Why Keys sometimes don’t turn in ignition

It can be quite annoying when you put your key inside your vehicle’s ignition slot and it won’t turn. Your mind can be floating everywhere trying to figure out what’s wrong, with no clear cause or reason for the key’s malfunctions. Here’s Chicago Towing’s quick guide to reasons keys sometimes don’t turn inside ignition.

 

If you’re car owner without any warranty on your vehicle, jamming keys can pose both a severe annoyance and a high cost. If you need to jiggle the ignition in order to start the car, it’s a sign of problems starting, and you should contact a professional right away. Poor design can be a cause of ignition problems. Another potential cause is a lousy connection between the transponder microchip inside the car key and the car’s computer. This reconnection is a highly technical operation best handled by an affordable expert automobile locksmith. It’s best to handle these situations as soon as possible, as with a faulty ignition, you can get stranded anywhere.

 

You may have any of these following issues:

  • Hard turning key in ignition
  • Ignition is stuck or sticking
  • Key comes out of ignition dirty
  • Key gets stuck in particular position
  • Key is frozen

 

An expert locksmith can easily handle this sort of job, at a fraction of the cost that it would require at an automobile dealership.

 

Fixing Ignition Keys that get Stuck

  • Check to see if the parking brake light is on, so you don’t roll away when you turn the key.
  • First apply pressure to the key, and turn the steering wheel to find a spot to turn the key.
  • Most cars won’t allow you to turn the key unless you are in park position.
  • If this doesn’t work, clean out and then lubricate the cylinder of the lock with electrical contact cleaner, and a small spray of silicone or graphite. Make sure not to drip any of these solutions onto the seat or carpet, and keep the windows open to prevent any fumes. Of course, avoid any flames or sparks near the lock cylinder, as these solutions are often flammable.
  • If the key still won’t turn, the issue is likely inside the tumbler which may be stuck locked. Tap the face of the lock cylinder with a tack hammer for about 60 seconds.
  • If they key still won’t turn, inspect the key for any distortions by laying it on a flat surface and seeing if it looks crooked or arched. If it is, hit it with a heavy object to flatten it out, but try to avoid any heavy metal object as it can cause further distortion to the key’s grooves.
  • If the key still won’t turn insert it in the ignition and tpa it lightly with a hammer.
  • If all these measures fail, contact a licensed, professional locksmith.
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Towing Safety Tips

Cars break down; it’s a fact of life. Even when you take excellent care of cars, they are still likely to experience some form of mechanical problems every now and then. However, towing isn’t always a completely clean and orderly operation. Things can go wrong as you go along with it – here’s Chicago Towing’s list of the 9 most serious towing safety tips to keep in mind while one is towing a vehicle.

 

Dangerous Operation

Anybody involved with the towing operation should never stand on the sides of the truck, since a spontaneous turn could be incredibly dangerous for everyone involved. For maximum safety, make sure to ride along inside the truck with all doors securely locked.

 

Tire Safety

Make sure that any flat tires are fixed before the vehicle is hoisted up onto the truck. Make sure to change all tires in order to prevent an unstable tow load from suddenly flipping over due to unequal pressure. Just to be safe, it’s smart to check the tire pressure gauges.

 

Turning Suddenly

Sharp turns and steep hills should be handled very slowly, since going fast in these situations can either seriously damage your truck’s chassis or axle, as well as risk the possibility of flipping over completely.

 

Driving Blind

Dark or inclement weather reduces visibility – so should be handled with bright headlights, and by driving slowly.

 

Towing Inappropriate Vehicles

Don’t connect large vehicles to SUVs or sedans, since trailer hitches don’t work with all vehicles – only vehicles that meet towing requirements should be hitched up.

 

Swaying from Side to Side

Drive slowly and follow the speed limit to prevent the truck from swinging around, which can be quite dangerous especially at a high speed.

 

Always bring Emergency Equipment

Make sure to always carry a fully stocked emergency kit with a flashlight, red triangle lamp, spare tires, a tool set, first aid kit, water, and some food.

 

Never Rush

Don’t drive really fast while towing. As a ground rule, make sure to always have enough space to brake between your car and any vehicles in front or behind you.

