Garage clearance prevents towing

Last week, I parked on the bottom floor of the “free” parking garage like I always do. I sped passed the rows of parked and abandoned cars down the ramp to the bottom floor. Prior to the day’s events, I had a theory that parking on the bottom floor would protect my vehicle both from other cars as well as the elements.

So I parked, went to class, ate lunch with some friends and made my way back. With a 45-minute commute ahead of me and an hour until I was scheduled to work, I put my key in the ignition. The engine turned, and turned and turned. Deep Breath. I pumped the gas pedal, smacked the steering wheel, and tried again, but still – nothing.

I called a towing service, left a message, and left my car key in my unlocked car with my contact number for when the towing service arrived. I hitched a ride home and got a devastating call from the towing service. The towing service said they couldn’t get my car out because there wasn’t enough clearance in the garage.

It was a Monday night, I was broke and without a car, and worst of all my little green baby Corolla was unlocked and all alone in the great big world-with my digital camera, Gamecube, saxophone and a plethora of CDs inside.

After some serious venting, I considered my options. On the bright side I saved the $150 it was going to cost me to tow my car from campus to Bright, Ind. But, if the problem was anything easily fixable, then I didn’t want to waste the time and money to get it to a shop. Last time I took it to a shop I paid $130 just to check the electrical system then I had to pay upward of $300 for the part I needed and the installation.

Are there any other towing companies nearby that could get to my car? I called Rees-Hardy Towing and Bob’s Towing but neither company could be sure they could get into the parking garage. On top of that, it would cost me well over $100 to tow from either place because of the mileage from campus to home.

So I couldn’t use (or really afford) a tow truck, but what if I could tow it myself? I called Art’s Rental Equipment and they said it was $40 per day or $140 per week to rent a Tow Dolly that pulls your car from the front wheels. It sounded like pretty good deal.

So, with some luck, and rational thinking (although I will admit that my reaction to the situation was anything but rational), I got my car home and my dad was able to fix the distributor coil for about $60. A lot less than the towing and shop total would’ve been (probably over $500) although with a little more frustration.

I guess the moral of the story is if your car is not exactly brand new or ultra dependable maybe you shouldn’t park in the garage and if you do, and it breaks, consider towing it yourself.