When we run low on fuel, we take heed and swing by a gas station so we don’t get stranded on the side of the road. But when it comes to those pesky dash lights, drivers tend to turn a blind eye. We all know that ignorance is bliss, so instead of sticking a piece of electrical tape on the dash panel, let's talk about the most common lights and what they mean. The most commonly known light and the one of most concern is the fuel light because it is a quickly sorted issue, and a driver immediately knows what is wrong and how to fix it. What about the other lights? Any kind of service or warning light means that your car should be addressed and taken to the repair shop with immediate concern, especially if it is red in color. The sooner you address the auto repair issue with your car, the cheaper the fix is going to be. By choosing to address warning lights early and often and maintaining your vehicle before things get too serious, you will save money and hassle. For our April blog and in honor of National Car Care Month, we at Foothill Auto Service want to talk about different dash lights and what they represent.
1. Engine Light
The check engine light is one of the most common lights that show up on your dashboard, besides the fuel light, of course. A check engine light can be triggered by a number of different things, such as faulty spark plugs and wires, questionable oxygen sensors, or even a loose gas cap. Other issues that may trigger an engine light include malfunctioning mass air flow detectors and catalytic converter problems, but the list goes on.
The check engine warning light could mean that a vital engine component is failing or already damaged. Depending on the severity of the problem, the light can be orange or even red, indicating an urgent concern. If it's a steady illumination, it means the issue most often can wait a week or so; however, if you see a check engine light flashing, a severe problem may occur and require immediate assistance. This means that you should schedule an appointment with the professional auto mechanics at Foothill Auto Service in Lake Forest, California, right away.
2. Brake Light
Your brakes are one of the most critical safety features on a vehicle, and the brake indicator should be taken seriously if you see it light up your dash. This dash light can be a signal for several problems with your braking system and is one that you want to pay attention to. One of the first things a brake dash light can indicate is that the emergency brake or E-brake is engaged and you are trying to drive forward or backward. So if this light is on, the first thing to do is to ensure the E-brake is released, whether it is a hand-held release or a foot pedal. The brake light on your dash can also mean your car is low on brake fluid. One of the more severe reasons you may see the brake light on is if the car's brake pads are worn thin. When the brake pads start to wear down, the brake sensors can become exposed, and new brake pads should be installed right away to ensure you slow down and stop whenever you want to. Another cause of your brake dash light being illuminated is the automatic braking system (ABS). If your ABS is the problem, this is serious business, and you may have a severe failure requiring immediate attention. Your Automatic Braking System controls the brain of your vehicle's stopping capabilities when you stop abruptly or brake in slippery conditions. If both the brake system and ABS dash lights are on, please pull over right away; you may find yourself in a hazardous situation.
3. Coolant Temperature Light
We have all seen from the movies when steam is bubbling out from under the hood. Don’t let that be you. It is crucial to monitor your coolant levels during warm and hot weather because when the thermostat, which controls your engine's temperature, sets things in motion, your coolant is a key player in regulating your engine temperature. If you see your temperature light on, it usually means that the car's temperature is reading unsafe levels and may cause damage to your engine. If this light comes on while you are driving, be sure to pull over and turn off the car immediately and allow it to cool down while you call the experts at Foothill Auto Service for advice. The temperature warning light may also mean you need to check your radiator cap and fan to ensure it is correctly functioning.
4. Oil Pressure Light
Oil is necessary for lubricating the engine's moving components and also is a key player in regulating your engine temperature. If your oil warning light is on, it may be telling you that your car has low oil pressure. Your oil should be checked on a regular basis before starting your vehicle for the day. Maintaining your vehicle with regular service intervals and topping off your oil levels when necessary can help you avoid future problems and stay safer on the road. If your oil light turns on while you are driving, be sure to pull the car over, pop the hood and pull the dipstick to check your vehicle's oil levels. Driving your vehicle with the oil light can create costly damage to the engine and cause it to stop working. If your engine oil measures full, but the light remains on, you may have a more critical engine concern, and you should make an appointment immediately to have it checked out.
5. Transmission Temperature Light
Your transmission temperature light indicates overheating of the gears that transfer power from your engine to your wheels. Your transmission has similar needs to your engine in terms of fluids and extreme temperatures can affect them. The transmission warning light can mean your transmission temperature has reached a dangerous level. Your first step is to turn your car off and allow the vehicle to cool down. Then, get your car inspected by a trained auto repair technician who will check the coolant and transmission levels as part of their multi-point inspection service.
6. Power Steering Light
If your car's power steering light turns on, your power steering system may fail, making it challenging to steer and turn while you are driving. You may be unable to move the steering wheel at low speeds without using great strength, which can be dangerous when switching lanes to get off the road. When the power steering light comes on, be sure to take the nearest exit to a gas station and check your fluid levels.
Get an expert's opinion with the team at Foothill Auto Service
Our ASE-Certified auto mechanics have the technology and experience to provide the best diagnostics in the industry today. Our family of auto repair technicians, Scott, Tim, Bill, and Hector, have extensive experience and training in preventative maintenance and auto repair services for all car makes and models of vehicles. Having a team of quality auto repair mechanics on your side provides peace of mind. Our knowledgeable and trustworthy team is everything you have ever wanted in a repair shop and more. Schedule a service today to ensure your vehicle warning lights aren't a reason for concern. Contact us today or schedule an appointment online so we can take great care of you and your vehicle with our expert ASE Certified auto mechanics. We welcome you to join the Foothill Auto Service family and experience the difference and look forward to hearing from you! Our auto repair shop is located at 26911 Vista Terrace, Lake Forest, CA, 92630.