Two situations in which you should take your car to a mechanic immediately

There are some car problems which can safely be ignored for many weeks (or even months). However, should you notice any of the following symptoms, you should have your car examined and repaired by a mechanic immediately.

An oil leak near the rear axle

The rear axle houses a very important component known as the differential. This item is made of several metal gears, which work together to allow the car's wheels to spin at different rates when the vehicle is turning a corner. This ensures that the outer wheels, which need to travel farther than the inner ones during a turn, can rotate at a faster speed.

The gears that make up a differential are lubricated by oil. If the container that holds this oil springs a leak, the gears will start to rub against each other. This friction can not only erode the edges of the gears, but can also result in the wheels seizing up when the vehicle is making a turn.

Depending on the circumstances in which it occurs, a broken differential could be very dangerous. If you cannot maintain control of your car whilst turning a corner and there are other cars approaching you from behind, you could create a pile-up which might result in you or other people being injured.

As such, it is vital to keep an eye out for signs of oil leaks near the rear axle. If you spot any grease droplets on the ground directly underneath this part of the vehicle's undercarriage, you should seek out a mechanic who offers differential repair as soon as possible.

White smoke emerging from exhaust pipe

Thick white smoke coming from your vehicle's exhaust pipe is usually indicative of a leaking head gasket. This component lies within the engine block and serves as a seal, which prevents coolant from escaping.

If the head gasket develops a leak, it can lead to a number of serious problems. Loss of coolant can destroy your engine in a very short period of time by causing the engine's components to overheat. If the leaking fluid is not cleaned up quickly enough, it can also lead to the corrosion of metal components.

Given this, if you notice white smoke emerging from the exhaust pipe, you must act fast to ensure that your engine does not sustain irreversible damage. Whilst broken head gaskets can be expensive to repair, they will cost far less than a full engine replacement.