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  #1  
Old 03-29-2006, 07:43 AM
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fp_5 fp_5 is online now
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Tow truck operators.

I post this knowing we have a couple of members in the business and it's not my intention to paint all operators with the same brush.

I had the mis-fortune to breakdown on the 401 during my drive home monday nite. The old girl blew the heater contol valve and spewed anti-freeze all over the place. You would think that a vacuum operator valve would last a little more than 30 years!! I managed to pull the truck over to the shoulder and popped the hood open to survey the damage. Lifting the hood is like setting off a homing beacon, with in five minutes, I had turned away 3 tow truck operators who came out of no where to offer their assistance. These guys were all polite and sympathic but I explained that I was fine and I would take care of things on my own soon as the old girl cooled off.
After about 15 min or so I by-passed the heater core and defective valve and I was on my way. Turns out that I did not have enough coolant left to make it more than a few minutes down the road before the temp gauge was in the red again. I pull over again, lift the hood and decide to let things cool down again. I wasn't that far from home so I figured even at this rate I could make it home or off the hiway to get water in maybe one or two more stops. So, I get comfortable and wait for the temp gauge to drop right down. Surprisingly no tow trucks stopped during this time which was at least half an hour. Once the temp is down I close the hood and turn the key....groan, clik clik clik...! My batteries dead ! Just my luck! I knew the battery was getting weak but this timing sucks! I figure a tow truck should be by any minute, I'll get a boost and be on my way...... Where are these guys? like cops I told myself , "never around when you need one" .
Another 30 minutes or so goes buy and this twenty-something kid pulls up in a tow truck. My savior! My hero! Hey, I was getting hungry by now so I was sure glad to see him. I say to him I need a boost and if I'm lucky would you happen to have a gallon of water?? Sorry he says, " I took my booster box out of the truck just yesterday" Huh? whats a booster box? I say no problem lets just use cables. " I don't have any" he says. Huh? no problem I have a set. " Oh, I won't boost you on the hiway. It's not safe" , We have plenty of room the shoulder is wide you can pull in between my truck and the ditch, my cable are long, says I. "No, not safe. Can't do it" but you can hook me up and take me off the hiway right? "No, problem" he says. Well considering there were witness's driving by I decide not to pound some sense into this opportunistic little ***** and I politely send him away. This guy just wanted the bucks for a hook up and tow, had no interest in helping me.
I now hang my booster cable off the side of the truck hoping anyone would stop to help.
Hunger was getting the better of me by now so I lost track of time but in a while another tow truck stopped. I was determined to hold my ground and not have to pay for a tow when all I needed was a boost. I talk to the guy and "No problem, boy" he says with a bit of an east coast twang in his voice, so I know I'm going to be taken care of! He reaches into the truck and pulls out a small box with tiny cables on it, not much bigger than six pack! That's gonna start my truck??!! I don't think so myself but lets give it a try, Well, I was right, I think my engine made three slow revolutions and that was it. So , let's use your cables I asked. "Don't carry any he says, the booster box usually works" At this point I go quiet, inside I am starting to boil over cause I can here it coming, this guys gonna want to tow me. Well he walks around the truck, stomps on the ground to see how soft the dirt is between my truck and the ditch. "Get your cables he says" and he jumps in his truck. He backs his truck in between mine and the ditch and I'd be surprised if you could slide a piece of paper between the two trucks. Well we boost my truck no problem and I ask the guy what do I owe you? He says $10. $10 !!! Thats outrageous I say as I toss him a twenty and tell him to keep it!
I made it off the hiway , got some water and made it home no problem. So the simple question is....why don't tow trucks carry booster cables? They can't expect that tiny booster box to turn over much more than a four cylinder. The tow trucks I remember working with had booster cables hardwired to the batteries( yes two batteries in a tow truck) and used heavy gauge welding cable that would reach past the back of the truck. I know that new vehicles have more complicated electronics but adding a second battery, isolating it and providing surge suppression is not difficult to do. You would think this could be ordered as an option for a wrecker/tow truck? Wouldn't take that much to installl an after market setup either. Have things changed so much or is simply a business decision to make more money off of a tow than a boost??
Like I said in the beginning, I don't want to say all truck operators are out to gouge you but I definitely saw it in that kid on monday night. I hope that the majority of tow trucks operators are more like the last guy and willing to do a little extra to help out someone in need.

