It's never a good idea to assume that if you can start your car then it's okay to drive, and to overlook what could be signs of very serious repair work that should be done. If you were to drive your car while it needs certain repairs, you could cause even more damage and also put yourself and others at risk when on the road.
Note a few surprising signs of very serious repair work that could be needed for your car, and for when it's better to call for towing services:
1. When you have a severe shimmy
A shimmy means that the tires, usually those in front, shake or vibrate when you drive. There could a number of reasons for this; your car's tires may be severely out of alignment, or your car may be low on power steering fluid so that you cannot control the car as well with the steering wheel.
In either case, a severe shimmy makes it virtually impossible to control your car when on the road, and your brakes won't be able to grip the tires as well when they shimmy and vibrate this way. An alignment problem can also cause your car to pull in a certain direction when you step on the brake pedal, and this can be dangerous.
2. When the car pulls severely as you apply the brakes
If your car pulls to one side when you apply the brakes, this usually means that brake pads or rotors are worn down on that side. When brake pads or rotors are worn down so much that the car pulls, the pads can slip out of place and cause your car to slam to a stop, or the rotors may not give the pads anything to grip and in turn, your brakes fail.
3. When the oil light comes on
Dashboard lights are easy to ignore but remember that they're connected to sensors under the hood. You car needs adequate oil for lubrication and keeping your engine cool, so if oil levels get low, the engine could easily seize up. If the oil level is so low that the dashboard light comes on, either add oil to your engine before you drive it or have it towed to a nearby service station if you don't know how to do that properly. Never drive with the oil light on as the leak under the hood may be severe, and all the engine's oil could drain out while on the road.