Getting bogged in the sand dunes

When to Call a Towing Service Rather Than Drive Your Car

by Andrea Muñoz

Thinking that your car is safe to drive simply because it can be turned on and put into gear is a mistake, if you're having certain mechanical issues with the car. In some cases you may put your own safety at risk when on the road, and in other cases, you may be risking more serious damage to your car by driving it. Note a few times when you want to call a towing service to get your car to a repair shop rather than drive it.

1. When the gearshift is very sticky

The gearshift of your car may be sticky for a number of reasons, but trying to force it into gear or out of park is probably only going to make matters worse. In some cases the chain under the shifter may be breaking down or seizing up, and trying to force the stick into gear can cause the chain to break. Your car may also be very low on transmission fluid, and if it were to leak out while you were on the road, your car may not hold the gear and slip into neutral. No matter the cause, don't try to force the gearshift but instead, have your car towed to a nearby shop.

2. When the shocks are obviously broken

You know your car's shocks are broken when your car slams down with every slight bump and dip in the road. Shocks are large springs that allow your car's axles to bounce slightly, and these shocks absorb the impact of those bumps and help to keep your car cushioned. Driving your car with broken shocks can mean damage to a number of parts that may make contact with the road. Without that cushioning provided by the shocks, you might also actually break an axle if you were to hit a very steep bump and your car slammed onto the pavement.

3. When a tire is flat

A tow truck can actually change your flat tire and put on the spare tire, but if you don't have a spare, it's best to avoid driving your car. A flat tire can be dangerous, for the same reasons that broken shocks are dangerous. The air in tires cushions your car against bumps and getting slammed onto the pavement. A flat tire is also very difficult for the brakes to grip, and your car might instead skid rather than stop when you hit the brakes. For your own safety, have your car towed if it has a flat.