Car Basics: Troubleshooting the Five Most Common Dashboard Lights

Car Basics: Troubleshooting the Five Most Common Dashboard Lights

| By: Ed Carey, Christian Brothers Automotive Round Rock

Have you ever been in the middle of nowhere and had a dashboard light you didn’t recognize suddenly appear? All of a sudden, you’re not sure if you just forgot to tighten the gas cap or if there is a bigger problem that’s going to leave you calling a tow truck.

At Christian Brothers Automotive Round Rock, we want to take as much anxiety out of being on the road as possible. We believe knowing your vehicle and why these things happen makes a big difference in how you react in these unknown situations.

Dashboard lights are activated when your vehicle needs to communicate a problem or a deficiency. Each light indicates a range of things that may be the issue. Some are time sensitive and require you to stop your vehicle as soon as you can, others are important, but can wait until you’ve arrived at point B. Knowing what these lights mean can be the difference between a healthy car for years to come, or an overheated engine that needs replacing. These warning lights are there for a reason; to keep you safe and keep your vehicle running.

At Christian Brothers, we want you to know what these common warning lights mean to ensure you confidently know when you need to immediately pull over and seek help. We’re here for you any time.

Let’s unpack the five most common dashboard lights so you can be prepared whenever you encounter them.

  1. Engine Warning Light:

This symbol looks like a water hydrant and can light up for a range of reasons. You may need a new oxygen tank, spark plugs or a mass airflow sensor. Or, you may have a bad catalytic converter, or a missing or damaged gas cap. Some of these issues are simple to fix, others could cause serious damage to your engine if you continue to drive. Either way, it won’t fix itself. Once you’ve double-checked that your gas cap isn’t the culprit, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our ASE-certified mechanics as soon as possible.

  1. Low Tire Pressure:

It looks like an exclamation point surrounded by a ribbed horse shoe. Tire pressure lights activate because the pressure in one of your tires is too low and needs to be attended to. Generally, you will have time to get to your destination and inflate your tires before any damage will occur. However, this depends on how far you have to go. It is important to check your tires regularly to avoid this scenario. We’ll check your tires whenever you bring your car in as part of our courtesy check as well.

  1. Engine Temperature Warning Light:

You’ll see a symbol pop up that looks like a red ship sailing on the sea. It indicates that the engine is too hot, and runs the risk of overheating. Don’t try and outrun this one, it could cause irreversible damage to your engine. It’s time to pull over and seek help my friend.

  1. Battery Alert:

This light looks something like a robot’s head. It means the car’s charging system is short of power, and you’re running on battery alone. This one warrants a trip in to get your battery checked as soon as possible.

  1. Oil Warning Light:

You’ll see an icon that resembles a genie’s lamp appear. This is a straight-forward issue; your oil is too low, or your oil pressure is problematic. This is generally an easily solved issue, however it does need to be attended to promptly to avoid any damage to the engine.

*Vehicle warning lights will vary depending on the make and the model, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual.

Whether you’ve been driving with a dash light on for a while or you just can’t remember the last time you have your car serviced, we are here to keep your car running well so it can keep up with wherever life takes you. As always, if you have any questions at all, please come by or call us. You can also conveniently schedule an appointment online for a time that works for you. Simply click the link below.

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