Your car won’t start. What’s next?

Advance Auto PartsThere’s never a convenient time to have a broken-down vehicle, and it usually seems to happen right when you need to get somewhere quickly. Fortunately, there are things you can do to hurry along the process of turning “my car won’t start” into “whew . . . my car is back on the road.”

First, call or text a friend with your current location. Whether it’s to push your car out of the way of oncoming traffic or to keep you company as you wait for a tow truck, friends make great road side assistance!

If you can’t handle a certain car-related task such as changing a tire or jumping a battery, your friend may come in handy for this as well. Sometimes that person with greater physical strength (or one who isn’t panicking about car troubles, like you might be) can make a world of difference.

Perhaps your friend belongs to an auto club that has transferable free road side assistance. Or, he or she can give you a ride after your car has been towed away, if that’s the outcome.

If your car has a manual transmission, maybe you can push start.

Here’s another situation where a friend can be helpful because it’s impossible to push start on your own. First, make sure your car’s inability to start up is the result of a faulty starter. When you turn on your engine, you should hear a “clicking” sound. If you hear a revved up sort of roar, then a push start may not work with your car.

If this is an option for you, then put your transmission in second gear before turning on the ignition. Put your foot on the clutch and then ask your friend to push the car, or vice versa, to hopefully get it started.

If none of these help, call a tow truck or perhaps the police.

It may seem like you’re overreacting if you call the police as a result of a dead battery, but you may need to if you’re alone and stranded without a functioning vehicle. A police officer can help get your car out of a dangerous lane of traffic, help you push start your car or offer other types of assistance.

Finally, you can call for a tow truck to take your car to a garage/repair facility. Verify where they are taking your vehicle before they drive off. Some tow yards are not as close as you may think.

What about the pros and cons of hitchhiking?

Some consider hitchhiking to be a viable option when their car won’t start or road side assistance is not available. Here are some thoughts about the pros and cons of hitchhiking.

One pro is that you might get where you need to go. Another is you may meet interesting people on your journey. That’s pretty much it. The rest of hitchhiking history shows plenty of “cons,” including people who have been injured or even killed. There is also no guarantee your drivers will go where they say or that you can protect yourself from being robbed or having your identity stolen once you are in a stranger’s vehicle.

That said, if you are a frequent hitchhiker or find yourself in a situation where you feel you have no other choice, then follow these guidelines.

If you insist on hitchhiking:

  • Always carry ID with you, but conceal it well.
  • Have your hand on your cell phone at all times in case of emergency.
  • Approach people at gas stations or stores rather than sitting on the side of the road.
  • Try to select a car with a family or other combination of individuals that appears to be safer than a single person or a more suspicious combination.


Editor’s note: Fixing your car is always a better option than hitchhiking. Count on Advance Auto Parts to all of your DIY needs, and save!

The pros and cons of auto clubs

Advance Auto Parts

Auto clubs can provide multiple services, ranging from car insurance to:

  • auto maintenance services
  • auto towing services
  • road side assistance
  • and more

Is this something that you need?

Pros of Auto Clubs

People often become members of these clubs for the peace of mind they offer. If your car stalls out, gets stuck in ice and snow, or spins into a ditch, as just three examples, you need help, fast. With membership in AAA or a similar club, you can have the security of knowing that road side assistance is on its way.

Better yet, this auto towing service is typically included in the cost of membership, which means you’ll be okay even if your wallet is pretty empty.

So, questions to ask yourself include:

  • Do you think you could handle a situation as described above, even without a membership?
  • What if the same thing happened to your teenaged or college-aged son or daughter?
  • Would a membership give you added peace of mind while your child is on the road?

These clubs provide road side assistance in ways other than an auto towing service, in the form of jump starts, gas delivery and more. They can also change your tires, help you get into a car that you locked yourself out of and much more.

These clubs also often provide non-vehicle perks. They might serve as a travel agent for members, providing discounted car rentals, hotel reservations and tickets to many major U.S. destinations. You may also receive traveler’s checks through them.

Finally, these clubs can broker many other necessities in life such as health or life insurance, financing a new car or home, and more. Each club is unique, but most will offer the basics of road side assistance and towing services, which in and of itself may be worth the relatively small annual membership fee.

The Cons of Auto Clubs

Despite the many perks of membership, there is a down side. Members sometimes complain of high-pressure sales for other services, when all they want is the basics. Other complaints focus on customer service. Perhaps you paid for your membership; didn’t need to use it all year long; but, when you finally did need an auto towing service, or some other service, response time was slow.

When it comes down to decision time about an auto club purchase, try to determine your options for auto maintenance when the unexpected happens. If your best buddy runs a towing service, then you’ve got a Plan B when the roads are slick and you spin off the road, and so your needs aren’t as pressing. If you don’t have such a sweet set up (and if you have children who are driving your vehicles) then you ought to take a closer look at available auto clubs.

Check out the extra services. Which ones would you use? If you’re planning a cross-country trip, then you may find value in certain services; if you spend all of your vacations in a cottage just an hour down the road, then these trip planning may not be needed.

Editor’s note: Visit Advance Auto Parts for a wide selection of roadside assistance kits and accessories. Buy online, pick up in store.