Five Vehicle Warning Lights You Shouldn’t Ignore

Posted Friday, Mar 25, 2022

Those pesky little lights. They should be your best friends but instead, they light up your dashboard, and, every now and then, they might even ding a few times.

When it happens, you give it a quick glance and make a mental note to check into it when you’ve got a few spare moments and extra dollars. But on your drive, for miles and miles and that turns into days and days and later even weeks and weeks without ever giving that persistent light on your cluster another thought.

Finally, the car starts smoking or jerking and you’re stuck on the side of the road calling a tow truck. Not long after you find yourself at a mechanic’s shop, feigning surprise and swearing that the light JUST came on yesterday.

Well, your mechanic ain’t buyin’ it, even if he pretends he is. And even if he does buy it, one thing’s for sure – you’re still paying for it.

To help you dodge such a scenario, here are a few tips on warning lights you shouldn’t ignore.

Low Tire Pressure: By the time most tire pressure monitoring systems send out the alert, your tires likely have been running low for a while. In fact, that warning ping typically happens once your tire pressure dips at least 25 percent below the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation – and well below the pressure required for safe driving.

Low tire pressure boosts the risk of a tire blowout, which easily can cause an accident. It also makes it tougher to steer your car and brake quickly and drags down your fuel efficiency.

Low Battery: Batteries typically last for two to four years, depending upon how much you drive and your local climate.

Live in a coastal area? Got a long daily commute to and from work? Your battery swap may need to happen closer to two years. Many different conditions can affect the longevity of your vehicle’s battery.

In any case, once your low battery light illuminates, it’s highly recommended that you get yourself a new one within the next few days, or you may find yourself paying a towing fee.

Oil Pressure: Your car’s engine is its heart – literally. So it’s critical that all of its internal components are properly cooled, lubricated, and working smoothly. That only happens when your engine’s oil pressure is adequate.

If you’re due an oil change, get one -pronto.

Can’t get to it right away? Use the dipstick to top off your oil but be really careful. While too little oil can fry your engine, using too much oil can cause serious damage as well.

Temperature: A temperature warning light typically means your car has a coolant leak, a bad water pump, a faulty thermostat, or a number of other issues. Typically these problems are easy fixes, however, when allowed to go unattended, any of them can lead to your engine overheating.

An overheated engine can wreak all sorts of havoc, including warped metal components and blown gaskets. That easy fix just turned into thousands of dollars in engine repair or replacement costs.

If your temp warning light comes on, pull over immediately and arrange for a tow to the nearest mechanic’s shop.

Brake Fluid: This one perhaps trumps all other vehicle warning lights when it comes to safety.

Your brake fluid warning light can be an indication that you’ve got a leak or some other problem that will keep you from being able to stop your vehicle quickly – or at all. Clearly, this could have serious implications.

When this light turns on, head to your mechanic’s shop immediately. While none of these are lights you want to ignore, this one is definitely one you want to take care of the moment you see it. Your life is not worth risking.

Not sure what these warning lights look like? No shame. A recent survey shows that some 43 percent of vehicle owners nationwide haven’t a clue what the low tire pressure warning light is.

If that’s the case, grab your auto owner’s manual and study up or feel free to give us a call and we’d be happy to show you!

Fair warning, none of us are very good artists here.

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