Vehicle damage is one of those gray areas in towing that sometimes requires a crystal ball to divine the truth. Questioning drivers becomes a psychological exercise.  Outright denial is my favorite.  I called one driver shortly after he left work one day, and I explained to him that he had parked his truck a little too close to a vehicle in our storage lot.  He was driving an Eagle, and the fold cylinder had been leaking, so he flopped down the stinger before parking the truck, which was a good idea.  That way the stinger couldn't flop down on its own onto something important on its own.  Well, the problem was that he backed up a little too close to the Chrysler 300M that he was parking in front of.  "No way," he said.  "I know I didn't hit that car."  I explained to him that the end of the Eagle Claw was still inserted into the front bumper of the Chrysler.  "Someone else must have moved the truck," he said (he had been gone about 10 minutes).  Right, I said, and could he bring back the keys to the truck so we could move it away from the damaged vehicle?  Silence.I asked him if he had the keys still.  Might they be in one of his pockets? More silence.  "Yes," he finally admitted.

That conversation with the vehicle owner, when you tell them that their car has been damaged—always fun.

On another occasion, I had 2 complaints in one day for tow light damage.  Both vehicles had been towed by the same driver, from the same location, impounds.  A Mercedes SUV, and a Toyota Landcruiser.  The damage was similar, circular scratches matching the size of the round magnets used on magnetic Tow Lights, on the roof of the vehicle on the passenger-side.  The next time the driver came to the
lot, with a car in-tow, I came out and explained to him that I had received the complaints.  "No way," he said, "I'm always very careful when I take tow lights off the car."  No twisting, I asked?  "No, definitely not."  He was towing an old beater that had been abandoned, so I asked him to show me how careful he was, with the car he was towing.  He carefully lifted the tow lights off the car and put them on the back of his truck. Then I asked him to put them back on.  Rolling his eyes, he walked the lights back to the car, and carefully placed them on the car.  Then he plugged the cord back into the socket, grabbed the cord, and slung it up on top of the car from right next to the tow truck, like he’s on one end of a hellaciously long jump rope.  The cord hit the car's roof with a loud bang.  I walked over to the tow light on his side and showed him how it was now pointing sideways.  The pull on the cord was twisting the magnet around 90 degrees with gale-force whip action.  My next question, I said to him, is did you put the light back the right way without checking to see if you scratched the paint underneath, or did you drive to the lot with the light pointing sideways?

I wonder how many cars he damaged before someone looked on their roof.

One driver wanted to change a rear tire on a Chevy S10 pickup, but he didn't want to jack it up, so he lifted the rear with
his truck and placed a jackstand under the side with the flat tire.  Problem was, he placed the jackstand under the rear side panel of the truck, rather than the frame or a sturdy suspension component.  The fender folded.  At least he got the pleasure of being present when the vehicle owner witnessed the damage.

 Have a safe and profitable week.

Nick Kemper

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