 

Use the Breaks

Whenever making any turns, slowly and gradually apply the brakes for stable and safe driving. Sudden application of the breaks can be equally as dangerous on turns.

 

 

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December Parking Advice in Chicago

december-parking-in-chicago

With the Christmas season fully in effect, Chicago traffic can be a bit overwhelming. Between a swelling influx of tourists and Chicagoans coming home to visit family, and the hectic crowds embarking on holiday shopping expeditions, being a driver in the Windy Season can be somewhat more difficult around this time of year. Malls and parking lots are full of people; and although most people don’t know this, parking lots are actually very common settings of traffic accidents – from rear enders, to even hit and runs. Additionally, crowded distracting parking lots are perfect environments for trouble makers like pickpockets, carjackers, thieves, and other vandals. In order to keep yourself, your vehicle, and the people you love safe – follow Towing Chicago‘s official Chicago parking safety tips.

 

  • Avoid shopping (and parking) at the most busy times of day. This is usually at weekday nights and weekends.
  • Consider using valet parking – this way you don’t have to search for a space, and you won’t have to worry about whether your car is staying safe.
  • Drive slowly in parking lots, and always use your turn signal.
  • Never park in tight parking lots – this way you can avoid scrapes and bumps.
  • Park farther away from buildings to avoid the chances that shopping carts or cars backing up might dent or smack your vehicle.
  • While walking to your car or backing out, make sure to be aware of other cars that are backing out or in at the same time.
  • Always park in a highly visible area that’s brightly lit.
  • Roll up your car’s windows and make sure all doors are locked.
  • Always keep the number of a reliable service like Chicago Towing on hand.
  • Always have your keys on hand while you’re walking to your car – as well as your phone, just in case you need to quickly dial 911.
  • Never leave valuable possessions like expensive clothes or electronics in a visible area of your parked car while you’re away from it.
  • When you’re walking to your car, look around for any suspicious people lingering inside the area.
  • If you feel unsafe, ask a security guard or nearby person to escort you to your car.
  • Put all of your shopping bags inside the trunk, rather than conspicuously in the back seat of the car.
  • Lock the car doors as soon as you enter the vehicle.
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Unofficial Traffic Crimes

traffic-rules-chicago

There’s traffic crimes – the type that can get one arrested or ticketed – and there’s traffic infractions, that break the collective ‘rules of the road’ and can potentially create dangerous, or minimally, annoying situations for other drivers. Here are some of Towing Chicago‘s choices for the worst offenders.

 

Refusing to use blinkers

There’s nothing more annoying than sitting in traffic and have somebody quickly pull in front of you, causing you to surprisingly slam on your breaks. If they used their turn signal, it wouldn’t be nearly as startling and dangerous.

 

Parking Spot Thievery

If someone is obviously waiting for someone to pull out so they can take their parking spot, don’t swoop in and take it – it’s straight up rude and completely inconsiderate.

 

Following people walking to their cars

Sometimes it’s hard to find a parking spot – we can all identify with the maddening search for an empty spot when all you want to do is get home and take your shoes off. However, it’s flat out creepy to stalk someone leaving a store carrying bags to their car, because not only is it vaguely threatening, but it rudely passively asks the person to walk faster – just circle around the block and drive slowly to look for an available spot.

 

Switching between bike and road rules

If you’re riding a bike, make sure to follow all the other collective rules that would apply to an automobile driver. Stop at all stop signs and lights, face the correct way, and obey all right of way laws. Just because you’re on a bike doesn’t mean you’re diplomatically immune from all the rules of the road. This goes the same to motorized wheelchairs – which should be operated on the sidewalk, where it’s much safer.

 

Waving Thank you

Being stuck in traffic can be aggravating. Which is why it’s such a  sigh of relief when somebody finally courteously allows you to pass to get into your needed lane. If you’re being allowed to pass into a lane, be a person and wave thank you to the driver interrupting their schedule to slow down enough to allow you to merge – it will show them that their kindness and courtesy is appreciated, and will encourage them to demonstrate similar kindness to other strangers. Good deeds beget other good deeds – especially on the road.

