump-starting process. The jump start process will take about 5 minutes for them as well. 

Is a jump start bad for a car?

It can be, which is why you never want to try providing or receiving a jump start service if you or the other person isn’t sure of the proper process. A damaged battery can start a fire when the jumper cables are connected. A car battery contains sulfuric acid that becomes vapors that can be highly flammable. Because jumper cables can spark and ignite those vapors, it can start a fire, and in rare cases, they have exploded. 

Does jump starting a car damage the computer?

Absolutely!  Most vehicles on the road today have multiple computers that power vital functions, as well as the radio, navigation system, televisions, and other devices.  When jumper cables are incorrectly connected or crossed, the potential damage can cause an electrical short, damaging one or more of those computers. 

Will you know when that happens? Not always – it may be after you start the dead battery car and start driving, and then realize the radio isn’t working, the power locks and windows aren’t working, or you identify other isues. Proper jump start service is more important on cars today than ever before.

How long should a car run after being jump started?

A minimum run time of 15 minutes is recommended. The longer the better to allow the alternator time to recharge the battery. 

Why won’t my car jump start?

Your dead car battery could be due to the weather, or maybe you left the lights on. It could also be as simple as having an old battery that’s past its time. When a jump start service doesn’t get your car started, it could also be for any of the following reasons: 

  • The Battery: As we have mentioned, the car battery may be too old; typically they need replacing every three to five years. The battery may also be damaged beyond a jump start service.  A new battery is your only option in these cases. 
  • The Battery Terminals: The battery terminals could be corroded or loose, restricting the electrical flow to the car. Removing the battery cable ends and with a wire brush, clean the corrosion off, including the bolts that connect the cables. This will usually allow the jump start service to work if there isn’t anything more wrong with the battery. 
  • The Alternator: The car battery needs the alternator to meet all the electrical needs of a car. They are a team with the alternator recharging the battery’s electrical power.  The alternator also supplies the electrical current needed to all the car’s electrical accessories while you’re driving. Headlight dimming when you’re stopped is one indication that you need your car inspected by a mechanic. A jump start service may get your battery jumped and your car running again, but dimming lights mean the battery is about to be done. 
  • The Starter Motor: The starter on your car requires electricity from the battery to start the car. When the starter is defective, it can’t start the engine, which keeps the battery from providing electrical power to the car. Time to schedule an appointment with your mechanic. 
  • The Safety Switch: Automatic transmission cars have a safety switch that will keep the car from starting if it isn’t in PARK or NEUTRAL. A manual transmission car has the same switch that won’t allow the car to start if the clutch pedal isn’t fully depressed. If that safety switch is bad, a jump start service isn’t going to get your car started. The switch needs to be replaced and then you should be able to proceed with happy motoring. 
  • The Jumper Cables: The jumper cables must be properly connected for a successful jump start service of a battery that isn’t completely discharged. If the jumper-cables are too long or too lightweight, they may not have enough current to jump start a car. A key investment for your car is a quality pair of jumper cables.

What to do if your car dies and you don’t have jumper cables?

There are a few little-known tricks that may provide a jump start service when there aren’t jumper cables around or battery tricks you can try to get your vehicle running again. 

  • Tapping on the battery terminals; jarring them could provide a better connection for the battery.
  • Trying to start the car in neutral can sometimes establish an electrical contact inside the safety switch. 
  • Trick the computer by pressing the accelerator halfway then start the engine. You may need to try this a few times before the car starts. 

How much does jump start service cost?

This can vary from area to area and what type of car you have. The average cost is around $100 to $150. 

close-up of jumper cables being attached to a car battery

One Last Jump Start Service Question

If your motorcycle won’t start, do you know how to jump start a motorcycle? Is it different from jump starting a car? Well, if you have the time, simply connect the battery to a charger and wait for the battery to charge up. But, if time is of the essence, there isn’t any difference between a jump start service for a motorcycle and a car. 

A motorcycle can be jump started from a motorcycle or a car. The only difference is when a motorcycle is jump started by a car, the power of the car battery will immediately power up the bike’s battery. This means you shouldn’t need to leave the jumped bike running to get it going again.

How do I tow a motorcycle?

motorcycle after an accident

How do I tow a motorcycle?

