Paying close attention to your vehicle’s warning lights is one of the surest ways to know whether your vehicle needs a minor automotive service, or a more extensive automotive repair. The dashboard lights are color-coordinated according to the severity of the warning (i.e., yellow is caution, red is serious). Each time you start the car, all of the lights and indicators appear as the car’s computer checks each system. When the lights go out, the computer has verified that each of the vehicle’s systems is functioning properly.
If an indicator light remains on several minutes after the car has been started, or if it comes on while driving the car, you should be concerned about it. You will want to treat all dash warning lights like traffic signals.
The two basic kinds of warning lights; Yellow and Red, are further described below:
Yellow Warning Lights –
On most cars, a yellow “Service Engine Soon” light means “proceed with caution.” Your car’s computer system has indicated a potential problem and is alerting the driver.
The computer system is capable of correcting some minor abnormalities, but if the light continues to come on after multiple car starts, it is telling you that you need to consult a technical manual and/or schedule an automotive service. If the light comes on while you are driving but doesn’t come back on again, the computer system probably corrected the problem without any further intervention.
Common problems that may cause the “Service Engine Soon” light to come on are:
* computer-related problems, such as faulty sensors
* anti-lock brake systems
* safety restraint systems, such as air bags
* emissions components
Red Warning Lights –
A Red Warning light indicates an immediate danger to your car and you should immediately pull over and turn off the car. Whatever caused the red light to come on can be a safety issue (i.e., brakes), so proceed with caution as you maneuver to stop the vehicle.
Unfortunately, when the red light comes on, the problem is already occurringthis is NOT a pre-warning. It can be a matter of seconds before permanent engine damage occurs. Call for road-side assistance for automotive repair.
Problems that normally cause red warning lights are:
* low oil pressure
* engine over-heating
* brake failure
* transmission over-heating
* low battery voltage.
Like smart phones, vehicles these days are ‘smart’ and are continuously monitoring the performance of your vehicle.
For professional automotive service, contact our ASE-certified technicians at A&C Automotive & Machine by calling 651-674-4733, or go online at http://aandcautomotive.com for more information. Since 1985, our auto center has served vehicle owners in North Branch, MN, and in the surrounding areas of Harris and Stacy, MN.