If your car is still driveable after getting in a wreck or when you're having roadside car trouble, it's natural to want to save money by driving the car to a repair shop rather than calling the tow truck. But are there times when calling a tow truck could actually save you money?
An Expensive Tow Vs. Expensive Repairs
Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Sometimes, the damage to your car will only get worse if you attempt to drive it, even just the few miles to the nearest shop. While a tow could cost you close to $100, car repairs can become much, much more expensive than that when a damaged engine is damaged further by driving.
Of course, if you have roadside assistance, calling your insurance or roadside service company is always the safest bet rather than trying to hobble the vehicle further down the road. If not, you'll need to rely on your knowledge of the car, including how it usually drives, smells, feels, and sounds. Here are a few telltale signs that you should get your car towed.
6 Signs You Need a Tow
- Leaking fluids. Check for wet or dripping spots under the front of the car. If it's just wiper fluid, there's no danger, but coolant or fuel leaks could be bad. Coolant leakage could lead to engine overheating, even in just a few miles of driving, which can cause some serious damage. (Check the temperature gauge for signs of overheating, as well.) Leaking fuel can become very dangerous, as the fuel could ignite and cause an explosion.
- Watch out for any physical damage of any components connected to the wheels. Broken brake lines, control arms, etc. could lead to a very dangerous ride. If you were hit from the side or had impact affecting the wheels, check carefully for damage that could cause loss of control or loss of braking ability. (If you notice fluid around the inside of the tires, this could indicate damaged brake lines.)
- A front-end collision. Even if you don't see some of these more obvious signs, a front-end accident likely means a damaged radiator, which could also lead to engine overheating.
- Smoke, or a burning smell. Smoke coming from under the hood or out of the tailpipe could mean serious engine problems or engine cooling problems.
- Weird noises. Grinding noises from the brakes, knocking or whirring noises from under the hood, or noises that get louder as RPMs increase are all signs of damage that will likely only worsen as you continue driving.
- Warning dashboard lights, especially if the Check Engine light is flashing or the oil pressure light is on.
Take your car to All in the Wrist Auto Repair to get any damage diagnosed and fixed, and make sure you and your car get there safely by getting your car towed when it needs to be towed.