Have you ever had a symbol you never noticed before suddenly light up on your car dashboard?
When something goes wrong with your car, a signal goes through the electrical system to the dashboard to highlight an issue. Some indicate a serious malfunction, while others are warnings to take action. Regular servicing should prevent any problems,
It’s important to know what the car dashboard warning lights actually mean because they can prevent a car breakdown and further damage to your car parts, and save you from an expensive visit to the mechanic’s workshop.
Here are the most important warning lights you should watch out for and what to do when they light up.
1. Engine Temperature Warning Light
What it means: Your engine is too hot. An overheating engine is a serious issue as it can cause the other parts of your engine to melt or warp because of the unusual extreme heat.
What to do: If this light turns on, pull over and turn off the engine. The hood of your car is going to be extremely hot at this point so DO NOT open the hood of your car with your hands. Wait 30 minutes or more for your engine to cool down naturally. DO NOT attempt to loosen the radiator cap because the heat will cause an increase in pressure in the radiator and loosening the cap may result in steam and hot water spouting out and scalding you. Avoid pouring water over the engine in an attempt to cool it faster because the sudden difference in temperature can cause parts to crack.
Once the engine is cool and you are able to open the hood, check for leaks, burst pipes, or disconnected parts. If you can’t see any, open the radiator cap with a towel or rag to protect yourself from getting burned. Refill your radiator will coolant and restart the engine. Monitor the temperature gauge for a few minutes to make sure it doesn’t rise quickly. Drive yourself to the nearest mechanic to get your engine checked out.
2. Oil Pressure Warning Light
What it means: Your engine is running low on oil, or there is a problem with your car’s oil pressure system. A faulty oil pressure system can mean that your engine parts are not getting proper lubrication even when your engine oil is at the right level. If you ignore this light and keep driving, your engine may get damaged and completely stop.
What to do: Get your car to a mechanic immediately to get it checked out for leaks and other problems.
3. Check Engine Warning Light
What it means: There could be a number of possible critical engine problems when the check engine light comes on. The most common causes include:
- A loose petrol cap
- A faulty catalytic converter (causing an increased use of petrol and inability to speed up)
- A defective oxygen sensor (causing your engine to burn more petrol faster)
- A damaged mass airflow sensor (can cause your car to stop, increase emissions and decrease your mileage)
- Problems with your spark plug and wires (your spark plugs may misfire and cause jerky acceleration)
What to do: If the light is flashing, then you will need to stop your car and get your car towed to a workshop immediately. If the light is not flashing, then the problem is less severe, but still should not be ignored. Stop the car and check that your petrol cap is not cracked and is screwed on tightly. If your check engine light is still on, get your car to a mechanic’s workshop to get it checked out.
4. Battery Alert Warning Light
What it means: When the light comes on, it means your car battery isn’t charging, or that your battery has run its course and you need a new one. (Car batteries naturally wear out after two or three years). Charging problems are caused by a number of things, such as corroded battery terminals, faulty charging cables, or damaged battery plates.
What to do: Your car turns into a useless metal box when your battery doesn’t work, so head to a mechanic to get your battery looked at. If it comes on while you’re driving, don’t turn your car off, because it might not start again until the problem is sorted. However, if you’re too far away from a mechanic, stop at a safe place and get your vehicle towed, or call for a car battery replacement service.
5. Brake System Warning Light
What it means: First, it could just mean that you’re driving with your handbrakes on. If not, then it could mean you’re low brake fluid (there could be a leak), your brake pads are worn (from wear and tear), or that your speed sensor isn’t working properly.
What to do: As with other problems, don’t ignore this warning light and get it checked out as soon as possible.
If you’re an Etiqa Car Insurance or Car Takaful customer, we highly recommend that you download the “Etiqa Auto Assist” app. The app is the fastest and easiest way to get roadside assistance when your car is immobile due to an accident or a breakdown.
No more searching for helpline phone numbers, no more waiting on the phone, and no more wondering when help will come. The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for Android devices.
The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as advice on any matter. Etiqa accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from reliance on information contained in the article. This information is correct as at 10 October 2019.