There are certain mechanical problems you may be facing with your car that make it obviously unsafe to drive; if the brakes go out or you cannot control the steering, then of course you want to have your car towed to a repair shop. However, there are other times when you may simply be overlooking certain telltale signs of serious mechanical issues. Note a few of those signs here so you know when you should have your car towed rather than drive it, even to a shop.
Clunk, clunk, clunk
Your car should never make any type of clunking noise, yet many car owners overlook this noise if their car can still run. A clunking sound from a tire can mean that a lug nut is broken; this can allow your tire to simply fly off the car while driving. A clunking sound from one side of the car can mean a broken shock or spring; your car might actually slam to the ground when you hit a bump, causing severe damage to any number of parts or even breaking an axle.
This clunking could also be a broken tie rod; this is the long rod that connects the tires to the steering system. When a tie rod breaks, you typically cannot control one wheel as it is now being dragged along with the car. All of these are very dangerous situations when on the road.
Smoke and a sticky console
If you see a bit of smoke from under the hood of your car and your dashboard warning light doesn't indicate that the car is overheating, this usually mean a fluid leak. Some type of fluid is probably leaking onto the exhaust or other part, then burning up and smoking. If you have a hard time getting your car in or out of gear at the same time, this probably means that your car is leaking transmission fluid. Ignoring this can allow your transmission to burn up so it needs replacing, and if it fails when on the road, your car may simply slip into neutral while you're behind the wheel.
If your car clicks before the engine turns over, this typically means a problem with the electrical system. The alternator may not be recharging the battery or the system may not be getting enough power. Ignoring this can mean a number of electrical components give out while on the road, including the fan that keeps the engine cool and pumps that deliver fluid under the hood. In turn, your car could shut down, overheat, or otherwise be very unsafe when on the road.
For more information or assistance, consult with a local towing company.