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Winter Towing

holidays-chicago

Now that the weather is getting colder, many parts of Chicago are already freezing. Towing can be a very hard task to complete, and towing in icy weather is even harder – even when you’re using a truck complete with four wheel drive. Here are our tips for safe Winter towing.

Snow Chains

This is an absolute must. Tire chains provide the extra traction that’s necessary for safe driving on snow or ice, and lessen any chances of jackknifing on a cold highway. Park your truck on a flat area with 10 feet of clearance in front and behind your truck. Put a chain down next to both front tires, with studs facing down. Put the end of each chain on the front of the tire where it’s making contact with the ground. Slowly drive the truck forward until the tires are centered onto the chains. Pull each end of the chain over the top of each tire, giving a small amount of slack room. Attach the closing device to each end of the chain – and remember that some snow chains will need you to install tension cords on the chain links using hooks or nuts. Drive the truck a short amount of room within the recommended speed limit paying attention to whether you hear any jarring noises that might mean that the chains aren’t tight enough.

Attaching the Towing Chain

Back up the truck to the back of the towed vehicle – ideally the area next to the driving wheels, since that end’s axle is likely more durable. If that part of the vehicle isn’t accessible, just use the other one. Make sure the two vehicle’s bumpers aren’t any more than 3 feet away from each other, and place the tow truck in parking mode. Wrap one side of the towing chain over the top of the truck’s back axle, making sure that it’s not accidentally wrapped around any wires or hoses. Put one side of the chain over the other end, and attach the chain end hook to the link above the axle. Make sure the chain loops are as tight as possible. Do the same actions to the other end of the chain.

Towing

Make sure both vehicle’s wheels are parallel and straight – ask the driver of the stuck vehicle to place their car in neutral and stay inside the vehicle. This will help the vehicle’s physics remain in synchronization with each other. Put your truck in the lowest gear facing forward to help prevent the tires from spinning or slipping. Slowly accelerate the gas pedal to slowly increase tension on the chain, making sure your wheels are still straight. Drive straight at a steady slow pace while traction increases, and once you’re moving more smoothly, make your speed faster at a very slow pace. Just be careful, as the drivers in front of you may pose a danger – the main danger being a driver who strikes their brakes suddenly – so it’s best to keep as much distance between your truck, the vehicle you’re towing, and any other cars in front of you. Once the towed vehicle is on firm non icy ground, stop the truck in a safe place – and of course, always make sure that your brake lights are on when you’re stopping.

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Dogs and Car Travel

dog-and-transport

If you’re the lucky owner of a dog, you might feel at odds when embarking on a family trip. Travel can be stressful for dogs, but with the right preparation, it can be both safe and fun. Here are 10 tips for safely driving along with your canine companion.

Safe Securing

Make sure that your dog is secure in a ventilated carrier. Many carriers are available, from wire mesh or plastic ones, to carriers with soft sides. Just make sure it’s large enough for your dog to fully stand, lay down, and turn around inside. We recommend allowing your pet to get comfortable with being inside the carrier earlier than right before you leave on your trip.

Training

Get your doggy ready for long trips by taking them on short drives in the crate, making the drive longer each subsequent time.

Feeding

Make sure to feed your pet at least 3 to 4 hours before you leave. It’s best not to feed them during the drive.

Never leave dogs alone in a car

Never leave any pet (or child for that matter) by themselves inside a parked car. During hot days, parked cars become like ovens, and in cold weather, they become like freezers.

Safety Kits

Make sure to bring your pet’s travel papers, medicine, food, water, bowl, leash, poop scoop, plastic bags, grooming tools, first aid kit, and any familiar toys that may make your dog feel more safe and comfortable.

IDs

Make sure that your dog has a microchip with their information embedded and always wears a collar with your home address and number on it, as well as any important contact or medical information.

Window Safety

As fun as it looks ,never let your dog stick their head out the window while you drive. Keep the dog in the back seat, inside their box, with their harness snugly and safely attached to a seat belt.

Cross State Safety

If you’re traveling to a different state than your home state, make sure to bring along any vital medical information for your dog, including rabies vaccination records.

Water

Bring your own tap water in jugs, or simply buy bottled water. Additives inside local water might hurt your pet’s stomach.

