Cars nowadays have become more complex, the number of different dashboad warning lights has grown significantly.They now have a wide range of warning lights and sensors, which monitor the cars performance and constantly check for problems. The way they tell the driver of any problems is through the indicator lights. As a rule orange lights mean that the problem should be checked at the earliest convenience and red lights indicate a problem that should be checked immediately.
When you turn the key in the ignition it is likely that most of the indicator lights on the dashboard light up and stay lighted for several seconds. This is normal. You only need to worry when the lights stay on or when they come on whilst driving.
Many warning lights are specific to the car make or even the model – the vehicle handbook should give you a detailed explanation of their meaning and the action to take.
ENGINE WARNING LIGHT
Engine Warning or Malfunction Indicator Light – This will usually mean that there is a problem with the engine’s management system or the engine’s emissions control system. If this light comes on while driving you should have your car checked by the dealer as soon as you can. If you have to continue driving do so slowly and without hard acceleration.
Illuminates when the ignition is switched on. It should extinguish as soon as the engine starts.
If it illuminates with the engine running, it indicates a malfunction with the engine management system. Have this checked as soon as possible.
If it flashes when driving, reduce the vehicle speed immediately until the light illuminates constantly. If it continues to flash, avoid heavy acceleration and high engine speed, stop the vehicle and have it checked immediately.
On some vehicles this light may be red – again stop the vehicle and seek assistance.
If it is safe to do so, try stopping the vehicle, switching off the engine, wait two minutes, then restarting the engine to reset the engine management system.
With the light illuminated, the vehicle is still safe to drive as long as no other faults are apparent with the engine.
Common problems: vacuum hose leaks, failed oxygen sensor, loose gas cap, failure in electronics.
Electronic Control Module controls the operation of the vehicle powertrain, engine and transmission. The main purpose is to keep the engine running at top efficiency with the lowest emissions. Computer has self testing capability. Have your vehicle checked by a dealer to avoid any damage to catalytic converter.
ABS INDICATOR LIGHT
Anti-Lock Braking System Indicator Light – Indicates a fault with the anti-lock braking system. If this light comes on you will still have normal braking ability but without the anti-lock function.
Common problems: bad electrical connection or broken wire, wheel sensor malfunction.
ABS System is designed to keep you safe during panic stops, by limiting wheels from locking. better steering control, ABS brakes helps to shorten stopping distances. The system is often integrated with traction control and stability control. ABS Warning does not monitoring brake pads or disc, rotors wear.
ABS AND BRAKES WARNING LIGHT
If both warning lights illuminate at the same time when driving, stop the vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so.
Reduce vehicle speed gradually and immediately move the vehicle to a safe location. Use the brakes with great care. Do not step on the brake pedal abruptly. Seek assistance.
Common problems: brake master cylinder malfunction, brake fluid leaking, electrical problem.
Brake performance is the most important safety element, the ABS brakes helps to shorten stopping distances. If the brake fluid is low and brake pedal travel is noticeably longer than usual, it means that hydraulic pressure has been lost in one of the hydraulic system. Don’t continue driving your vehicle.
BRAKES WARNING LIGHT
This light will remain on until you have released the parking brake. If the light comes on whilst driving then there is a problem with the braking system. Take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible.
Common problems: low brake fluid level, driving with handbrake engaged, brake pads worn out.
Brakes are the most important parts of your car, typical brake system consists of disk brakes in front and either disk or drum brakes in the rear connected by hydraulic system to the master cylinder. If the brake fluid is too low indicted: brake pads worn out or leak in hydraulic system, check brake pedal travel.
BATTERY AND CHARGING LIGHT
Battery and Charging Light Indicator – If this light comes on then your car battery isn’t being charged. This could be caused by a faulty alternator, a battery that has come to the end of its working life (most batteries last up to four or so years) or because the battery terminals need cleaning.
Common problems: fault battery, alternator failure, loose or broken alternator belt, alternator failure, broken wire.
Charging system produce a voltage while the engine is running, As long as the charging system is working, all of the power is delivered by the alternator. If the charging system stopped working, battery charge would soon be depleted. Check if belt is OK and turning the alternator, check battery terminals.
ENGINE OVERHEATING LIGHT
Engine Overheating Light Indicator – If this light comes on it means your engine is overheating. Pull over and call for roadside assistance.
Common problems: thermostat fails to open, coolant level is low, cooling fan is not working.
The purpose of the engine cooling system is to remove excess heat from the engine, to keep the engine operating at its most efficient temperature. WARNING: Do not attempt to open the radiator cap when engine is hot. Add water to coolant reservoir if it is low, check radiator and heater hoses for coolant leak.
ENGINE OIL PRESSURE WARNING LIGHT
Low Oil Pressure Light Indicator – Indicates low oil levels. If this light comes on you should check the oil levels immediately. Driving with insufficient oil levels can cause serious damage to the car’s engine.
Common problems: excessive main bearing wear, oil level is low, worn or broken oil pump.
Oil main function is to lubricate moving parts in the engine, oil also cleans, inhibits corrosion, improves sealing and cools the engine by carrying heat away. First check the oil level, if the level low add oil to bring the level to the full mark. If oil level was low, it means your engine is either leaking oil or burning oil.
Credit to Drving Test & eario.