Good Preventative Maintenance is Listening to Your Car
Regular preventative maintenance on your car is crucial to keeping major components from failing. Thankfully, our cars are smart enough to work with us in this regard, often alerting us to a problem before it gets serious.
For many drivers, taking your car in to be checked at the first sign of an issue is non-negotiable. However, if you’ve been guilty of ignoring those dreaded warning lights in your instrument panel, or putting it down to a minor electrical glitch simply because your car still feels fine, then read on to see why this could be a big mistake.
Engine Management Light
When your vehicle picks up an issue with the engine management system, expect this light to illuminate. Unfortunately, because the problem is related to the largest and most complex bit of your car – the engine – there is no telling exactly what the issue may be. It could be something as simple as a loose gas cap, or something as costly as a malfunctioning catalytic converter. Whatever the case, this is not a warning light you ever want to ignore. If the light is flashing, consider the issue an urgent one.
Airbag Warning Light
The use of airbags in combination with seatbelts are well documented to increase your chance of survival or reduce the severity of injury in an accident, with recent research relating to facial fractures driving the point home. Your airbag warning light could indicate several faults with the system, such as a drained airbag backup battery or a damaged airbag module, which controls the exact point at which the bag deploys. Considering the safety aspect, it goes without saying that you should seek the assistance of your technician as soon as possible.
Oil Pressure Warning Light
While many drivers believe that the oil light illuminating means that oil levels are merely a bit low, in reality you should be reacting with much more urgency to this warning sign. For example, there could be enough oil in your car, but the oil pump may not be circulating enough oil to keep critical surfaces lubricated. If your oil light comes on while driving at speed, we recommend that you pull over as soon as is safe to check the oil levels. Don’t let your familiarity with this particular warning symbol cause complacency; after all, we don’t need to tell you that a loss of engine oil means catastrophe.
Diesel / DPF Particulate Filter Warning Light
On most modern diesels, the particulate filter removes harmful soot from your exhaust gases, reducing emissions. This light indicates a malfunction with this system, such as a blocked DPF. Get this checked out straight away as repairs can be pricey.
Brake Warning Light
Here in the U.S., the typical brake warning light you should be most aware of is red, displaying the word BRAKE. Some cars have additional brake warning lights for the ABS system and for parking brake engagement. If the parking brake is disengaged and the light comes on at speed, it could indicate a serious problem such as low fluid levels, leaking brakes, or a faulty speed sensor.
Finally, remember that in general, warning symbols in red are the most critical, yellow/orange often means that something needs servicing, and green or blue is merely to let you know that a certain system is operating. As mentioned, any warning symbol that is flashing should be treated as serious. Before hoping and praying for an electronic glitch, learn to trust your vehicle to let you know that something isn’t right.