Warning Signs In Your Vehicle You Should Never Ignore
Regardless if your vehicle was bought new or used, it is still one of the most expensive purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. While you may not always get a heads up to every problem it can have, paying attention to early signs that there are issues lurking underneath can help prevent you from added frustrations and costs in repairs, not to mention extend the life of your car, truck or van. But ignoring these warning signs can lead to big problems…
Sometimes called dummy lights, indicator lights are never good to ignore. If after starting your vehicle, you notice any of these remain illuminated, you should get your car to a trusted dealership or shop to investigate the underlying cause.
Engine Light: Indicates a problem with vehicle’s systems and should never be ignored. Reasons for it engaging vary from a loose gas cap to a malfunctioning sensor to a faulty catalytic convertor, with costs ranging from nothing but a little bit of elbow grease to thousands. The most important thing to remember… whatever the issue, it won’t solve itself and ignoring it longer will only increase the cost of repairing the issue.
Oil Pressure Light: Indicates there is a problem with your oil pressure and can be caused from low oil, defective oil pressure sending unit, faulty oil pump, warning light switch or oil pressure gauge. How dangerous to your vehicle’s health to continue driving once it makes its appearance? Extremely!! Oil is your vehicle’s lifeblood and driving when there’s an issue with it can lead to expensive repairs or possibly having to replace the engine.
Temperature Gauge: Indicates your engine is running too hot or overheating. This should not happen, even during stop & go traffic or when it’s hot if the coolant system is working properly. If your temperature gauge light is glowing, turn off your vehicle to let it cool before continuing to drive or checking to see if your coolant fluid is low.
Low Battery Light: Indicates a battery charging problem. This could indicate a problem with the battery itself, a problem with the alternator which recharges it or more commonly, an alternator belt. Differing from other mechanical issues, keep the engine running to recharge the battery if at all possible or at the very least will help you avoid having to restart it which is one of the biggest tasks that drains your battery.
Brake Warning Light: Indicates there is something wrong with the brake hydraulic system. This could be as easy as forgetting to release the parking brake to hydraulic pressure being lost in one of the brake systems to brake fluid in the master cylinder being dangerously low. Issues with your braking system are serious because they can lead to brake failure, resulting in a dangerous situation where you can’t stop.
Low Tire Light: Indicates tire pressure that is low enough to create unsafe driving conditions. Keeping in mind that your tires are the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road beneath helps put their importance in perspective. Underinflated tires mean lessening of traction, undue tire wear and possibly even tire failure. Pressure may be lost from an item having punctured it, leading to a slow or fast leak, or due to cold conditions. A less common reason for a low tire light glowing is a faulty sensor. If you have checked and all of your tires are properly inflated, a faulty sensor may be the culprit.
They say where there’s smoke, there’s fire but if it’s coming from your vehicle, it can mean you’re burning your hard earned money. Thick blue or black smoke indicates the vehicle is burning oil, meaning oil is somehow leaking into your engine’s combustion chamber. Burning oil like this can cause a wide range of issues from reduced fuel economy to less-than-stellar acceleration. White smoke can combined with coolant loss can mean a cracked or warped cylinder head, a cracked engine block, or head gasket failure caused by overheating. A cracked head may allow coolant to leak into one or more cylinders or into the combustion chamber of the engine.
Knowing how to identify what fluid is leaking from your vehicle is important to deciding just how urgent a repair may be. While it’s never a good thing to have a leak, some fluids matter more than others. Probably one of the easiest to identify is oil which is black. Green fluid is coolant and one of the most common fluids to leak. While it doesn’t spell immediate danger to your car, it can to your pets. Take care to clean up any leaking from your vehicle to prevent an animal ingesting it. Gas can be easily identified by its odor and location, which will be towards the rear of the vehicle. Brake fluid is yellow and is somewhat thicker. If you suspect you are low on this fluid, it’s best not to risk driving to the shop and instead calling a tow truck. Red fluid is transmission fluid and without it, you risk grinding your engine into oblivion.
After a while you get to know your vehicle… how it handles and how it sounds when it’s running smoothly. If you suddenly start to hear strange noises from it, it means it’s trying to tell you something. Take care to notice any thumping while braking, any sounds while turning, grinding while shifting into a different gear, knocking from the engine compartment or loud bangs, you should get it checked out.
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