Owning a motorcycle is the same but different than owning a car. It is a way of transportation and has responsibilities like a car, and the mechanics have the same general method. Yet, how you work on them and how you tow them are different. There are specific motorcycle towing services, or a towing company that is trained in how to tow a motorcycle. 

What’s the best way to tow a motorcycle?

If you have never towed a motorcycle and wondered how do they tow motorcycles, the first thing you need to know is that having the proper equipment and tools is necessary to do this safely. You want to make sure that the equipment and vehicle you’re going to use can bear the bike’s weight, aka the towing capacity. 

A hitch is an essential tool you’ll need for motorcycle towing service. This is a metal piece that will attach to the tow vehicle’s rear. You’ll need a quality tow rope as well. Last, but not least, use one of the simple motorcycle towing options as described here: 

Towing Trailer

A towing trailer is a safe motorcycle towing service method. The trailers are a good size, and this makes them visible to other traffic on the roadways. For proper motorcycle towing service with a towing trailer, you’ll need tie-down hooks and correctly positioned ramps.

After loading the bike, you should always check the blinkers and brake lights, making sure they are in proper working order with the tow vehicle. If you’re purchasing a towing trailer, be sure you have plenty of space for storage in a specified area. 

Towing Dolly

If your storage space is limited, a tow dolly is another option for motorcycle towing service. These typically weigh around 35 pounds and are smaller in overall dimension, making it easier to store when not towing. To use this method of motorcycle towing service, the front tire of the bike is attached to the tow dolly, never the back tire.

Motorcycle Carrier

A motorcycle carrier is another motorcycle towing service option. They are an easy and simply method but limited to approximately 500 pounds. The average motorcycle weighs around 400 pounds, making this method acceptable. However, for any bike larger than 400 pounds, choose one of the other motorcycle towing services we describe. 

Is it bad to lay a motorcycle down to transport it?

It isn’t good to lay a motorcycle on its side for motorcycle towing service or any reason. If you must lay it down, it should only be for a short amount of time. Here, we explain the reasons you shouldn’t lay your motorcycle on its side for storage, towing, or any reason: 

External Issues: 

The cosmetics are the first risk of laying a motorcycle on its side. With the average bike weighing around 400 pounds, the gas tank is made with a thin plastic or sheet metal. Laying the bike on the side will likely cause a crack or dent in the tank. 

Unless your motorcycle has a custom paint job on the tank, it can easily be fixed or replaced. Other issues that a motorcycle towing service that lays a bike down are damage to the brake handle, clutch handle, footpegs, handlebars, and throttle. The air intake is sometimes designed to stick out further than the gas tank, which provides a small protective safeguard. If the air intake is damaged, it is less expensive to replace than the gas tank.

Internal Issues

The damage internally is minimal for a motorcycle that has been towed on its side for a short time. However, if the motorcycle towing service has the bike on its side for a long period of time, the fluids inside the bike are going to be the biggest concern. 

  • The battery acid, gasoline, and oil will drain and leak into crevices and parts that should never have fluid in them. A common issue internally resulting from motorcycle towing on the side is hydro lock. The small cylindrical cavity inside the motorcycle, the combustion chamber, is where air and gas are pushed. They then explode so the bike can run.
  • As oil seeps past the piston rings, it settles inside the combustion chamber. When there is a substantial amount of oil inside the combustion chamber, the spark plug isn’t able to ignite the gas as it is squirted inside the chamber because of the lack of air. With too much gas inside the combustion chamber, it locks up the engine. 
  • The battery is another concern when motorcycle towing service is on the side. The battery is not sealed and has a port that allows air inside on the top that keeps it from getting pressurized. When a motorcycle is laid on the side, battery acid leaks from that port all over the place. Battery acid can cause severe cosmetic damage and create a serious safety risk too. 

How much does it cost to tow a motorcycle?

A motorcycle towing service charges an average $75 to $125 for up to 10 miles, then an additional rate of up to $4/per mile. The factors that are considered by the towing company are: 

  • The Distance: From the time a tow truck leaves the shop, it is costing them money in labor and gas. Thus the minimum charge or minimum mileage. 
  • The Vehicle Size: Price is often based on the size of the vehicle being towed. A 4-door sedan will cost less than a full-size pick-up and a motorcycle towing service will vary on the size of the bike and how it must be towed. 
  • Time of Day: This can be a crucial factor for a car or motorcycle towing service because of the hazards. Rush hour is a dangerous time of the day because of all the traffic. After hours, after 8 pm, is more hazardous than an earlier hour like 11 am because of the darkness and risks of towing at night. 