Frank
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  #2  
Old 03-29-2006, 11:48 AM
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loudfords loudfords is offline
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loudfords has a good reputation on FTE.loudfords has a good reputation on FTE.
I've usually seen them gathering like vultures around the 401 & 410 just before rush hour.

I agree the guy's an idiot who would tow you but not give you a boost.

I think there's not near as many people needing a boost lately, as to why they don't carry cables. I can't think of the last time I saw someone (other than myself) needing a boost.
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  #3  
Old 03-29-2006, 12:23 PM
Mil1ion Mil1ion is offline
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Maybe they took his booster box away because he has blown up a few customers batteries from hooking them up wrong

I was my understanding that NO work could be performed on the shoulders of the 401 or 407, all derelict vehicles had to be towed for safety reasons, due to all the weird collisons that have happened on that road.
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Old 03-29-2006, 08:52 PM
big daddy chuck big daddy chuck is offline
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????hmmmm

The one place my wife never liked me doing my job was on the hi-way...

can't say as i blame her , not that i don't agree that there are more than a few operators on the hi-way that are there only for the maximum dollar, i've seen and worked for guys that only want poor mr/mrs breakdown on the back of the trucks, how else is the poor workin stiff going to pay for his truck $80,000 - 100,000, plus the insurance that runs most companies around $1,000+ a month, you will quickly see the reason for wanting to tow a vehicle, not to mention that these drivers only work on commision basis, the industry would better suit the needs of the customer if the owners paid them like regular employee's , now add workers comp, private work insurance , High rish i would add try and get a reasonable policy for that one , tell your insurer that your employee's work in hi-way conditions ,I cannot say this enough to anyone i meet, sorry for your last experiance with the towing industry and what they have to offer in the way of drivers , but they are not hired to be your friend, they are there to get the most out of you before they see the back of your head as they leave ,

oh yeah , just so i don't forget , try and get one of them to drop your car without "CASH" in hand

i'm happy and glad that you made it off the hi-way safe , i'm just a little disapointed in the whole game, guess thats why i'm not doing it anymore

best bet , have a buisness card handy, even if you cannot get your tow truck right away , MAYBE the other guy will know your operater and return a favour for one that was done for him

and the other thing, this is against all that i know as a tow truck owner, but the wife , the family , and most of my friends have C.A.A

big daddy chuck
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  #5  
Old 03-29-2006, 09:11 PM
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Here's the list...
Bandit..Everybody knows about them.
Chaser..Will only do breakdowns when in need of quick cash for fuel to chase wrecks.
Account truck..Would rather do breakdowns than chase wrecks
Tow truck driver..Generally under qualified to provide proper service.
Tow truck operator..Most often will complete the task at hand while managing all the risks professionally and at a reasonable price.
Now Here's The Kicker........Any combination of above descriptions could be the guy you meet even if he's in a CAA truck.
The only way you can manage your breakdown situation is to first...Wake up & give your head a shake. After that you will be alert enough to negotiate a reasonable deal if & when a tow truck OPERATOR comes along.
.
Does Frank know that the MTO has cameras monitoring the highway? A scanner with the MTO dispatch frequency punched into it is what the highway tow trucks use. Not the open hood homing beacon theory.
AL.
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  #6  
Old 03-29-2006, 09:25 PM
big daddy chuck big daddy chuck is offline
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sorry i know this was FRANKS post , and i don't want to take away from the fact that there are several things that everyone can do to prepare themselves , its like a fire plan and check list for your home just in case , so why not have a plan in order for your vehicle

club membership
phone a friend , (i know a game show used that line)
oil, anti-freeze, tire change equipment, AND lock key , Al ever see that one?
blanket, book , granola bars, bottled water , not full , they can freeze up in the winter its okay , 5 minutes in your hands will give it enough heat to turn some to water again,

and a deck of playing cards.

go ahead ask ?

start to play solitaire, some one always comes along to tell you that you could use the cards and interupt your game... lol

big daddy chuck
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  #7  
Old 03-29-2006, 09:25 PM
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I love CAA! It's saved my "back bacon" more than a few times.

