If you're a long way from home when suddenly the unexpected happens and your car breaks down, you won't be going anywhere fast. You need to get your vehicle back to your trusted mechanic to put things right, but how are you going to do this? If you're looking around for somebody to help so you can load up and be on your way, think about some of the complications first. What do you need to worry about?
Stuff to Tow with
Firstly, consider the equipment. If you happen to get hold of a tow vehicle and trailer, are they configured properly for a long journey? Not every vehicle is rated by its manufacturer for towing and not every trailer is suitable to be towed behind a wide range of vehicles just because it's a trailer. Much will be dependent on the centre of gravity. If the trailer happens to be fairly high off the ground, then the centre of gravity of the trailer plus your car on top may be higher than the tow vehicle itself. This is a bad combination.
Lots of Weight
Consider also the weight of the vehicle and trailer in relation to the towing vehicle. Many people think that they can safely tow a loaded trailer with a standard car, but you have to bear in mind the performance characteristics of the car in front. Suddenly, the driver will be expecting the car to cope with a lot more than twice its weight when it comes to stopping. This can put tremendous strain on the brakes and will require the driver to completely adapt his or her driving style accordingly.
The Flat Tow
If you haven't found a trailer, you may be considering what's called a "flat tow." This means that all four wheels of the stricken car are on the ground. In this case, you really need to have a proper towbar to connect to the host vehicle.
You will also need to worry about damaging your own vehicle's transmission. If your car is equipped with an automatic gearbox, then you are likely to cause internal damage during a forced tow like this. The only way to avoid this is to either disconnect the drive shafts or to ensure that the driven wheels are raised off the ground.
Extra Skill Required
If you want to raise two of the car's wheels off the ground, you will need to use what's known as a "tow dolly." These are miniature trailers and designed only to support the front of the car. You will need a certain amount of skill when towing one of these devices, and they are extremely difficult to back up should you need to reverse.
All in all, it's better to call for a professional towing company to help you out, so you don't add any heartbreak to your misery.