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Knowing When to Pull Your Car Over Instead of Driving Home

Last updated 6 years ago

Sometimes auto problems can strike at the worst possible time, such as when you are driving on the highway or in heavy traffic. Understanding how to recognize the signs that indicate you should pull your car over rather than attempting to make it home—or even to the nearest service station—can help you avoid catastrophic damage and more costly repairs.

Indicator lights and gauges
Your car will often tell you when it needs immediate service through the lights and gauges on the dashboard. The check engine light is one of the most common indicators that your car requires service. If you’re driving and your check engine light illuminates and remains on, the problem is probably serious and needs to be addressed right away. The issue could be minor, but you can’t know without a proper diagnostic test.

As a rule, check your other gauges, including temperature and oil pressure, when the check engine light is on, and if you see excessive temperature readings coupled with very low oil pressure, safely pull off of the road and contact a towing service immediately. Likewise, if either of these gauges shows similar readings, even without an indicator light, it is better to pull over than to risk damaging your vehicle.

Visible or audible problems
Any time you witness smoke or steam coming from under the hood, slow down and pull your cover over. Never attempt to open your coolant reservoir or radiator if your car has overheated. Instead, contact your towing service for assistance. Another indicator of vehicle troubles is your engine’s behavior: unusual revving or jerking can indicate a broken belt or other engine issue that will require your car to be towed. Lastly, shuddering or unusual noises coming from your tires can indicate a potential flat or other problem that requires the assistance of a towing service.

Greulich’s Automotive Service & Collision provides comprehensive auto repair services. We can tow your vehicle if you encounter a roadside mishap. Give us a call at (480) 483-8186 to schedule a service with us, or visit our website for additional information.



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