Understanding Car Dashboard Lighting: Warning Lights Discussed

How many times have you looked at the Christmas-tree-like lighting on your car’s instrument panel and wondered what they all mean? Well here we will discuss the several warning lights, check engine lights and other warning lighting that glows occasionally in front of the steering wheel. Here we go:

Check Engine Light

One of the most annoying lights to light up suddenly out of the blue! The check engine light denotes an array of probable causes and it is not easy to decipher what exactly it could mean until you hook your ECU up with a Tech 2 diagnostics tool. A hand held OBD (on-board diagnostics) gadget interprets various engine errors that could make the check engine light to glow abruptly. If you are in an emergency and need to drive immediately, an ideal fix is to disconnect the negative terminal of the battery, depress the horn button (to consume any power in the circuits), reconnect the battery and drive on. And yes, do remember to get the car checked after you have done with the drive.

Temperature Warning Light

The engine temp warning light resembles a mini thermometer atop wavy waters and it glows when your car’s motor is heating too much. Things to check in such conditions are radiator coolant, engine oil level and radiator plumbing/ cap. Any leakage of radiator fluid or lack of oil can cause overheating of the engine causing this light to glow. Turn off the engine immediately and begin diagnostics when the temp warning light starts glowing.

Engine Oil Pressure Warning Light

This indicator resembles an oil dispensing gun for older cars or like Aladdin’s magic lamp in newer ones. Glowing of this lamp indicates the car’s engine is running low on oil and neglecting this could lead to severe engine damage. Oil is the lifeblood of a car’s engine and works akin to fluids such as water and juices for a human body. Repairing an engine deprived of oil or completely replacing a motor is an expensive affair and hence people move towards genuine warranty used engines to cut down on maintenance bills.

TPMS Warning Light

TPMS or tire pressure monitoring system is usually found in contemporary cars and indicates the quantity of air in PSI for the tires. Older vehicles come with a tire pressure warning light and must not be ignored to avoid critical tire and axle damage. Keep a vigilant eye on this warning light to avoid getting a flat on the expressway or unforeseen circumstances.

Traction Control Indicator

This tell-tale light bears a resemblance to a swerving car on a slippery road. The light indicates one of the wheels of the car is rotating faster than others. Pressing the switch on the dash will turn on the Traction Control and will enable the car’s stability especially while braking on twisting roads.

ABS Warning Light

ABS stands for antilock braking system and the indicator resembles the alphabets within a circle with yellow lighting. If you have not switched on the ABS and it starts glowing abruptly, it means the brakes could lock up in the event of sudden braking which could also result in a severe mishap.


Low Battery Warning

Just as the name suggests the battery alert light glows in the event of low battery power or failure of the charging system. In such an event, you must check for any loose connections of the battery and the alternator as well. If everything seems alright, the alternator may be at fault and require a replacement. Alternators are costly parts and consequently car owners employ used alternators from used auto part vendors.

Low Fuel Warning Light

This tell-tale lamp looks akin to a fuel dispenser and often has a pointer built-in indicating the location of the fuel door. This light generally glows when there is low amount of fuel in your vehicle’s tank. One must avoid running the fuel level going low to avoid suction of any debris or dirt accumulated in the floor of the tank which could enter the engine.

So these were some of the most common tell-tale warning indicators available on cars, and you must pay extreme attention to these signals to avoid premature damage to the vehicle.



Writer, Blogger , Publisher and owner of Magazineof.com

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