Imagine you're driving down the road when all of a sudden a warning sign pops up on your dash. You immediately hope it's not an expensive problem. At your next stop, you take a closer look to try and figure out what it means. It's a yellow half-circle with three straight lines and a squiggly line. You Google it to find that you accidentally turned on your fog lights. Phew, easy fix! But oops, you drove with your fog lights on for a few miles.
To help you prepare for whatever dashboard signal may light up, here are the most important ones you should know.
1. Oil Can
The oil can symbol lights up red to indicate that you have a problem with the oil in your engine. This is a serious concern, so you should pull over to check your oil as soon as you can. Continuing to drive with an oil problem can cause severe damage to your engine. The light can mean a few things such as low oil, low oil pressure, bad oil pump, blocked oil filter, sensor problem, and a sludge clog.
2. Tire Pressure
The tire pressure symbol often looks like a parenthesis with an exclamation point in the middle and tread on the bottom. It will light up when your tire pressure monitoring system detects that your tire pressure is too low. It's important to pull over and check your tires as soon as possible. One or more tires could be underinflated which can lead to uneven wear at best and a blowout at worst.
3. Engine Temperature
The engine temperature warning light looks like a red thermometer floating in water, and it means that your engine is too hot. If your engine overheats, it can cause serious damage, so you'll want to turn off the AC and pull over right away. You can turn the heat on full blast to help to let the heat escape. You'll also want to let the engine rest and then check your coolant level. If your coolant level is not low, you may have an issue with your coolant system or something else so you'll want to pay the mechanic a visit.
4. Anti-lock Brakes
If you see the letter ABS in a circle light up, your car is not telling you that you need to work out. ABS stands for anti-lock braking system. This light means that your vehicle will prevent its wheels from locking up if you brake hard, allowing you to have more control while preventing skidding. However, the ABS light shouldn't stay on long. If it does, you may have problems that should be diagnosed such as low levels in the fluid reservoir, broken wheel speed sensors, or another malfunction.
5. Check Engine
The check engine light is a picture of an engine with the words "Check" under it. This light can mean a variety of problems with your car's ignition system ranging from minor to serious. For example, it could be a problem with a faulty gas cap or it could mean that your engine is misfiring. Be sure to take it in to find out ASAP.
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