The three critical warning lights on the dashboard that require immediate service

08/06/2018

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The article discusses three most crucial warning lights that will cause disasters if ignored. A must-read for every driver.

A number of Nigerian mechanics have mentioned an alarming fact that many car owners do not understand warning lights in the digital dash. Many drivers notice the engine lights in their vehicle digital instrument panels, but misinterpret the signs, and choose to overlook it or take wrong actions. Frequently, these mistakes then cause their engines to break down and induce considerable costs thereafter.

According to professionally advised car maintenance practices, understanding warning lights is a must for any drivers. However, the number of car owners who don’t pay attention to the warning signs, or notice them but are ignorant of the lights, seems to increase over time.

The engine overheat warning symbol

Warning lights are important signals for drivers

For example, when a customer saw the oil pressure warning light in the digital dash but misunderstood the sign as an oil change notice. He continued driving without any proper check or action. As a result, the vehicle engine was completely damaged when being taken to a repair shop.

Vaguely assuming the meaning of a warning light and trying to take action on your way without being sure of all the facts are dreadful mistakes that can destroy your car. Even worse is overlooking the caution and doing nothing.

As reported by a mechanic, a car owner “created” a power spike that fried his central head-unit touchscreen. When the customer saw the warning light in the digital dash, with the hope of making the sign disappear, he continually unplugged and reconnected the battery, then …”BOOM!!!” and over.

That's why today, Naijauto.com will provide you with some knowledge of common warning lights, their arising reasons, optimal solutions, and their consequences if not being fixed in time. However, remember that the general tips listed below cannot replace your car manufacturer's instruction manual and should be considered as a backup instruction.

1. Warning light for oil pressure

What does the light mean?

Normally, when you switch on your vehicle engine, this type of warning light will flash on the digital dash about one or two second(s), then disappear. In this case, the oil pressure warning has no alarming purpose, and you can just keep driving your car as usual.

The oil pressure warning light

The oil pressure warning light means that oil pressure is lower than the safety standard.

However, if starting your engine is not the reason, then the warning light is implying that your engine sensor has detected below-safety-level oil pressure. This caution indicates an improper oil flow inside your engine that requires corrective actions immediately. The oil pressure warning light may appear due to an oil leak, excessive oil consumption, or oil pump failure.

Is the problem disastrous if being ignored?

When oil pressure is too low, your vehicle engine will have to work much tougher to operate your car. Keep driving the car without fixing the problem is just like putting 100 sheets of paper into a paper shredder. Insufficient oil pressure forces the system to overwork, which then causes rapid rundown of high-precision parts and eventually the engine collapse.

In many cases, just a-few-minute driving with low oil pressure can destroy your car severely, making it immobile. That’s why taking proper actions immediately when seeing the low oil pressure signal is undoubtedly required to avoid further destruction disaster.

What is the optimal solution to this case?

When seeing the warning sign, the first thing you should do is to drive your car to the roadside quickly and safely, and stop it as soon as possible. After you switch off the engine, look up your vehicle's instruction manual for feasible solutions. Each type of car has its specific corrective action, and the appropriate steps for each vehicle will be listed in that manual. Although it may be possible to pour more oil into your engine and keep driving with utmost caution, your car has to be brought to an auto shop to fix the problem completely.

How to fix a low oil pressure light in your car

2. Warning light for engine coolant/engine overheat

What does the light mean?

Just like its name, the engine overheat warning light appears to alert that your vehicle may quickly reach an extremely dangerous state due to an excessive temperature of your engine coolant. The coolant's extreme heat degree is detected by a red thermometer graphic along with a coolant gauge that's being activated when the coolant temperature approaches its red zone. The reason for the alarming light may be a coolant leak, a vapor in the cooling system, or coolant pump failure.

Is the problem disastrous if being ignored?

When noticing the engine overheat warning light, the wisest action is to deal with the overheating problem as quickly and correctly as possible. Ignoring engine coolant warning can promptly result in severely damaged internal components in your engine.

Engine overheat warning light

Ignoring engine coolant warning can promptly result in severely damaged internal components

For instance, an overheated system can make cylinder heads twisted, which is likely to generate costly repairs or even total replacement of the engine. Besides, failures of coolant hoses accompanied coolant plumping, and coolant bump itself also may lead to the breakdown of the head gasket. That's why you should adopt a proper course of actions to avoid possible expensive damages.

What is the optimal solution to this case?

Similar to the oil pressure circumstance, the first thing that you need to do when seeing this warning is leaving the roadway safely and stopping your car as soon as possible. In case of detected coolant leakage, you should turn the engine off immediately. The coolant leakage can be ascertained by a sweet burned sugar smell, steam rising from under the hood, or a pool of hot fluid beneath the car.

If you don’t see any of these signs, then let the engine idle with the cabin heat and fan speed working with the greatest possible power a few moments. After the engine is cooled down, turn it off and look up your vehicle’s instruction for further actions.

Although adding more coolant and keep driving are possible, you still should bring your car to a shop for proper repair. Remember that getting your vehicle fixed by a shop in time is undoubtedly much more economical than replacing a totally broken-down engine.

3. Warning light for brakes

What does the light mean?

While there is a typically definite reason for oil pressure or engine overheat warning lights, an alarming light of a brake problem may appear due to several causes. These reasons include a worn-out brake light bulb, a faulty brake light switch or a total failure of the car breaking control.

Brake warning light symbols

Brake warning lights can have various meanings

What is the optimal solution to this case?

If the brake warning light appears in the digital dash while driving and your car brakes are totally out of control, the best course of actions to do first is turning your emergency hazard lights on and trying to exit the roadway as quickly and safely as possible. Again, the instruction manual of your car will be your best guide.

Once you stop the car safely, examine if the brake fluid is sufficient. If the fluid level is below the safety standard, stop driving. If the scale seems adequate, then the problem may lie in the vehicle's Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) sensor or brake light wiring.

If continued driving with brake warnings is your only option, be sure to hold your caution and judgment at the highest level, and then have your vehicle checked thoroughly by a professional as soon as possible. If you are still unsure of the brake problem even after reviewing the manual, take your car to a shop for careful assessment and repair. Remember that this action is much less costly and risky than driving a car with no brake.

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