Automotive Care's Guide to Dashboard Warning Lights

Drivers have experienced theses lights on their dashboards every now and then. Not all of us know exactly what they all mean however. The Check Engine light is probably the most widely known, and perplexes drivers every day. The check engine light is one of the most popular search terms for anything automotive related. Modern cars, however have warning lights for tire pressure, the cooling system, engine oil and other fluids. So, if you see one of these lights, what should you do? Keep going? Panic? Pull over? Should you stop where you are, or is it safe to get home? Take a sec. and read about Automotive Care's guide to dashboard warning lights.

Check Engine Light (Flashing vs. Solid)

We all know about the Check Engine Light. This light can indicate many different things, but you may not know that there is a distinction between a solid one and a flashing one. A check engine light that is lit and solid means a problem has occurred more than once – usually an emission-related problem – and you should get it checked out soon. Sometimes a check engine light will resolve itself, and one of the most common causes is a loose or damaged gas cap. In general, a solid check engine light is no cause for immediate alarm, but get it checked when you can. A flashing check engine light, on the other hand, is an urgent warning. When this light is flashing, you are actively doing damage to your engine and you should find a safe place to pull over and turn off the care immediately.

Battery Warning Light

This light, like many others, appears when you start your car, and probably vanishes soon after. If it doesn’t, or if it appears while you are driving, then there could be either a problem with your battery, an alternator fault (which charges the battery), or a problem with the drive belt that spins the alternator, if it has a dedicated one. In most modern cars, a single serpentine belt controls this and many other automated functions, and you’ll know if it fails by the loss of power steering, brakes, and many other functions. In any case, a battery warning light should be taken seriously. No one wants to be stranded anywhere. If your battery is over 2 years old, it may need replacing, and if not, suspect an alternator problem.

Oil Pressure Warning Light

This is another of those lights that appears when you start your car and promptly vanishes. If you ever see this light while driving, stop when you can and check your oil level. If you’re low on oil, just top it up, and start the engine again. If this doesn’t fix the problem, or if you weren’t low on oil, it could be an indicator of a more serious problem, so give a reputable mechanic like Fairfax Auto Repair a call.

ABS Light

This indicator signifies trouble with your anti-lock braking system. It doesn’t usually mean that you have no brakes, but the ABS system isn’t functioning. While this means you’ll likely be able to stop if you need do, if your vehicle has an ABS system, then it’s important, so get it checked out ASAP.

Brake and ABS Warning Light

If you see this light by itself, or this one along with ABS, stop driving as soon as possible. Don’t brake suddenly, just slow down gradually and safely and get yourself some assistance. This shows a problem with your brake system that is serious and dangerous.