My first experience with CAA wasn't so great. The driver claimed to be CAA approved but wanted cash and told me I could get reimbursed by CAA. The bill was $150 'cause I was stranded at Belfield and the 401 and had it towed to home in Newmarket. CAA only reimbursed my parents $100. When it's a CAA dispatched truck no cash is needed and with CAA PLUS I have a 200km range for free towing.

I've locked myself out, had flat tires, run out of gas, typical breakdowns and on one occassion my hand controls came apart rendering my vehicle inoperable.

A few times I've wondered if I can could make it as a tow truck driver....just cause I like to drive trucks....the bigger the better but I know that wouldn't work.
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:30 PM
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I used to drive tow truck, cool part was it was a Ford F350 of course. I have seen alot of different things, mostly late nite drunks getting stuck in a snow bank or getting hung up on a centre median.
A favorite trick if someone hit a tree or a building doing major damage was for the car owner/driver running away and claiming it was stolen. That did work for some but at times there could be an unseen witness that would come forward to the police....Alot more trouble explaining and even more charges laid.
The worst was when it got real slow it would be too boring. With no cell phone one had to sit in the truck by the two way radio, if you left the truck you had to leave a contact ph number everytime.
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Old 03-31-2006, 06:15 AM
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all I know is everyone hates towing my truck tires are to wide and there scared to scratch it lol
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdncowboy
all I know is everyone hates towing my truck tires are to wide and there scared to scratch it lol
Like I said...."Driver...Operator".
I had the honour of towing the very first brand new $300,00.00 1997 Bentley that broke down in Toronto. The owner drove it 6 (six) kilometers & it broke in his driveway.
Standard production wheel lift type tow truck and dollies. No big deal. No scratches & didn't even dirty the tire gloss when I picked it up by the wheels like any other vehicle.
There are some that can do & others that only think they can.
AL.
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  #11  
Old 04-03-2006, 09:41 AM
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Ouch, for $300K you'd think it could tow itself or heal itself !
I had a friend with a lotus Espirit. He got a flat, luckily the first truck there was a flatbed hauler.
So do charge the same to tow a $300K car as u would a rusted out '74 pinto? doesn't seem rite!?
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Old 04-03-2006, 07:37 PM
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The Pinto wouldn't usually need dollies. Also, dealership rates are a little bit higher because they pay their account only once a month.
The Infinity I towed today was specifically a flatbed request. That is more money to cover more hook-up time & poor gas mileage all flatbeds get. This particular Infinity required additional ramps just to clear the nose when loading & unloading. More equipment and more time is more money. Garage price on this tow would have been $153.50 plus tax for 26 km. For the Pinto, it would have been $100.50 plus tax. Lower expenses in time, fuel & equipment equals lower costs paid by customers and vice versa.
Keep in mind that like most businesses, the overhead costs are covered at the begining of any call.
Just a reminder.....MTO has cameras watching traffic flow on many highways. When THEY see a stalled auto or a wreck, they call OPP who then broadcasts on the media channel for "Fist Available" tow truck and you know the rest.
AL.
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97 Ranger (metric half ton) 2.3,5spd. Saphire blue metalic w/matching cap & Stock Rims 4 winter.
92 Town Car....Sweet PITA.
90 BII 4x4 Ongoing Project, aka PITA
63 Fairlane, Gone to my buddy Chuck.
It Aint Fun Unless It's Done The Hard Way!
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  #13  
Old 04-30-2006, 08:41 AM
big daddy chuck big daddy chuck is offline
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whats a Pinto???
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  #14  
Old 04-30-2006, 09:21 PM
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Seeing is Believing....

Quote:
Originally Posted by big daddy chuck
whats a Pinto???
It's the blue station wagon sitting on the deck of the flatbed at Bertrand Auto Refinishing.
AL.
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97 Ranger (metric half ton) 2.3,5spd. Saphire blue metalic w/matching cap & Stock Rims 4 winter.
92 Town Car....Sweet PITA.
90 BII 4x4 Ongoing Project, aka PITA
63 Fairlane, Gone to my buddy Chuck.
It Aint Fun Unless It's Done The Hard Way!
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  #15  
Old 04-30-2006, 10:31 PM
big daddy chuck big daddy chuck is offline
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Sorry AL , i read my pm first before i took a guess... ooppps

big daddy chuck
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Old 04-30-2006, 10:31 PM
 
 
 
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