What is the cheapest way to transport a motorcycle?

When you find a motorcycle towing company and check the rates for a motorcycle towing service, you may want to shop it around. One way to tow your bike cheaper is to do it yourself. However, you’ll need to purchase motorcycle towing equipment or rent it, which can be an expense. Unless you plan to tow your bike frequently, it may not be worth the cost. 

Does AAA tow motorcycles?

Yes, with any of these membership levels, a customer can add the option of motorcycle coverage to their policy: 

  • Classic
  • Plus
  • Premier
  • Plus RV
  • Premier RV 
leather-clad biker on a motorcycle

Last Few Words

As you find a company, an individual, or doing it yourself, motorcycle towing service is a bit more detailed than towing a vehicle. Be sure it is done with the utmost care and safety for the person towing, those around them, and your bike. 

Can car gas evaporate?

Man holding a gas can and pushing a car.

Dealing with a Gas Emergency 

Maybe the only feeling worse than locking your keys in the car is realizing you’re running out of gas. You’re driving down the road and the car starts to putt-putt-putt, getting slower and slower until it just stops. Hopefully, you were able to pull over to a safe place and call for car gas service in time. 

Many of you reading this probably weren’t alive before roadside assistance was invented. Before that, if you had a gas can, you started walking to the nearest gas station. If you were lucky, somebody would stop and offer to help you take you to the car gas service station. 

Now, the question is, why did you run out of gas? Did you not see how low it was and stop to gas up? Or maybe you have a car and gas leak issue you didn’t know about. If you know what car gas smells like you may have known to get your car into the shop. So, what does car gas smell like? 

Identifying the Smell of Gas

Automobile gasoline contains approximately 150 chemicals, one being benzene. Benzene has such a strong odor to it that it can be smelled at 0.25 parts of gasoline for every million parts of air. To give aftershave a sweet aroma in the 1800s, benzene was added. But once scientists discovered it to cause cancer, it was no longer used. 

Let’s discuss how a car gas tank works and why car gas service is so important to how a car runs. The fuel systems used in cars today are more complex than the cars our parents and grandparents drove. First of all, they are all controlled by the ECU, (electronic control unit). The ECU is a small device that controls a specific function. To get car gas service with these, you want to take your car to a mechanic that is ASE trained and certified. 

The gas tank holds most of the gasoline for a car’s fuel system. You fill the tank through a small hole that seals up with a gas cap. The gas is processed through several steps before car gas services the engine, where it is needed. 

The steps are primarily the same for every car, with some differences depending on the engine and model of car. The steps include: 

  • The fuel pump pulls the gas out of the gas tank.
  • The fuel pump pushes the gas into metal fuel lines. 
  • The metal fuel lines take the gas to a fuel filter.
  • The fuel filter does what the name implies, filters the fuel.
  • Then the fuel is sent to the engine with the fuel pump still providing the force. 
  • Finally, the gas reaches the engine. But how does it get into the combustion chamber?

Carburetors were the component that took the gas into the combustion chamber of the engine for most of the 20th century. The carburetor would mix the gas with air to ignite the gas inside the combustion chamber. Today, that car gas service part of the process is done by fuel injection. 

There are mechanical fuel injected cars and electronic fuel injected cars, with the latter being more common. In either case, the ECU is the controlling component in cars, and many old school mechanics and car buffs aren’t a fan of the new way. More good comes from this process like better car gas engine efficiency and other car gas services are handled with software updates to the ECU. 

Why Car Exhaust Smells Like Gas – Are car gas leaks dangerous?

If your car smells like gas outside the motor, this is usually the air. It may mean the fuel ratio is off – in other words, the combustion chamber isn’t getting enough air or it’s getting too much fuel. The smell of gas fumes in or around are annoying, inconvenient, and in most cases, completely harmless. However, if you can locate where the gas smell is coming from and ascertain the cause, err to the side of caution and have it fixed. 

  • Gas Vapors and Spills Exposure

The fumes you get while pumping gas in your car will get inside the car when you open the door or roll a window down. Any gas that is spilled nearby will also be noticeable. However, if you believe the gas odor is coming from your car and it doesn’t disappear, take your car to a mechanic. 

