There are some drivers that panic at the hint of something wrong with their car. Incessant rattling may just be something stuck in the boot – or it could be something that needs an expensive repair. Meanwhile, many other drivers choose to ignore crucial dashboard warnings. These are much more steadfast alerts to double-check our vehicles and get something fixed. Many of us decide to ignore dashboard warnings, however, perhaps out of avoidance, panic, or anxieties around budget. Whatever your reasons for putting off an investigation, here are the four most serious dashboard lights meanings and why you shouldn’t ignore them.
Your brakes could save not only your life but also someone else’s. Ignoring your brakes could be a life-changing mistake. ABS refers to your anti-lock brake system (ABS), which doesn’t just apply to the anti-lock function. It means that there could be a problem with your brakes or your brake fluid. Here’s where the problems could lie:
- Your brake pads are wearing thin. This not only means that they are less effective, but this could cause sparking and other serious issues.
- The sensor is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced.
- Your ABS is no longer working, which means that your car will skid when the brakes are applied, which could see your car traveling long distances as it does so.
2. Red thermometer
The red thermometer is perhaps one of the most innocent looking car dashboard symbols; however, it signifies a significant and potentially dangerous problem. This thermometer means something under the hood is overheating, which is usually as a result of not enough coolant. The reason that this is particularly problematic is because an overheated engine would essentially fuse itself together. The cause of an overheated engine is also usually something that will need to be seen to by a mechanic. A ruptured hose, a blown gasket or maybe even a radiator leak could cause this issue.
Additionally, the cause of an overheated engine is likely to be the result of being too low on coolant. Checking this, though, is not too difficult. All you need to do is pop the hood and check the level markers on the side of the coolant tank. Doing so should tell you whether you need a top-up. Do not hesitate in getting this seen to, as any of the above problems could arise.
3. The red oil can
As you might suspect, this is an indication that your oil is low. However, it means that your oil levels are critically low, not just in need of some attention or that you need an oil change. This is also a sign that your oil temperature is far too hot or that the pressure in your oil tank is too low. If you see this sign, the best move you can do for your vehicle is to take it off the road as soon as it is safe to do so. If you have space to check safely, do the usual oil and coolant checks (to ensure it is safe to drive to a mechanic) under the hood. Even if everything is seemingly fine, safely drive to the nearest fuel station or mechanic to find out what the problem is.
The reason this is such a critical problem to get checked is because the oil in your engine keeps everything lubricated and running smoothly. It improves the circulation of the fuel around your engine, which will stop if you get low, causing the engine to seize. Not finding a solution is also likely to cause damage and an eye-watering expensive repair.
4. Airbag warning light
This light isn’t perhaps as familiar to many as the oil can or thermometer, but it is as obvious and self-explanatory as the ABS symbol: the light depicts a deployed airbag in front of a passenger. While the other lights are relatively instantaneous in terms of the problem that will occur, this issue is preventative. It’s for this reason that you must not simply avoid it and postpone it until later. On top of that, airbag warning lights may not just be indicating a problem with the automate airbag device. They may be signifying a larger problem with your seatbelt, which is also vital for keeping you alive in the event of an accident. If you see this light, you must go and get it checked out; it might not just be your life you are saving.
While these four dashboard lights are some of the most significant warning signs about your vehicle’s condition, any warning light should be investigated. Doing so doesn’t just prevent the cost of expensive repairs; it also saves lives.