Being aware of your car dashboard lights will ensure that you will have a safe drive. Ignoring these lights may mean an accident, or at the very least, you will not be able to reach your destination.
Be Aware of the Lights
Each time you start your car, the lights on your dashboard glow as if they’re greeting you at the start of the day. After a few seconds that your engine is running, they will slowly fade away.
These lights are your eyes to almost everything that happens inside your car as it is running. Don’t ignore them and you will always be sure that your car will provide you a good ride wherever you want to go.
Your car is designed to warn you if anything is going wrong so that you can take the necessary measure to correct whatever the cause is. Be aware of the yellow and red indicators on your dashboard for they are there for a good reason.
These indicators actually monitor the engine coolant temperature, the engine oil pressure and the car’s electric charging system. If you are always aware of these lights, the chances of vehicle damage, or a roadside breakdown will be drastically reduced.
When you put the key inside the ignition switch and turn it on, the car’s warning lights should light up. The main lights should remain on until the engine starts and keeps on running.
If one of the warning lights fails to turn on, you have to check its related system. Consult your owner’s manual or you can call a mechanic from Valvoline or Walmart to be sure that nothing is wrong with your car.
What are the dashboard lights that you need to be aware of?
There are three main indicators lights that you must be conscious of while you are driving.
1. Engine Oil Pressure Indicator
On your dashboard, this light will usually be indicated by an oil can symbol or the word “OIL.” When it lights up, that means the engine has lost its supply of pressurized lubricating oil.
If you ignore this warning, it will cause severe engine damage which can occur within seconds. This light indicates the greatest potential for serious mechanical damage. But it also allows you to take appropriate action at the shortest possible time.
If this light does not fade but stays on you need to stop immediately on the side of the road. Shut off the engine and call a towing service so that your car can be brought to an auto repair shop.
Do not try to drive the vehicle any farther unless you are in a very dangerous situation. If you insist on driving it, you can significantly increase the extent of mechanical damage to the engine’s cylinder. Instead of just a minor repair you ran the risk of having a major repair or even a complete engine replacement.
2. Engine Coolant Temperature Indicator
This light is often represented by a thermometer symbol or the word “TEMP”. When it lights up, that means your engine temperature has exceeded the maximum limit. You need to stop the engine so that its temperature will start to cool down.
If you allow the engine to run, its temperature will continue to increase which can cause major engine damage. The coolant temperature is also important in that it shows you the potential for serious car engine damage.
But when this indicator lights up, you will have more time to apply the appropriate remedy. Stop the car and park it on the side of the road and make a quick assessment of what is happening. If liquid or steam is coming out from under the hood, it is a clear indication that there is leaking or overheating.
If you think that the coolant is boiling, don’t try to open the hood and don’t open the radiator cap. The pressure of steam will cause the liquid to be expelled from the radiator which can scald your skin or any part of your body. Wait until the engine cools down before doing anything.
3. Charging System Indicator
This light is commonly represented on the dashboard as a battery or the word “ALT”, or “GEN”. If this indicator lights up, it means your vehicle charging system is not working and that the car’s alternator is no longer supplying power to the electrical components of the car.
But this kind of failure will not result in serious mechanical damage to your car. Once this indicator is on, you will have at least 20 minutes of daylight driving before the ignition will no longer work and before you will be forced to stop.
The moment this indicator light is on, turn off all the unnecessary electrical accessories of the car. Drive to the nearest repair shop and have your car’s charging system checked and repaired if need be.