If your car doesn't start in the morning or you have a flat tire, then you probably know to call a tow truck to jumpstart the battery or help you put on a spare tire. However, when you're on the road driving, there are times when you want to stop, pull over, and call an emergency tow truck, as some problems with your car can be serious even if you think you can still drive it. Note a few times when it's better to have your car towed than to drive it anywhere, and why.
Squealing and then a snap
A high-pitched squeal from your car can mean a number of problems, including bad bearings in the wheels. However, if you hear this squealing and especially when you first start your car, followed by a distinct snap and then no more squealing, this usually means you've broken a belt.
If the battery light on your dashboard goes on, this is probably the alternator belt. The alternator charges your battery while in use and if you continue to drive with a low battery, different pumps and the engine fan may stop working. In turn, your power steering may begin to lock up or your transmission won't be getting fluid, or your car could overheat. If the fan belt itself snapped, this too can lead to overheating.
Severe thumping and bumping
If your car seems to dip and thump every time you hit a small bump in the road, you may simply need new shocks or springs. When this sound is severe and you feel one side of your car actually thumping, this is usually something much more serious. You could have a broken strut, which is a vertical piece that holds a tire in place. When it's broken, this puts extreme stress on the shocks and tie rods that connect the tire to the steering column and you could literally see the tire become separated from the car itself.
A small crack or chip in your car's windscreen is very dangerous, as this small damage can easily become an entirely broken screen. When the damage does spread all the way across the window or when you can hear it snap or start to crack, you don't want to keep driving. That glass could shatter with any impact and even if it doesn't break completely, this could interfere with your ability to see clearly. You could also get ticketed for a broken windscreen and the ticket may be more expensive than the cost of a tow truck.