Cars are full of useful tools to help keep them in proper working order, and dashboard warning lights are actually up there with the most important of them. They are a clear and vital picture of your cars imminent health, and a lot of really serious issues can be managed by using them correctly. Doing that, however, needs you to understand them.
Like most things with vehicles, however, car warning dashboard lights do vary from car to car. It always depends on what your vehicle is and the features that it has to offer. Some are universal, but most are specific. Each car is different, so taking the time to understand your own or future vehicles is never a bad idea.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common
Serious Dashboard Lights
The best starting point when looking at a topic that is as important as this is is to look at the more serious lights. These are the lights seen on almost every vehicle no matter what features you have, and a lot of the time, they can be really serious vehicle issues if you don’t deal with them correctly and immediately.
The most common without a doubt is the check engine light. This is because it’s a more generic sign that there could be multiple things wrong. What it does definitively mean is that you need to take a look at your engine and any issues that are present there. If you’re not sure yourself, ask a mechanic, or if it is with a car you’re looking at buying, get a thorough inspection or speak to the seller.
One thing slightly more specific than the check engine general light, however, is the engine temperature light. Whether you’re running low on coolant or water or even something has gone wrong and causing you to overheat, this is the place you’ll find out. You should generally have an engine temperature gauge on your dashboard anyway, but this light lets you know things are serious.
Another huge component that you can’t go without in your vehicle is your battery, and that has its own dashboard warning light as well for when there’s a connectivity or power issue. If it’s flat or if you’re using battery power i.e. when your car is idle then you’ll see this one. If your car won’t start, you know why. It’s a prime example of why maintenance is essential.
Oil is yet another crucial part of your car’s inner workings and it keeps everything operating as it is supposed to with the correct lubrication and the right composition. The light for this usually suggest that you either have a leak, or your oil needs topping up. Make sure you’re checking regularly to prevent anything bad happening,
If your engine or your batter are having issues as we looked at above, it’s also good to note that they may make your car begin to operate at reduced power to prevent any further damage from occurring through normal use of your car. If that is the case, your car will not perform anywhere near where it should and you need to seek professional help ASAP.
Your car may well have multiple different dashboard warning lights for your brakes, but anything that indicates either your brake pad wear and tear or anything preventing your brakes from working needs to be addressed without hesitation. This one goes without saying. Don’t risk it.
If your car is fitted with tyre sensors like most cars that are older than 10 years old are, then there will be a dashboard warning light to operate that (note that here, the dashboard may also be any kind of display on your dash, even electric screens). When an image of a tyre arises, you need to check your tyre pressures immediately and get them to their necessary levels. It could also be flat, so check it out before you start to drive on it.
If your vehicle has power steering, again, as most do, then you need to ensure that your power steering fluid is topped up at all times. You may even feel this one before you see it as your car could start to make grinding sounds as your turn hard, but in any case, the steering wheel light warning on your dashboard means there’s an issue here.
Traction Control & Abs
If there’s an image of a car looking like it is skidding, a sign saying ABS, or both, then there’s likely something wrong with your traction. Modern cars are fitted with ABS systems to ensure stopping is as effective as possible without locking and thus skidding. Traction control makes sure there’s no unnecessary wheel spinning or locking in much the same way. These need to be seriously monitored especially with heavy vehicle use.
If your car is advanced enough to require regular servicing, then you’ll need to make sure that you get that done. Although it isn’t as vital as the others, it’s still a good habit to make the most of vehicle servicing if it’s something your car is primed for. That’s even more important with higher value cars.
As well as all of the major dashboard warning lights, it’s also worth just paying a little bit of time to the less essential dashboard lights that still play a large part in making your vehicle more efficient, convenient, and safer as well. Some are more obvious than others but they’re essential non the less.
This one goes without saying. If you need reminding then you have a problem. Buckle up.
Your car has low beam, high beam, sidelights and fog lights onboard. They all have their own icon (shown by beam heights) and you need to recognise them to understand what you’re using.
Airbag & Child Lock
If you have a child-friendly setting like these, they’ll be shown in your dashboard warning lighting somewhere. If your airbags are disabled then you’ll see that as a constant, and your child locks should be the same.
4 wheel drive
If 4 wheel drive is a feature your vehicle has, then this is another light that will be present as it’s another mechanism that could have issues. It looks like an axel with 4 wheels, 2 of which will be misaligned.
When it’s cold out, you may have to use heated windscreens. All these means is there will be a light to let you know when these are in use. The same goes for when the temperature drops to 5 degrees or lower, and this triggers an ice warning.
Doors, Boots and Bonnets
This is another that speaks for itself. If any external mechanism like a door or hinge is left unsecured then you’ll be told about it to prevent anything dangerous happening in transit.
Lastly, we have the driving assistance lights that only come with more advanced features. These are mostly revolving around cruise control or lane assist, as these are critical to safe driving if they are something you use.
If you need any help with any of these things, or you’re worried about them occurring with a car you don’t even own yet, get in touch with us today to explore the services we can offer to keep them off for good.