Why You Shouldn't Ignore Your Warning Lights

Franklin, TN Automotive Experts | Heaven Sent Automotive



Newer cars are now equipped with a dashboard full of indicator lights. These lights alert the driver of potential dangers and are signs to attend to your car’s needs or to get the car to a service station as soon as possible.


The Dreaded Check Engine Light


Most drivers have seen this indicator appear on their dashboards since it is the most common warning signal to become activated. In 1996 automakers designed and created what is known as the On-Board Diagnostic System which is a standardized diagnosis and troubleshooting system. Throughout the automobile sensors continually scan the car and record its operations and emit the data it collects in the form of OBO codes. These codes are then read by technicians to determine why the Check Engine light was activated.


Tire Pressure Light


The tire pressure light turns on when the car’s tires are either underinflated or overinflated. Every car has different tire pressure suggestions from the manufacturer that can be found on the driver’s side door jamb. After removing the valve stem on the tire, use a tire gauge to read the current pressure. If the tire has a lower than recommended pressure you will need to add air. If the tire is already overinflated use the other end of the tire gauge to press the pin inside the valve stem to release air and bring it back to the correct pressure.


Brake Light


The brake fluid in your car runs through the brake lines attached to all four wheels. The fluid allows the car to slow down or stop when you depress the brake pedal. When the brake light turns on there are several possible causes. The car’s brake fluid could be low due to a faulty seal or cracked brake fluid reservoir. The brake light will also light when you accidentally are driving with the emergency brake engaged. Most newer cars now come equipped with Anti-Lock Breaking systems (ABS). These systems automatically pump the brakes when a fast-stopping event is occurring. The pumping action prevents the car’s wheels from locking and allows the driver to place all their attention on steering the car and not have to worry about controlling the brake system. One other cause is the brake’s sensors are malfunctioning.



Air Bag Light


If this indicator is present on the dashboard, stop driving immediately. This light indicates there is something wrong with a seatbelt or with the airbags. It is not safe to drive the car when the airbag light is on.



Oil Pressure Light


This indicator warns the driver that the oil pressure is low. Common causes of low oil pressure are the oil is dirty and needs to be replaced, the oil is low and needs replenishing, or there is an oil leak somewhere in the car that needs repair.


Thermometer Light


The thermometer light indicates a dangerous situation is occurring and the car is getting too hot. A failed water pump is often the cause but a coolant leak or a failed thermometer can also be the culprit.


Transmission Temperature Light


Another light associated with a car that is running too hot is the transmission temperature light. Adding transmission fluid will rectify this problem.


Power Steering Light


There are three different types of steering systems. They are hydraulic power steering, electro-hydraulic steering systems, and motor-driven power steering. In all three types, when the system has failed, the light will go on indicating a low steering fluid level.


Washer Fluid Light


This indicates the window washer fluid reservoir needs replenishing. If, after filling the reservoir, the light remains on then a faulty sensor is a cause.


Regardless of your driving experience or the age of your car, a warning light on your dashboard is not something that should be ignored. Taking corrective steps as soon as a warning signal comes on may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in potentially more serious conditions that could develop due to dismissing the warning signal. Safety first is the best motto when it comes to your car.



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