Here in Northern Minnesota going in the ditch is a common occurrence for some. Tonight I stopped to help a couple who went sailing off the highway into a field. When I pulled off the road my passenger side wheels sunk in the snow. The tow truck that arrived for the original vehicle offered to give me a tug to get me on my way. My work car is a front-wheel drive 1999 Monte Carlo with 227k miles affectionately know as the G Mobile. My goal is to keep her to 250k. The tow truck driver decided he wanted to pull the car from the rear and told me to put it in neutral and not touch the wheel. Holy Moly!!! I was only in a few inches but now I was being dragged sideways through lots of snow! When I drove away I felt tires that almost seemed flat but that concern worked itself out. I hit 30 mph and realized I was going straight but my steering wheel was not at 12 o’clock but 10 o’clock and I was sliding on dry pavement. Steering became too unstable and I drove between 10-20 mph before I reached the nearest town. I did not try to drive any further and settled in for the night. My plan is to get a tow home in the morning 90 miles north. No idea what is wrong - hubby wants to dump the G Mobile. Any ideas what to look for? No flat tires. If I was on rough snow packed road I was moderately OK (but never went over 30 mph) but if it was dry pavement or became slightly wet I would start to slide mostly to the right. I could go in reverse, hard left and right, but straight forward a nightmare. Ideas???
Dragging a car sideway out of a Minnesota ditch can cause damage to a lot of things. My money is on a caliper (or flex line) having been damaged in a way that’s causing the pads to drag.
Having the car towed to the garage instead of trying to drive it is a very smart move. It’s unfortunate that the tow driver didn’t call in a colleague to tow you when he dragged you out, although I suspect you didn’t realize you had a problem until he was already gone.
Post back with the verdict. We do care.
Well, like mountainbike said - who knows? It could be all sorts of things after that.
But instead of paying for a 90 mile tow home, what are the odds that you could just get up in the morning and find a local shop that does alignments? Tell them what happened and have it given a once over. Perhaps the G Mobile doesn’t need much and they put you right back on the road. Or perhaps it is more than you want to deal with, and you at least save yourself the cost of the tow home.
I agree with cig and same. We drop into ditches a lot around here. There may be a lot of frozen material in there, much of which could work it’s way out in a warm garage. Have it towed to a garage and I bet the trouble will be found under a lot of snow and quite fixable. But, you know, it could be a blessing in disquise. An old car that can’t survive a pull out may be due for replacement .
I wonder if it isn’t just snow/ice packed up in there from being dragged through the plowing windrow. I went into a ditch once and had similar problems. Mechanical chiseling out of the hard pack was required.
…and the winner is? Tow truck driver that did not know what to attach the pull chain to! Rear steering arm was not a good choice,(I think that’s what the shop called it). Rear tires toed in. Glad I did not cause an accident trying to get to a safe place to call for the second tow truck! Towed the G Mobile 90 miles to a shop close to home…thank goodness for AAA. Now just waiting for the estimate…any guesses? And all I was trying to do was help someone out. Guess that old saying applies here - “No good deed goes unpunished” Ouch!
Sincere thanks for the follow up post. It does my heart good to know the problem was readily diagnosable and (it is) readily repairable. I don’t have access to the repair standards, but a few hundred is one heck of a lot cheaper than a new car. Expect to also need a 4-wheel alignment. That’ll add about a hundred, but perhaps he’ll fit it into the bill and you’ll get off less expensively.
Again, thanks for posting. Sincere best.
My wife dropped her car into ditch a few years back. She casually mentioned it to me after she insisted we leave in 45 minutes to visit the kids, 300 miles away. Luckily, all of are cars will be equipped with trailer hitches to which I insert a hook for just such occasions. A chain, a tractor with a 2000 lb lift capacity and you can easily lift the car up and out of the ditch without dragging it, in about 15 minutes of prep time. That was her only mistake driving in here ever. YOU deserve a new car too. Put a hitch on the next one. Tow hooks on the front are often easy to find but the back can always use a hitch.
I’m in Minnesota too and northern MN can get pretty lonely so you are pretty much obligated to stop and render assistance.