  • Older Cars – Gas Smells

Any car made in the early 1980s will emit a slight gas smell once the car is turned off. This is called fuel afterboil and happens in the bowl of the carburetor. 

  • Gas Leaks

The fuel system of your car can have a number of places for gas leaks. Like a leaking fuel line, sometimes easily noticed by puddles under a parked car. A line to the fuel injection can start to leak, creating that smell of gas while you drive, or the fuel tank vent hose will sometimes leak. This will cause unburned gas to leave the fuel system in a vapor. You should see car gas services to have those leaks repaired because puddles of gas are a fire hazard.

  • Fuel Pressure Irregular

When the fuel pressure regulator goes bad, it will cause the gas to run too rich or too thin. This causes excess gas burning, making a strong gas fume presence from the exhaust and noticeable outside around the car. As the gas seeps into the ventilation system, the inside of your car will smell like gas. You want to get this car gas service to the fuel pressure regulator as quickly as possible.  

Nozzle being held to a gas tank.

A Final Question 

How long is car gas good for before it goes bad or evaporates? If you’re planning on storing gasoline for emergencies, you want to purchase the best car gas can possible. The better the can, the better gas will store. 

The shelf life of regular car gas service life is three to six months. Diesel on the other hand will last 1 year, while organic-based Ethanol can last 30 to 90 days before it loses its combustibility from evaporation and oxidation. Meanwhile, if you think you may be in need of car gas service in Festus, MO, reach out to the Pippin Towing & Recovery team at __PHONE__.

Who to Call: Locked out of Car

What do you do at a time like this?

After a hard day at work or a busy day of shopping, what can be worse than getting to your car, only to discover you’re locked out of car? Maybe if it’s pouring down rain, snow, or at night would make it even worse. Either way, being locked out of car is a pain. If your keys aren’t in the ignition, then you’re wondering, “Where’s my car keys?”. 

Besides screaming to nobody in particular, some of may cry and kick the tires. It may not even be you that left the keys in the car or lost them altogether, causing you to be locked out of car. As a parent, I have firsthand experience in being locked out of car by one of my kids.  Just an FYI: Unless there is a child locked in the car, you won’t get any help from law enforcement.

Let’s take a few minutes from this nightmare scenario, and answer a few questions that you may, or maybe not, have thought about, like,” How do you open a car when the key is locked inside?” We offer you a few workarounds that will get to help you with what do you do if your locked out of your car:

  • Method One: A tennis ball – We don’t blame for being skeptical about this one, and it takes some prep time, so maybe have a tennis ball prepared and handy for future lock outs. Put a hole in a tennis ball then placing it over the keyhole, push on the ball. This forces air from the ball into the keyhole and should unlock the door.
  • Method Two: Shoelace – If you’re in a hurry, and most of us are when we’re in this predicament, this may not be the solution for you. Take your shoelace, make a small loop with it, and then  gently push it into a door. Work it to get that loop around the lock, then pull the lock up.
  • Method Three: A coat hanger – This method is for cars with horizontal locks. Take a wire coat hanger and untwist it so that you have a long wire. Make one end a hook and work that end into the car door. Wiggle it around until you have that hook around the lock then pull the lock up.
  • Method Four: Rod and screwdriver – This method could damage your car’s exterior or interior if you’re not careful. Take the screwdriver and make some space at the window top, then slide the rod in and push the lock open with the rod.
  • Method Five: A spatula – Insert the door lever and wedge open the door big enough to fit the spatula inside the door and lift the lock.
  • Method Six: An inflatable wedge – This is something you’ll want to buy at your local auto parts store, and it can be a little costly, but an investment if getting locked out of car is a common issue in your household. Using the same screwdriver method described above, but this devices uses air to open the door.
  • Method Seven: A strip of plastic – Bend the strip of plastic and insert in through the door jamb then lift the lock. Easy.
  • Method Eight: A lock picking tool – You can purchase these online and you can watch videos on how to use one.
  • Method Nine: Call locked out car service or the auto club – Either of these is a good option and they will have the skills and proper tools for getting you into your locked out of car.

How do I unlock my car door without a key?

If you have a newer model car, most of them have power locks with a remote controls that opens the door. An older car, and some lower priced newer cars, only open manually. With the manual lock,  some cars  have a locking handle on the windowsill with a knob on top – these are the easier ones to unlock using the methods we listed above.

