Dashboard warning lights put fear in the heart of all drivers. From a door not closed properly to the dreaded check engine, that sudden flash on the console grabs our attention. And of course, that is the point. Simply put, dashboard warning signs are how the car communicates to us that things are not right. Sometimes they are serious and sometimes they are very serious and the odd time, they are glitches caused by a dodgy sensor. But no matter what the cause is, dashboard warning lights should never be ignored. Should your car starts showing an emergency flashing symbol, you need to take action. If it is a red warning light, the problem is urgent and you need to take immediate action and if it is a yellow or amber light, it means something needs to be looked at by your mechanic soon.
Here is a quick guide to some of the warning symbols that can flash up on your vehicle’s display.
Let’s start with the big one! This can come up in either yellow or red, but no matter which colour, it’s a red flag for attention. Cars have lots of sensors to check if everything is running smoothly. If there is a problem, the sensor will tell the engine control unit (ECU) which then turns on the engine management light. There are many reasons why the light will start and a garage can check what is causing it. The engine light can sometimes flash for a fairly minor issue, but you cannot be sure of that till the car has been checked. Don’t ignore it. Ignoring an engine light could mean risking thousands of euros of damage. With modern sensors and depending on the issue, turning the car off and back on can sometimes reset the system and cause the light to turn off, but the likelihood is that it will happen again, so it is good to get to the source of the problem. If the engine light comes on, seek help.
This is another serious warning lights. An oil level warning indicates that there is a problem with the oil supply to the engine. If this becomes active, stop as soon as you can and check oil levels, topping up if needed. If the light stays on after the oil has been replenished, there is clearly still an issue. It could be a blocked filter, or a pump failure or any one of a number of problems. Contact your garage and do not drive the vehicle any further as the oil keeps the engine lubricated and without this your risk serious damage.
This light warns you that the power steering system has failed. The cause may vary according to the type of power steering system in your car. In hydraulic power steering systems, a leak in the system causing a low fluid level is the most common cause for this problem. In electronic power steering (EPS) systems, this may be an illuminated EPS light instead. As EPS systems do not use fluid to provide steering assistance, there are no fluid levels to check. It is important to assess and repair the issue. Pull over and contact your mechanic.
No one wants to see the brake light on. Of course, if you are driving with the handbrake on, then this one is a pretty easy, if embarrassing fix. However, the brake system warning light can mean a fault with the brake pad sensor or that the brake fluid level is too low. If the brake pedal feels a bit spongy when pressed or just sinks all the way to the floor freely, then a serious brake issue may be present. Brake issues are not something to be self-diagnosed and if this light comes on, you need to reduce speed to a very low level and get to the garage to have the problem diagnosed and repaired.
All of the many warning lights which your car is equipped with are noted in the handbook. It does seem that the amount of flashing symbols gets added to with each motoring innovation. They may cause distress and worry but ultimately are an early warning system that we should be grateful for. Ignoring a warning light may result in expensive repairs and unnecessary damage to the car. If you have any mechanical worries, or if your car is sending you messages that need to be investigated, just call us at Sandyford Motor Centre where our experienced mechanics will give you both the very best of professional assistance.