We all used to have to drive our cars around wondering if they were running alright. The second we would feel a few irregular bumps on the highway, we would panic and believe we ran over a nail. Whenever we began to feel hot, we quickly turned the A/C on and claimed the air was “not cold enough.”
No matter what the paranoia stemmed from, our cars were never able to give us peace of mind. Until now.
Nowadays, our cars can keep our sanity in check. Over the past several years, cars have become such smart and well-built technological machines that they now tell us when they have any sort of symptoms. In a lot of ways, they’re easier to care for than children. Because at least they try to tell us what’s going on in their lives.
Regardless, it’s still critical to know what these cars are actually saying. Warning lights are amazing, but only when you know what they mean and how to address the problem at hand.
So without further adieu, here is a list of 5 of the most prominent warning lights you need to know.
Check Engine Light
The alert icon generally looks like a crude image of an engine. An illuminated Check Engine Light can indicate something minor. Anything that ranges from a harmless emissions fault to a loose gas cap. Or the light can indicate something more serious. Examples of this could be a myriad of internal engine problems. A worn camshaft lobe can cause a misfire and turn on the Check Engine Light, for example. If you keep driving with the Check Engine Light on, you risk increasing the severity of the problem. Get your car scanned and repaired as soon as possible in this instance.
Low Oil Pressure
This warning light looks a lot like a genie bottle. The warning itself means the powertrain control module (PCM) has determined the condition of it to be of low pressure. The PCM monitors oil pressure via the oil pressure sensor. The oil pressure warning light may illuminate because of low oil level, internal engine problems, or faulty pressure sensor. A low oil level should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent engine damage. If this light comes on, stop driving and have the issue inspected by a professional immediately.
Anti-Lock Brake System Malfunction
There is no arguing that many lives have been saved since the introduction of anti-lock brakes (ABS). ABS is used to prevent wheel lock up in the event of an emergency stop. This is accomplished by through an ABS module that monitors input from wheel speed sensors. When the module determines that brake lock up could occur at any point, it will pulse brake pressure to the appropriate wheel to prevent that from happening. When the warning light is displayed, it means that the module had determined a fault somewhere in the system. The system will then default to non-ABS braking and your braking ability and safety will be altered, which is dangerous.
High Engine Temperature
This specific alert usually looks like a thermometer and is used to indicate an engine overheating. It goes without saying that overheating can cause extensive engine damage. If you see this light, you should pull over and turn off your vehicle immediately. There are numerous reasons for engine overheating, ranging from a stuck thermostat to a blown head gasket. It’s best to have a professional inspect and diagnose what caused the problem.
Charging System Malfunction
This issue is important, because if the battery is not being properly charged, you may be stuck on the side of the road without a functional car. Potential causes include, but are not limited to, a faulty alternator, bad battery or damaged wiring. This alert looks a bit like a battery and is designed to indicate a problem with the entire charging system.
Again, please don’t overlook these issues. Try to rectify the problems as soon as possible so that it doesn’t get worse. If you end up needing to replace anything, you know where to look. 🙂