With the recent passing of Tom Magliozzi, the beloved co-host (with his brother, Ray) of NPR’s Car Talk for 37 years, we thought we’d pass along his most important words of wisdom: “Get help!” But seriously, these are the funnyman’s top signs that your car needs immediate attention.
1. Strange smell If your car smells different than usual, it might be a forgotten meatball sub. Or it might be burning wire insulation or a gas leak.
2. Steam or water vapor This means your engine coolant is escaping, which could seriously overheat your engine. Stop the car and let it cool before you take off the radiator cap--unless you want to get scorched.
3. Sudden change in handling It could be anything from a bump in the road to a wheel about to fall off. Either way, stop and check it out.
4. Temperature or oil lights The former can signal severe overheating; the latter, a loss of crucial oil pressure. Pull over as soon as you safely can and stop the engine--even a few minutes’ delay can cost thousands in damage.
5. Loud noise This means a) you’ve run over something; b) something attached has come undone or c) something’s broken. If the noise was scary enough to make you wonder, it’s worth pulling over and calling for help.