Are you unsure of what to do when you're car is showing signs of trouble? You're not alone. You may feel helpless or unsafe. You'd probably prefer to make it to your destination before you call for help. Unfortunately, though, some issues are so serious that waiting even a few minutes can make all the difference between a minor repair and serious damage.
Here are three surefire signs that you need to pull over immediately and call for help:
The temperature is on or steam is coming out from under the hood. It's common for people to put off service related to the engine light. Many times the engine light simply means that the car is due for a tuneup. That's not the case with the temperature light. The temperature light comes on when the car's engine and other parts are overheating. This usually happens because the coolant level is too low.
If there's steam coming out from under your hood, it's likely because you didn't see your temperature light and continued to operate the vehicle. Steam is your last signal before your car suffers serious damage, like a blown cylinder head or gasket. Fixing that kind of damage can cost thousands of dollars.
You're having difficulty handling the car. It's not uncommon for a car's handling to have problems. The air pressure in the tires could change and affect handling. The surface of the road could change and also make handling slightly more difficult. These types of subtle handling variations are to be expected and shouldn't be cause for concern.
What should be concerning is if you're having trouble keeping the car on the road or if the car isn't following your steering wheel movements. That could indicate some disruption in the front axis. Don't try and force the issue as it's likely to only get worse. One wrong move or over-compensation could cause a serious accident, which could total your car or even cause major injuries.
Smoke or a burning smell. Obviously, you should never smell burning or see smoke in your car. Smoke or burning doesn't necessarily mean that your car is on fire. It could be that you simply have oil dripping onto a hot pipe somewhere. That's a relatively minor repair.
However, smoke or a burning odor could also mean that your car is about to catch on fire. There's no way to know whether the problem is minor or serious without pulling over and calling for help.
When you spot these signs, pull over in the first available safe location and turn the car. If you suspect a fire, get as far away from the car as possible. Then call a towing service. If you tell them the nature of the emergency, they'll likely get there as soon as possible. For more information, contact a company like R & R Towing with any questions or concerns you might have.