What to do when you notice a warning light on your dash
When you notice a light on your vehicle’s dashboard, it can be a cause for concern as it may be difficult to understand the meaning of the warning light. Seeing something unexpected can be alarming, but with knowledge of what the symbols signify, you’ll be better prepared to take appropriate action.
These warning lights can indicate a range of issues, from minor maintenance to emergency repairs. It’s important to understand the difference between the two in order to take the necessary steps to properly maintain your vehicle.
All vehicles are carefully designed and manufactured, and while unexpected problems on the road are uncommon, it’s important to be prepared. Warning light symbols can signal a range of things, including the need for emergency service, the need for a service soon, or the need for a simple DIY remedy.
If you have any questions about warning lights and corresponding symbols, or if you need help maintaining your vehicle, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have experienced automotive experts who can help you understand and address any issues with your vehicle. If you require frequent service, please call ahead and speak with one of our consultants.
Engine warning lights on your dash and what they mean
Brake System Warning Light
When the brake system warning light on your vehicle turns on, it’s important to take immediate action as your brakes are one of the most vital safety components of your car.
If the warning light is yellow, it indicates that there may be an issue with the hill assist function. This feature helps prevent the car from rolling back when starting on an incline by automatically applying the brake.
If you notice this warning light, it’s important to exercise extra caution when starting on steep hills and to have the issue checked by a professional as soon as possible. It is always recommended to get the car checked by a professional mechanic to ensure the safety of the vehicle.
Brake pad warning light
If the brake system warning light on your vehicle comes on and stays on, it typically means that the brake pads are too thin as detected by a sensor. This warning light is designed to turn on before the brake pads become dangerously thin, providing you with enough time to replace them.
It is important to replace the brake pads as soon as possible once this warning light turns on, as worn-out brake pads can be a safety hazard. They can reduce your vehicle’s braking performance, making it difficult to stop the car in a timely manner and increasing the risk of accidents. It is always recommended to have the brake pads replaced by a professional mechanic and to make sure that the brake system is working properly.
Engine warning light
The Engine Management Indicator (EMI) or the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL), also known as the check engine light, may be found in many vehicles. This light will typically turn on when the car’s onboard computer detects an issue with the engine or emissions system.
When the check engine light comes on, it may be accompanied by symptoms such as a loss of power or stuttering when accelerating. This light can indicate a range of problems, from minor issues such as a damaged sensor to more severe mechanical issues such as a problem with the emission control system or catalytic converter.
If the check engine light turns on in your vehicle, it’s recommended to bring it to a reputable mechanic for expert advice and repairs. A professional mechanic can diagnose the problem and recommend the appropriate repairs to keep your vehicle running smoothly and safely.
Coolant warning light
The coolant warning light is a yellow light that appears on the dashboard when the coolant level in the vehicle is low. The coolant fluid plays an important role in absorbing heat from the engine and dispersing it through the radiator to keep the engine from overheating.
It’s important to act quickly when this light turns on, as low coolant levels can cause the engine to overheat and sustain significant damage. If possible, avoid making long trips without enough coolant, and top up the coolant as soon as possible. Make sure to let the engine cool down before topping up. If this light turns on frequently, it’s best to have your car serviced to prevent a coolant leak.
Low oil pressure warning light
The yellow oil warning light is an indication that there is an issue with the oil system in the vehicle. This light may turn on when the oil temperature gets too high, or when the oil level or pressure is too low.
If the oil is not lubricating the engine properly, it can cause significant engine damage. It’s important to take immediate action when this warning light comes on in order to prevent serious damage to the engine. If you see this light, it’s best to check the oil level and pressure, and if necessary, have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic.
Battery charging system warning light
The battery charging warning light is an indicator that alerts the driver that the battery is not charging correctly. This light may turn on while you’re driving if there is an issue with the vehicle’s electrical system.
This can be caused by a malfunctioning alternator, a broken battery, a poor electrical connection, or damaged cabling among other things. It’s important to take immediate action when this warning light comes on, as a non-functioning battery can leave you stranded, and it’s best to have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic to find the root cause of the problem and fix it.
Airbag warning light
The airbag warning light is a red light that appears on the dashboard when there is a malfunction in the airbag system. This light is an indication that at least one component of the airbag safety system is not functioning properly. This can include the airbag system itself, the front passenger occupant classification system, which detects the weight and position of the front passenger to deploy the airbag safely, or the seat belt pre-tensioner system, which tightens the belt in the event of a collision.
If this light comes on, it’s important to have your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic as soon as possible. A malfunctioning airbag system can put occupants at risk in the event of a collision. It’s important to fix the problem as soon as possible to ensure the safety of the vehicle and its passengers.
Stability Control fault warning light
The traction control warning light is an indicator that alerts the driver to an issue with the vehicle’s traction control system. The traction control system, also known as the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system, helps improve the vehicle’s stability and traction on slippery roads.
If the light is flashing, it means that the DSC system is actively working to improve traction. If the light remains illuminated, it indicates that the DSC system is malfunctioning.
If the DSC light comes on with the word ‘Off’, it means that the system has been manually deactivated, and you may have accidentally switched it off. In this case, try restarting the engine to see if the light goes off.
If the light remains on after restarting the engine, it’s important to have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic as soon as possible, as the DSC system is a critical safety feature that helps improve the vehicle’s stability and traction.
Tyre pressure warning light
Many vehicles now come equipped with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that alerts the driver if the tyre pressure drops. This can happen over time or as a result of a puncture.
Low tyre pressure can create dangerous driving conditions, so it’s important to take precautions when this warning light comes on. Slow down and avoid sudden braking or sharp turns.
If the warning light comes on, you can check your tyre pressure with an air compressor at most petrol stations and garages. It’s important to fill the tyres with air according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, which can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. It is always recommended to check the tyre pressure when the tyres are cold and to adjust the pressure accordingly.
Steering lock light
The steering lock is an anti-theft feature that prevents anyone without the proper key from driving the vehicle. It effectively locks the steering wheel in place if someone tries to move it while the ignition is turned off.
A yellow warning light means that there is a problem with the system and it needs to be fixed as soon as possible.
If the light turns red while you’re driving, it’s important to pull over to the side of the road immediately and seek assistance as the steering wheel could lock into place, creating a potentially dangerous situation. It is always recommended to have the vehicle checked by a professional mechanic if this warning light turns on.
DPF warning light
The DPF warning light is specific to diesel vehicles and it appears when there is an issue with the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), which removes harmful dirt from the exhaust gases to reduce emissions. A blocked DPF can happen over time and it can cause the light to turn on.
When this light comes on, it is important to have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic as soon as possible, as a blocked DPF can cause more serious damage to the car and also release toxic black smoke from the exhaust. It is also important to know that DPFs can be expensive to replace, so it is best to have them checked by an expert technician as soon as possible.
What to do when warning lights appear on your dash
Maintaining your vehicle regularly is a great strategy to avoid unforeseen difficulties on the road. Although many cars are known for their dependability, you may encounter warning lights throughout the vehicle’s lifetime.
If a warning light appears that you’re unfamiliar with, pull over as soon as it’s safe to do so and determine which warning is appearing. If necessary, organise a tow truck or call your roadside assistance helpers to help take you to your local Maitland or Thornton mechanic to correct the issue.
Or, contact us for assistance.