When your car has broken down by the side of the road, you may be tempted to try some minor repairs on your own. If you're a mechanic or your car has a recurring problem that you know how to address, this might be an option; however, for most situations, you want to call for emergency breakdown services instead. Note when and why this is a better choice so you know what to do the next time your car acts up.
1. When you're stuck
If your car is stuck in the mud, sand, snow, and the like, you want to call a professional tow truck to get it out. Trying to rock your car back and forth or force it out may cause damage to the drive train and suspension. You might even just dig your car deeper into the mud or sand, making it worse. Trying to tie your vehicle to another vehicle can mean an improper connection that actually pulls parts out from under either car, or excessive wear and tear on the engine and transmission of the tow vehicle. Rather than risk all this, call for a tow truck.
2. When the car consistently stalls
A car might consistently stall because of a bad fuel pump or a sensor that doesn't keep the right ratio of fuel and oxygen in the engine. While you might be able to start your car again, it will often keep stalling under these conditions. You might then have it stall when you're in the middle of traffic; this can create a danger if another vehicle cannot stop in time to avoid you, and can also mean more difficulty for a tow truck to reach you. You might also do damage to the engine by trying to consistently restart it every time it stalls, so call for breakdown services instead if your car stalls out.
3. When the car overheats
If your car overheats, whether or not it then eventually dies, you don't want to assume you can drive it even a short distance. Heat causes damage to the engine that can be very expensive to repair; the engine may even seize up when it overheats so that your car suddenly stops in the middle of traffic. Always pull over and call for breakdown services when your car overheats, and especially if you notice smoke coming from under the hood as this means it's definitely running too hot.