Accident Proofing

We recommend, especially if you’re traveling with your dog in front, to invest money in floor liners made of rubber and seat covers that are waterproof – just in case they pee. These are all available at the majority of car accessory stores, or pet supply stores.

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Tow Truck Facts you may not know

pic-of-tow-truck

Towing, if you haven’t already learned it, is the art of coupling two or more objects (usually vehicles) together so that they can be pulled or transported by a power source – which can be a human, animal, vessel, or other vehicle. IN the past, before we all relied on vehicles, animals and people did all the towing work. Nowadays boats and motorized land vehicles do it – boats are usually used in maritime or aircraft related industries – and on land, vehicles are used to tow other vehicles. Here’s some facts about tow trucks you might not know:

 

Tow Trucks don’t equal Motor Carriers

Tow trucks are motorized land trucks meant to transport disabled, broken, impounded, or wrongly parked vehicles. Motor carriers are different – they are trailers meant to carry cars, usually for commercial purposes – and usually for the efficient transfer of passenger vehicles.

 

Start of the Tow Truck

Tow trucks were invented in 1916 by SR. Ernest Holmes – who needed to improvise a way to use blocks, ropes, and manpower to pull a car out of a creek. He developed the tow truck design, which involves a flat surface behind the truck which an operate as a bed that can easily carry a car.

 

Evolution of Tow Trucks

At first only traditional tow trucks existed, but as the car industry grew, the tow truck evolved over times. Today, there’s over five kinds of tow trucks: notably the Boom, Wheel-Lift, Hook and Chain, Integrated, and Flatbed (the most commonly used.)

 

Tow Truck Museum

The International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee (the hometown of Sr. Ernest Holmes) shows antique tools, wreckers, tow trucks, equipment, and photographs documenting the history of the industry created by Holmes.

 

Tough Regulations

The tow trucking industry is heavily regulated by Congressional laws and acts – in order to drive a tow truck, you must possess a license for it – so not everyone can just get behind the wheel from off the street and start long hauling or recovering cars.

 

Safest Option

Flatbed tow trucks are the most commonly used because they are the absolute safest and simplest choice. Their design gets rid of the possibility that you’ll cause extra damage to your car’s underside and transmission, and they don’t allow the car’s wheels to hang off the sides while it’s being transported.

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Increase the Longevity of your Vehicles

pic-of-broken-down-car

Were you aware that the majority of insurance companies estimate that vehicles have about 10 years of useful life before they need to get scrapped. While there’s many older vehicles that don’t maintain a practical gas economy and a environmentally efficient fuel standard, there’s many others that will remain efficient for years to come. Many people at the Environmental Transport Association even recommend keeping a somewhat older vehicle, that it’s somewhat cleaner to hang on to it rather than buy a new one altogether.

 

If you follow a maintenance schedule, you can double your car’s life and spend much less time at the repair shop or gas station. There’s many ways to help minimize the natural degradation of your vehicle’s quality – here’s some of the best tips:

 

Windshield Wipers

These need to be replaced from time to time, however you can definitely extend their lifespan. Wipe off the rubber portion of the wipers with denatured alcohol or sandpaper on a monthly basis to keep them flexible. You only need to replace the rubber squeegee, not the metal rod, unless it’s been seriously bent.

 

Tires

Longevity of your tires depends on their craftsmanship about thirty percent, and up to seventy percent the amount of care and maintenance you give then. Make sure that they are fully inflated (best times to do this are when the seasons change,) properly aligned, and that they are rotated on a regular basis as recommended by their manufacturer. This will help avoid uneven early wear and tear.

 

Brakes

Don’t speed up and brake rapidly when driving, rather break slowly and gradually. By letting your vehicle slowly stop by timing the release of the accelerator you can really reduce the amount of damage towards your brakes.

 

Batteries

Batteries should last years, but you need to keep the battery and it’s connection clean (try using a tablespoon of baking soda mixed with water as a cleaning solution) as well as properly insulated. Don’t run car accessories for long periods of time unless the engine is running – and if you can, check your vehicle’s water levels to make sure they are at the right level, and if you’re not driving your vehicle for long periods of time, try using a solar battery charger to keep the battery well primed.

