Your car’s dashboard has an array of neat little icons that light up to let you know when something is wrong with the car. Of course, some of those icons are a bit confusing. What do they mean, and what should you do when one lights up? Read on to find out.
The engine has low oil pressure. Check the oil level and add oil if you have some with you. Otherwise, have the vehicle towed to a repair shop. Driving a vehicle with low oil pressure can cause catastrophic engine damage.
Check the operation of the brake pedal. If it feels spongy or goes to the floor, stop driving and have the vehicle towed to a service facility. If the pedal feels firm and the brakes stop the vehicle, check the brake fluid level in the reservoir. If it’s low, add more brake fluid. If the light stays on after you’ve added fluid but the pedal is still firm, have the vehicle serviced as soon as possible.
The airbags have shut down and will not work if you get into an accident. Get the vehicle serviced soon.
Traction Control/Stability Control Light
There’s a problem with the system. You can still drive the vehicle, but exercise extra caution on slippery roads and in turns. Have the system serviced soon.
Check Engine Light
If the engine is running smoothly and the transmission is shifting properly, you can continue to drive the vehicle until you can get it checked by a mechanic. If it’s flashing, pull over at the nearest safe spot. Have the vehicle towed to a repair shop immediately. Driving with a flashing check engine light can destroy emissions components that can cost $1,200 and more to replace.
Charging System Light
There’s a major failure with the charging system. Drive immediately to the nearest repair shop.
There’s a fault in the anti-lock brake system. You can drive the vehicle and operate the brakes, but exercise more caution on slippery roads. Get the problem checked out soon.
High Temperature Light
Pull over at the nearest safe spot and turn off the engine. DO NOT open the radiator or the coolant reservoir. Have the vehicle immediately towed to a repair shop. Driving an overheated vehicle can cause serious engine damage costing thousands of dollars to repair.