8 Signs of Vehicle Trouble That Tell You to Pull Off the Road Immediately

Encountering an issue while driving is not anything unusual. It happens even to the best of us. Most of the time, you feel anxious and frustrated, especially when you have to be somewhere important. You could be late for a meeting with a new client or a conference with your colleagues. You need to be there on time, but then something occurs on the road. It gets complicated because you cannot typically afford to stop and check the cause of the issue.

Oftentimes, you ignore certain signs. There are also occasions when you don’t know what to do, so you just keep driving. Unfortunately, continuing on the road is not always a good idea. Inexperienced drivers may be unaware of specific vehicle troubles that call for them to stop and pull over right away.

This guide is intended to help drivers. Next time you see any of the following signs, make sure you pull off or park your car on the safe side of the road, and call Fast Melbourne Towing immediately:

Road warning device and broken down car.


1. Flashing Lights

This first one is not actually because of a vehicle problem, but it can be an inconvenience if you’re in a hurry. Nevertheless, it would be best if you always pulled off the road when you see flashing lights behind you. They could be from an emergency vehicle. If you did a specific traffic violation, the police might be after you. Whatever it may be, check your rear-view mirror.


2. Steam Appearing Out of Nowhere

You know the saying, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” In the case of your car, it should be taken in a literal sense. There is no question that you should pull off immediately once you see steam billowing from under the hood of your car. It’s a sure sign there is something to worry about.

What’s the difference between steam and smoke?

  • Steam

When you see steam coming from your vehicle, it is an indication that there is something wrong with its cooling system. In other words, your coolant is not functioning correctly, causing it to overheat. At this point, you may want to check your engine temperature warning light. You should also observe your temperature gauge reading, which shows that the temperature is higher than normal.

There is no need for you to check your radiator. Please leave this task to the pros. Instead, you should contact us and then your mechanic after. We’ll take care of the towing and get your car safely to the repair shop.

  • Smoke

Smoke means there are flames in your car, which may be coming from under the hood. This situation is serious and dangerous. The first thing that you need to do is to remain calm as you look for a spot that’s as far off the pathway as possible. Park the car there, turn the engine off, and get out as quickly as you can.

If you’re with passengers, make sure they leave the car with you. Everyone should be about 30 metres away from the vehicle as you assess the situation.

If there is no fire, you can call a mechanic before having the car towed. However, if you see a fire coming out or the car is burning, you should call 000 to report and get help. You may want to contact your car insurance provider, too. You may be covered for fire accidents, which could help ease some of the burdens.

Regardless of the difference, you should always pull off the road. If it is just steam or a little bit of flame that you can put out easily, please call Fast Melbourne Towing so we can help take your vehicle to the nearest auto body repair shop.

Man checking looking at smoking car engine.


3. Shaky Steering Wheel

Do you find it difficult to handle your car? If there are sudden changes in your steering wheel, you may want to pull off. You must stop driving as quickly as you can if you have passengers. It will be even more challenging to manoeuvre the car with the added weight.

Car handling issues are often noticeable, so you will know right away if your car is not functioning properly. You will often see that it has become trickier to drift and turn or even pull to one side. If your steering wheel shows abnormal changes, particularly in how it reacts and feels, you should stop driving immediately. It’s a sign that you do not have control over the vehicle anymore.

When such a problem occurs, it can impact your safety. Inspect what’s going on to know what could be the exact cause. There are times when steering wheel handling becomes problematic because the road surface is uneven. Your vehicle is merely reacting by wobbling back and forth. However, you could be in danger if the cause is serious, such as malfunctioning brakes, blown-out tyre, or loose wheel.


4. Loud Noises

Hearing loud noises coming from the vehicle may not be due to a car problem at all. However, if they keep recurring, these noises may prompt you to pull off the road. Maybe you have just driven over a big piece of debris on the road. It could also be a severe issue, such as an engine problem that requires a quick solution. Whichever it is, you should always inspect what may be causing the sound. Even if you just pull over and do a speedy check, it would help a lot.

Some sounds are recognisable. Here are some of them and what they mostly mean:

  • Constant knocking under the vehicle’s hood tells you that you have bad bearings. It typically sounds similar when your washing machine is off-centre or perhaps when you put shoes inside your dryer. This incessant knocking means that your engine is exhausted, causing the bearings to wear out.
  • Loud sounds may be due to a damaged muffler. If your car seems more audible than before and there are no other weird sounds, it may be a sign that you should change the muffler.
  • If you have an automatic transmission vehicle, your torque converter will cause certain sounds once it’s worn. It usually denotes that your transmission fluid is too low, which can lead to a torque converter failure.

Loud noises do not always mean an emergency. However, taking a few seconds to look at the car, especially the engine, can save you from expensive repairs and, more importantly, possible driving hazards.


5. Brake Warning Light

Only a few things will stop you from driving, and one is when you see your brake warning light come on. It tells you that there is an issue with the braking system, which is potentially hazardous. Therefore, you cannot put it off or delay any required repair.

When the brake warning light is on, it only means that the brake system is problematic. If you just began driving or even started your car, don’t proceed with your journey.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Check that the parking brake is disengaged. Your car probably has one warning light for parking and the brake system. Make sure that the parking brake is released by releasing its mechanism. If the light remains on, then the problem lies on the brakes.
  • Turn off the engine and don’t drive.
  • Call Fast Melbourne Towing so that we can transport your car to your trusted mechanic.

Meanwhile, you could be driving, and you suddenly see that the brake light comes on and stays on even after pressing the brake pedal. Your car has two separate hydraulic systems for the brakes. You can safely bring your vehicle to a stop even if one system is faulty. However, you should not expect the car to stop like normal because you will only use one hydraulic system.

Dashboard showing brake warning light.


6. Oil Level Warning Light

When the oil warning light is on, it typically means that your oil level is low. In some cases, the pressure is not enough to dispense the oil throughout the car engine. Whichever the reason may be, you should always stop driving. If you don’t, you will end up drying up the engine, which can cause more problems because there is not enough lubrication. You should immediately call us and then your mechanic to let them know you will have your vehicle towed to their shop.


7. Engine Temperature Warning Light

This warning light is a part of your car’s dashboard because it is supposed to tell you when it is time to check your engine for problems. Therefore, you should pull off the road automatically if the engine temperature light comes on. Don’t panic, though; it does not always mean there is something significant. Usually, the engine light can turn on because the gas cap is missing.

But there is only one way to be sure why this particular light is on, and that is to assess your engine. It’s not a worthwhile risk to continue driving when you see the engine light is on. Even if it is a straightforward issue, you should immediately sort it out when you pull over.


8. Weird Smell

Do you smell something funny? Unfortunately, it is not a laughing matter when your car is involved. It is often a signal that something abnormal is happening inside the vehicle, especially if it is unpleasant.

Here are things that you need to watch out for:

  • The smell of petrol, which means fuel leakage
  • The smell of burning wiring, which usually denotes electrical issues
  • The smell of hot rubber or boiling coolant, which is a sign of cooling system issues

An unusual odour can indicate that there is a bigger problem looming. Make sure that you quickly pull off the road, shut off your car, and contact a mechanic.

In every situation that requires you to stop driving and pull off the road, call us. We will take care of the next important step, which is to ensure your car arrives safely and quickly at the auto repair shop. Fast Melbourne Towing can help you handle all roadside challenges by meeting your towing needs.