The Lights On Your Dashboard

When there is an issue happening with your car, a symbol will appear on the dashboard. No matter what model or brand of the car you have, there are common symbols that all car owners should understand. There are probably over twenty different warning lights on cars, even more with diesel fuel vehicles, so it can be hard to keep track of every one of them. In this article, we only list typical symbols and what they mean. If one day, your car has a symbol which we are not discussing about in here, you may look them up in your car’s manual or you may seek for expert’s advices.



ECU/Emission System/Check Engine Warning Light


If this kind of check engine light is illuminated, it can be for a number of reasons and your best option is to go to an auto technician immediately, so they can determine the exact problem as well as how to fix it. The top five reasons for your check engine light to come on are as of the followings:



1. Oxygen Sensor - If there is an issue with the oxygen in your car’s exhaust system, your engine will burn more fuel than it needs to, which can eventually damage to your spark plugs and catalytic converters.


2. Gas Cap - In case your gas cap is loose, damaged or missing, you will lose fuel and the pressure in your gas tank will be off.


3. Catalytic Converter - Catalytic converter not only reduces the amount of harmful gasses being produced by your car, it also works to keep your fuel run economically and maintains a desired temperature in the car. It is important to keep your catalytic converter working properly and if necessary, it should be replaced.


4. Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF) - A mass airflow sensor monitors the amount of air flowing in the engine and, in turn, it decides how efficient your engine is running. If there is a concern with your MAF, it is important to replace it as quickly as possible. If your MAF is not replaced in time, you will not only witness a reduced performance in your vehicle, but your spark plugs, oxygen sensors, and catalytic converters can be damaged as well.


5. Spark Plugs or Plug Wires - Spark plugs ignite the combustion chamber of your automobile - allowing it to run. If either the spark plugs (or the plug wires themselves) have an issue, you should replace them. If they are left untouched, your car will run poorly and additional long term issues with other aspects of your car might occur.


An Engine Warning Light can be caused from anything as small as an electrical issue to something major, which is why it important to pay a visit to a mechanic who can identify the problem if the engine warning light does come on.



Brake System Warning Light

If your Brake System Warning Light is on, it may suggest one of the three things. Either your parking brake being on, or something wrong with your braking system, or your ABS is being in trouble. If your parking brake is on, you simply need to fully release it. However, when there is an issue with your braking system, then the problem could be more complicated. For example, if your brake liquid is low, you should have a mechanic look at your braking system.




ABS Warning Light

If your ABS Warning Light is on, that means you have a problem with your Anti-Lock Brake System. Your ABS system senses the velocity of each wheel moving to ensure they all rotate exactly the same speed. In addition, when road condition is slippery, your ABS system can help you control not only your four wheels but also your brake pedal. If your ABS Warning Light comes on, you should safely pull over, switch off the car and then start it up again. This essentially reboots the car’s system, and if it had made a technical error before, this will solve the problem and the light will be off. Nevertheless, if your ABS Light is still illuminated, you should bring it to a mechanic because mechanic has tools to check if your ABS system has any trouble codes. This does not need to be done immediately because ABS system doesn’t affect your normal braking, but you should drive with caution until you fix your ABS because if it is not working properly, you will get no assistance at all in case your car skidding.




Air Bag Warning Light

Airbags are designed to keep both drivers and his/her passengers safe when accidents occur. If your airbag light is on, there is a chance it could be a wiring issue triggering the warning to be illuminated. Anyhow, it is important to see the mechanic about this issue because your airbag might not deploy during a crash, which could put you at extreme risk. Furthermore, there is also a risk that your airbags might release at a random time but not at accidents, which is very dangerous. Therefore, it is crucial to see your mechanic about any air bag-related concerns. You should also check that your vehicle is not on Takata’s list of recalled airbags.




EPAS (Power Steering)

Should your EPAS, or power steering, the warning light goes on, this means there is most likely a problem with your steering system. If your steering system fails, your steering will become heavy, which means you will need to put a lot of efforts into turning your wheel. This is not only an annoyance but also a danger. If perhaps you need to change directions, you would feel very difficult to do so, you should visit a mechanic as soon as possible.





Coolant Warning Light

If your Coolant Warning Light illuminates, it could simply mean that your coolant levels are operating low. You can check this by looking at the gauge on the side of the coolant tank. If this is true, there is a simple fix: increasing the coolant. But, if your coolant light goes on while your temperate gauge is also rising, then your engine may be overheating. In this situation, you should turn your heater on all the way and point your air vents towards open windows. This will take all the excess heat out of your engine, which will help cool down the engine and avoid any issues such as warping. Once your vehicle has cooled down, you should bring your car to a mechanic to see what is triggering your car to get excess heat and to prevent it from happening again, as well as preventing a big repair bill later on.




Oil Warning Light

The Oil Warning Light can mean a lot of things if it is illuminated. However, in many cases, it can be an easy fix. Some cars are equipped with a dashboard light saying “Change Engine Oil”. If this lights up, then the issue is very straightforward. But, in some of cases, this light might represent for low oil pressure. If your car’s oil level is low, or if your oil pressure is actually low, then you should replace your oil and seek out professional help. Low oil pressure is an issue that can lead to your engine that she is not lubricated enough, which can result in very expensive engine damage because of engine seizing. For this reason, it is advisable to seek for a professional’s help rather than risking a large expense later on.




Battery Charge Warning Light

In most of vehicles, when started, the Battery Charge Warning Light is illumined. This is not something to be worried about. However, if the light doesn’t fade away within a couple of seconds, you could have faced a number of issues. To find out where exactly the issue lies, you should check your car’s battery terminals, battery conditions, and alternator belt, as well as any issues that could be related to the belt (such as your engine’s cooling pump or your car’s power steering). Since there are so many issues that could possibly be the causes of this issue, it is best to search for a mechanic’s help, so that their expertise can help keep your car safe, as well as potentially save you a lot of money in the long run.




Service Vehicle Soon/Maintenance Warning Light

If the Service Vehicle Soon Light comes on, it can be for number different reasons. First, you should check all the lights in your vehicle, including headlights, tail lights, turn signals, brake lights and hazardous lights. If there is no issue with the car’s lights, then you should check your traction control system, which helps your car accelerate and assisting your wheels work properly when driving on slippery roads.




Tire Pressure Monitoring System

While older cars are not equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring System, however, most new cars do come with one. If your vehicle has a Tire Pressure Monitoring System and the light goes on, which means at least one of four tires has low air pressure. This will likely be due to a damage that has caused your tyre to leak air. Then you need to address this issue immediately.


The Tire Pressure Monitoring System Light only lights up if your tire has lower than 25% of the pressure needed, which means not only should you check your tire pressure monthly, but also when you are warned that you have low tire pressure, you need to add air as soon as possible and then find any damage that happens to the tire and possibly replace the tire if needed. It is dangerous to drive with a tire that has low tire pressure, which can lead to a blowout and potentially cause an accident. Because of this, you should always pay attention to your tires when the Tire Pressure Monitoring System is illuminated that is not only for your safety, but also for others on roads.



Be Your Own Auto Warranty

Other issues can happen, but will not be very clear on the dashboard, including an issue with headlights or taillights. Remember that you should investigate all warning lights that may appear on your dashboard as well as any other concerns that you may notice with your car, and if you ever have any uncertainties about even the basic things, you should not hesitate to talk to a mechanic about it.

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