Some of them, however, have a slim, straight handle. These were designed as anti-theft and unfortunately, if you have gotten locked out of car, it is going to be almost impossible to get inside without professional help. The same with cars that have the lock on the interior of the door, flush with the door handle.

panic at being locked out

How much is pop a lock for a car?

If you have to call a professional lockout service, aka, locksmith, you can expect to pay around $150.00. Some areas of the country maybe less than that, some are higher. This is why having an auto club service is a good idea. They offer a certain number of times per year where they don’t charge you to help you when you’re locked out of car, and the same with bringing you gas.

If you’ve lost your keys, and you’ve locked yourself out of your car,  do you know where to get car keys cut once you’re inside it again? If you have a spare key or somebody else has a key to your car, you can take it to any locksmith or anywhere that makes keys to get a copy made.

However, if your car key is a security key, meaning it has a chip inside that is just for your car, you’ll need to take it to a dealership or a locksmith that can duplicate the key and the chip. This type of key is called a key fob can cost as much as $150 or more, depending on the make and model of the car. Call __PHONE__ today fo your pop a lock needs in Festus, MO.

How long do tire changes take?

tires in a line

Is it OK to replace two tires at a time?

We know that in order for a vehicle to operate, it requires an engine, a transmission, and other components found under the hood or under the vehicle. There is one other thing it needs to help get down the road, or rather four other things, like tires. Because the tires take a lot of abuse, constant contact with the roads, they need maintenance too. This means keeping them aired and getting routine tire changes.

 Most tire service centers will recommend getting all four tire changes at the same time. However, they understand that there are times that the budget doesn’t have room, so, getting two tires one pay day and two the next pay day may be necessary. 

In the case of only getting two tire changes, it is recommended to have the new two tire changed place on the back axle. This will provide traction and increase the level of safety for your vehicle. 

With two rear tire changes, it your vehicle will have less chance of hydroplaning. With the two front tires remaining unchanged, there is a chance of them hydroplaning, but the vehicle will remain traveling straight, allowing you to keep control of the vehicle. The two rear tire changed to new tires will keep the rear of the vehicle stabilized. 

Is it OK to have mismatched tires?

Even though a vehicle can be operated with mismatched tire changes, but it isn’t recommended for several reasons: 

  • Tires do not wear at the same rate, even if all four of the tires are the same. 
  • Tire rotation can help minimize or slow down the wear to extend timeline for the next tire change.
  • With multiple brands, styles, types of tire on a  vehicle will not have the same results with an alignment or tire rotation.
  • Mismatched tires on a vehicle will have inflation issues.

A bigger problem will occur if you try to sell the vehicle with four tires mismatching. As a buyer, having multiple brands and styles of tires indicates that perhaps the owner doesn’t take care of the vehicle. As they say, always put your best foot forward, and the same is said when trying to sell a car. It is important to have all 4  tire changes match.       

Do you need an alignment after replacing tires?

Where you buy your tires and have the tire change service performed is likely to be a place that offers tire services and more. Among those services is wheel alignment, which the service technician will recommend be performed with your new tire change. 

 A wheel alignment with new tire changes isn’t necessary, but by having it done, you’re getting the most of your new tires. This will make sure that all four of your new tires are angled correctly to get the best traction possible. 

Having a wheel alignment with any issue with your tires, like a flat tire, or because a hard impact from hitting a bump or ditch is always recommended. In addition to new tire changes and tire repairs, a wheel alignment should be done once a year. This is especially so with the conditions of the roads today. 

What happens if you don’t align your tires?

If you choose to skip the recommended wheel alignment after having new tire changed, the ride may not be as smooth as you expect. Additionally, not getting a wheel alignment with your new tire changes, your new tires will wear unevenly and need replacing sooner than they would others. Skipping the wheel alignment could also void the warranty on your new tire change! 

balancing a wheel

How long can you drive on new tires without alignment?

Remember how your car drove and handled so perfectly when it was brand new? That is because the factory did a wheel alignment after install the tire changes. This made sure it was properly aligned the day you drove it off the dealer lot. 

Now, you’ve driven it several miles, and with each mile, the tires have worn and deteriorated a little bit, and so has the performance. Keeping the tire pressure evenly inflated every so often will help, but a wheel alignment will extend your tires lifespan. 

The frequency of your wheel alignment should be based on the mileage, not the time frame. Your driving style will also determine how frequent you should have a wheel alignment also. Your mechanic or the establishment that offers  tire services for a car can advise you best. 