 

Use Synthetic Oil

Synthetic oil lasts twice as long as regular motor oil due to it’s formula which doesn’t break down under high temperatures – this way you can extend your maintenance schedule by almost 6 months.

 

Get a lifetime washable air filter

These are more expensive than paper filters, but should last for the entire lifetime of your vehicle. It should be said that a special kind of oil is required to reactivate the filter after it’s washed, but almost anybody can perform this sort of maintenance.

 

Keep your Vehicle Covered

Metal and plastic, when exposed to the elements ,can break down rather quickly. Intense heat and sun can make a vehicle degrade – and so can rain and snow. To slow down the process of your car’s paint degrading and rusting, store your vehicle inside a garage or at least under a carport or car cover. This will help your vehicle’s exterior looking new – as well as lengthen the general longevity of the vehicle, and your chances of selling it in the future – increasing its level of being able to get re-used.

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Choosing the Right Towing Service

other-pic-of-tow-truck

Tow trucks can be a serious saving grace when your car is having mechanical problems. You simply call up the car towing company, and the team will be there incredibly fast in order to tow your vehicle back for repairs. Tow trucks are designed to tow many kinds of vehicles without causing any damage – and here’s how to select a good towing company.

 

Make sure you’re working with the right company

 

Not every towing company is the same – it shouldn’t be hard to find one, but finding a trustworthy, efficient, and professional one can be more difficult. Nobody wants to be left stranded or dealing with car trouble. Make sure that your head is clear in these moments so you can analyze the towing company’s details over the phone, and so that you can properly explain your predicament. It couldn’t hurt to keep these tips in mind:

 

  • It’s essential for you and your vehicle’s well being that you make a wise choice on what company you really want to use before the necessity of calling them comes up. Do research before you find your car in a breakdown predicament, in order to save the stress and headache of finding one when you’re stuck on the side of the road. Of course, Chicago Towing is the best possible option for you if you’re in the State of Illinois.
  • Use the internet or ask family or friends for suggestions as to what they use – make sure to ask people that you trust – and this way you can have a closer idea about what services to avoid completely.
  • Contact your automobile insurance agent – they will tell you what services they life to work with the most.
  • Make sure to ask the towing company what distance they are willing to tow your vehicle for, and whether they require upfront payment, or if they accept your insurance company’s payment for the towing services.
  • Make sure to choose a towing company that’s open 24/7, and one that offers roadside support – as well as additional services that might be necessary, like tire changing or vehicle jumpstarts.

If you choose an unprofessional towing service, it might be possible that you’ll need extra work performed even after your vehicle is towed – the possibilities for damage to your car while being towed are almost endless when you’re working with an untrustworthy service. It’s essential that you work with a company with longstanding experience, one you can trust – it’s just safer for your car, more practical for your wallet, and kinder to your sense of peace-of-mind (which can be a true godsend in moments of stress like car breakdowns.)

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Dog Vehicle Safety Tips

Dog Vehicle Safety Tips

September is a fantastic time to take road trips with friends families – and even pets. If you have a dog in your home, you might understand how it’s a part of the family. It comes wherever you do, and cares for you on an emotional level that resonates with both being mammal and being human. Before you all pile into the car, it’s important to understand the procedures necessary to safely travel with your dog.

 

Crates

This is one option. Make sure that you choose the right size crate for your dog, and purchase a crash tested and safety certified crate – like the 4Pets ProLine box. The best kinds of crates are plastic and aluminum, reinforced with fiberglass. Make sure that the crate you buy has good air circulation. It’s important that the safes are well insulated to protect your dog’s comfort in any season. Brands to trust will offer a warranty for at least 2 years. We recommend buying crates with internal crash bags, and perhaps a ramp or tiny stairs to help your dog climb in and out of the car easily.

 

Take Breaks

Dogs need to stretch their muscles too. Every couple of hours, take a stop to allow your dogs (and yourself) to stretch and go to the bathroom. Bring a few large bottles of water for yourself and your dogs, as well as a bowl so they can easily enjoy some refreshing hydration at any road stop.

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