DRIVING HACKS: GET TO KNOW YOUR DASHBOARD
Do you know what all the lights on your dashboard mean?
We’re not saying you have to have a mechanic’s level of knowledge when it comes to your car but understanding the basics can really help. The lights on your dashboard tell you what the cars doing and they’ll also alert you if something isn’t quite right so knowing what each one means will help keep your car in tip-top shape.
Red – A red light on your dashboard means danger, stop as soon as you can and get professional help.
Yellow – A yellow or amber light means you have a problem. The problem will need sorting but does not mean immediate danger.
The difference between the two colours? Yellow means you can drive home and get it fixed. Red means you need to stop straight away (safely) and get it fixed.
Brake System / Brake Fluid Warning Light
Your brakes are one of the most important safety features on your car for you and everyone around you. If this light illuminates red on your dashboard, firstly make sure that your handbrake is fully released (off), if it continues to flicker or stay on pull over and call your mechanic ASAP.
Oil Warning Light
If your oil light flashes red it can mean that the oil temperature is too high, the level is low or the pressure is low. Oil is what lubricates your engine and helps it work in harmony. If this light flashes, you should pull over as it’s safe to do so and call your mechanic straight away. If you ignore the light, it can be a costly and dangerous mistake.
Battery Warning Light
If your battery warning light turns red whilst driving it will more than likely mean a problem with the charging system rather than the battery itself. The danger of this is that your vehicle could run out of charge meaning your lights will go off and your engine could suddenly stop dead.
Power Steering / PAS Warning Light
If your power steering fails you’ll find that steering becomes very heavy which can become very dangerous. So if your PAS lights up red and your steering becomes heavy you need to pull over as soon as you safely can and get professional help.
Airbag Warning Light
If this light comes on red, it means there’s an issue with your airbags. It can also mean that your seat belts are not working. If your car has a faulty airbag it could mean that it won’t go off in the event of an accident, leaving you and your passengers vulnerable.
ECU / Engine Warning Light
If your engine light appears yellow/amber you’ll probably be experiencing some other symptoms such as lack of power because your car has gone into ‘safe mode’. Sometimes it can be a small issue but sometimes it can be a more serious mechanical issue. Either way, you need to get your engine looked at by a professional as soon as possible.
Coolant Warning Light
Without coolant, your car could get so hot it could fuse itself together. Madness! If this light illuminates yellow/amber it could mean that your coolant levels are low so have a look under the bonnet and see. If your engine temperature is high and your coolant light is on, it could mean that your engine is overheating. This could be either a minor or a major problem so it’s best to get it looked at straight away.
ABS / Anti-Lock Brake System
The anti-lock brake system is an anti-skid brake system designed to keep you safe. If your light illuminates yellow/amber then it means there can be a fault in any part of the ABS and the system will be disabled until it’s fixed. If the ABS and the Brake System warning lights both come on at the same time, you need to pull over (safely) and call for help.