It doesn't matter if you are driving a car or truck, jeep or SUV, a diesel 4x4 or a classic when those dash warning lights go off the first thing you do is think "how bad is it?" and "how much will it cost me?" followed quickly by "when was my last service visit?"!! Driving your vehicle longer safely is all about getting it serviced based on what your vehicle manual recommends and these warning lights are alerting you to a situation that requires your attention.
While not all warning lights are a sign that disaster is imminent, no warning indicator light should ever be ignored!
So how bad are they and what are the main warning lights we need to watch out for? Here at Autoworks we want our Ithaca drivers to be aware and have put together a list complete with tips.
Oil Pressure Light. The oil pressure light is usually an oil can symbol, although on older vehicles it may be a light with the word “OIL”. It comes on when there is a drop in engine oil pressure. Of all the warning lights, the oil pressure light indicates the greatest potential for serious mechanical damage to the entire system and engine damage.
DO NOT DRIVE.....If the oil pressure warning light comes on and stays on, pull off the road at the first safe opportunity, shut off the engine and call call us. The further you drive with this warning light on, the more risk there is for incurring damage to the engine which in turn will be a higher repair cost for you which we both want to avoid.
Engine Temperature Light. The symbol for this is typically a thermometer symbol, although in older vehicles it may be a light displaying the word “TEMP.” It comes on when the engine temperature is above the recommended maximum. Unless the temperature is quickly brought under control, major engine damage is likely to occur.
BE CAREFUL. Do not open the hood if there is steam coming from the engine, and never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot.
Shut off the engine. If there are any signs of a cooling system leak, pull off the road at the earliest safe opportunity, shut off the engine and call us for help. If the temperature goes down and all seems okay come into the shop and let us find the problem. If the temperature stays up or there is obvious signs of a leak with fluids on the ground call for assistance and do not drive it.
Charging System Light. The charging system light is usually a battery symbol, although on older vehicles it may be a light displaying the word “ALT” or “GEN.” It comes on when the vehicle electrical system is no longer being supplied power by the alternator.
If you don't need it - turn it off. If this light comes on, shut down all unnecessary electrical loads such as the radio, heater or air-conditioning, and then drive here to Autoworks for further inspection.
Check Engine Light. This light indicates a problem affecting the vehicle's exhaust emissions. and when it comes on and stays on you need to make an appointment with us here at Autoworks to have us check it out in the "near future." If the engine light begins flashing, your catalytic converter is overheating and means an immediate trip to the shop. Sorry!
If you ignore that flashing check engine light, you could start a fire, destroy the catalytic converter and repairs will easily exceed $1,000 and we do not want that! Here at Autoworks in Ithaca, we want to work with you to avoid high repair costs!
Any time you have a question about warning lights or issues with your car or truck, simply call the shop or stop in to talk to our team of ASE certified technicians. We are here to ensure you drive longer safely!
Thank you for visiting Autoworks in Ithaca, NY. Count on our automotive repair technicians to keep your car, truck, suv, or van on the roads longer and safer.