At any time you feel your car isn’t handling and steering as well as it should, take it to any business offering tire services open closest to you.  Keeping your tires in good condition with proper inflammation and wheel alignment is important for the safety of your car and passengers. Call __PHONE__ today for tire service in Festus, MO.

Why do car batteries die in the winter?

car battery being tested

How do you keep a car battery from going flat in cold weather?        

Winter 2021 has taught us many things across the country, and one is taking care of the car battery. It can be a distraught time when the car won’t start, regardless of what day or time it is, but winter may be the worse time to realize your car battery is dead. 

A car battery does not like cold weather and the colder the temperature gets, the weaker the car battery will get, even a fully charged battery isn’t at 100% in cold weather. A half-charged battery can freeze at a temperature of ten below zero. So, can you winterize your battery? The following 5 steps are recommended by experts in the far north where winter is longer and colder than it is here in Missouri: .

  • Get your car battery checked: Before winter arrives, almost any auto parts store or repair shop will do a free battery check. This takes less than 30 minutes of your time, which is a lot less than when your car battery completely dies and you’re late for work waiting on a tow truck.
  • Drive daily for minimum 10 minutes: One way to prevent car battery problems is to drive the car every day, no less than 10 minutes. This will keep the cold temperature at bay as the engine warms up.  
  • Park your car inside: Parking your car inside the garage will protect it from the direct wind and freezing temperature. Where can you park to help protect your car battery? 
    • In a garage
    • In a parking garage with constant traffic
    • Close to heated equipment
    • Close to a warm building
    • Indirect sunlight
    • Any place that is warmer than in the shade or directs outdoors
  • Wrap a blanket around the car battery: The plastic case around a car battery provides some thermal protection along with the internal design and the material structure. Believe it or not, there are electric blankets specifically for a car battery. These corrosion-resistant heat blankets can be a lifesaver for any car battery and are available in stores and online. 
  • Charge with bigger than a trickle charger: It is essential to keep your car charged,” but when the temperatures are below zero, a trickle charger isn’t going to be enough. Can you leave a trickle charger on all winter?

There are trickle chargers that can be left on indefinitely, typically on a car that is stored. So, yes, you can leave a trickle charger on all winter, that is what they are for, if the car battery is in storage. It is recommended to check on the car battery and charger daily to make sure nothing is getting too hot. 

How do you warm up a car battery in cold weather?

Freezing cold weather is not good on a car battery, so preparing for winter before it arrives is always best for your home and your car. When the cold weather arrives though, what is the best process for the car battery when you start your car in the cold? 

  • Minimize the electrical drain: Ideally, when you park your car, make sure everything is turned off like the headlights, blower motor, radio, etc., and make sure all the doors are closed. 
  • Turn the key and hold for 10 seconds: After 10 seconds if the dashboard lights up, the car battery is charged. If you don’t get any response like lights or sounds, your car battery is not charging and needs a jump or replacement. 
  • Allow the car battery to recover: If the car doesn’t start after twenty seconds of trying, top and wait 2 minutes then try again. If the car battery still isn’t making any contact, it is time to call for a jump. 
  • Check the owner’s manual: Almost every car owner’s manual has a chapter on cold-starting the engine. 
  • For cars 1985 and older: Your car is carbureted so while the car is still parked, push on the gas pedal once and release. That push dispenses gas into the intake and gives the carburetor something to work with, easing the strain on the car battery.  

Is a car battery any good after it freezes?

Maybe, maybe not. You can thaw a frozen battery out and it will probably charge back up. However, it may start your car and it may not, or if it does start your car this time, it may not the next time.  The safest thing to do is get a new car battery installed. Go to a reputable auto parts store or retail store, or use your own mechanic, where you know these are people that know your car battery with fitting for your specific car. 

Mechanic testing failed car battery

How can you tell if your car battery needs replacing?

There are a few symptoms that are an indicator it is time for a new car battery without negative experience of it not starting one morning: 

  • Slow to Crank
  • Check Engine Light
  • Low Battery Fluid
  • Battery Case is Bloated or Swollen
  • Battery is Leaking
  • The Battery Is Older than 3 years 

As with a frozen battery, the same advice holds. Be on the safe side and get a new car battery if your current car battery is exhibiting any of these things. Call (636) 937-0797 today for your car battery jump needs in Festus, MO.

What is Light Duty Towing?

Couple near tow-truck picking up broken car

Learn More About Light Duty Towing

It can be a process to see what kind of towing you may need when you require transportation to and from a location. Depending on the capacity of materials that you need to be towed there will be different types of tow trucks that will be ideal to use. Consider light duty towing services when you know that you won’t require heavy-duty towing capabilities. If you’d like to know more details about towing services contact a qualified towing company for more information. Until then, here is some general background information regarding light duty towing that may be useful to you.

What is a light duty tow?

Light duty towing is similar to medium duty tow trucks and are equipped with modern wheel-systems that eliminate all contact between a tow truck and vehicles with the exception of the tire’s rubber on a given vehicle. This is due to the fact that light duty towing trucks will lift the vehicle off of the ground by securing the front two or back two wheels. Consider these options if you have a smaller vehicle or attachment that won’t require the use of larger tow trucks and equipment.

What is considered a medium duty tow?

A medium-duty tow will have a tow truck chassis that has a minimum gross vehicle weight (GVWR) rating of no less than 22,000 pounds. It will also have to have at least a twelve-ton boom assembly as rated by the truck’s manufacturer.

What is considered heavy towing?

Heavy-duty towing is ideal for weights of around 25 tons. Trucks used in these cases will have for example a six-ton wheel lift, a 25-ton boom lift or winch, both of which often are used for heavy-duty towing situations.

What is the difference between a tow truck and a wrecker?

A tow truck is a vehicle that can tow or haul a vehicle while a wrecker truck can recover vehicles and at times can tow a vehicle. A tow truck however will not be able to act as a wrecker truck. 

Light Duty Truck Towing Capacity

The heavier a vehicle is the more weight it technically is able to hold. With modern trucks and vehicles although they are lighter than before in design they can actually hold heavy loads as well. As far as the specifications of the wheelbase, the longer the distance between the front and rear axle then the safer it will be for towing. As of now, perhaps the best light-duty truck that can hold a maximum of 13,400 pounds is seen with the Chevrolet Silverado.

What happens if you tow over capacity?

If you happen to tow over capacity there can be a number of reactions that can be triggered such as tire failure from added weight, breaks starting to fade, and the engine overheating due to the extra work required to move. This will end up overloading the drivetrain and shortening the life of the transmission.

Will my insurance cover towing?

Most insurance policies won’t cover towing or they will cover towing up to a certain mileage amount. This will typically come with roadside assistance also known as towing and labor coverage which is typically an inexpensive add-on by major auto insurance companies. 

How much weight can a tow truck tow?

Depending on the size and type of the tow truck there will be different capacity caps for each. A medium-sized truck can take anything around 25,000 pounds for example. This includes such vehicles as buses, box trucks, most construction vehicles, and tow trucks themselves.

Do you have to be insured to be towed?

At times your car may be towed without connection to your insurance. As far as having your car towed, if you don’t have that covered by insurance then you

Tow truck with broken car on country road

What is the most fuel efficient vehicle for towing?

  • Chevrolet Silverado | 17 mpg | 13,400 lbs 
  • Ford Expedition | 19 mpg | 9,300 lbs 
  • GMC Canyon | 23 mpg | 7,700 lbs
  • Nissan Pathfinder | 23 mpg | 6,000 lbs
  • Ford Explorer | 24 mpg | 5,600 lbs
  • Kia Telluride | 21 mpg | 5,000 lbs
  • Honda Passport | 21 mpg | 5,000 lbs
  • Chrysler Pacifica | 22 mpg | 3,600 lbs
  • Toyota RAV4 | 27 mpg | 3,500 lbs
  • Subaru Outback | 26 mpg | 3,500 lbs

Contact Your Local Towing Company Regarding Light Duty Towing

If you’re in need of light duty towing services then reach out to your local towing company today. Light duty towing is a great way to transfer fairly lighter weights of materials, vehicles, or possessions in a more sustainable and safe way. It’s important to contact a professional about your towing needs in order to get the vehicle that will work best with your capacity load. If you have any questions or concerns then reach out to a knowledgeable towing representative for more information. Ease the process of transferring items with a reputable towing company today.

Get more information regarding light duty towing in Festus, MO by calling (636) 937-0797 with the experts at Pippin Towing & Recovery today!