Today vehicles have multiple warning lights built in. However they are only helpful if you know what they mean and take corrective action when they appear. A light that comes on in your dashboard is not always bad news. Sometimes it is just a visual reminder to perform routine maintenance. It can even just mean it is time to air up your tires. The color of the light signifies its level of importance. Amber means it needs to be checked soon, where a red light indicates a condition where the vehicle may be unsafe to drive or continued use will cause additional damage. A flashing light is also a higher priority than a steady one.
The most common light you will see is your preventative maintenance indicator. This can take the form of a wrench or in most cases the words “maintenance required” will appear. Keep in mind this indicator is set on a timer and if the shop who performed your last service forgot to reset it, the light may come on prematurely. You can use your service label on the windshield to verify your last service interval.
Now that the weather is cooling off you may see your low tire indicator coming on, especially in the morning. Tire pressure changes about 1 pound for every 6 degrees of temperature change. If your tires were inflated to 32psi when it was 105 degrees, that same tire will only read 26 psi at a temperature of 65 degrees. This is why it is very common for the tire pressure light to come on this time of year or some of you may have experienced the light during our last few rain storms.
Check engine lights can come on for a multitude of reasons. This warning light can also be in the form of an engine symbol or sometimes say “service engine”. All 3 indicate emissions or engine performance concerns. It is common practice to ignore this light when there are no symptoms in conjunction with its appearance. We recommend to at least, have the computer scanned for the failure code, to avoid a more costly repair in the future. If the light is flashing, immediate attention may be needed.
You have 2 brake system lights. The red light comes on when there is an issue with the mechanical portion of your braking system. The ABS light comes on when there is an electronic issue with the braking system. Any brake warning light should be addressed immediately to avoid an unsafe condition. If you believe the brake light is on due to low fluid level, please have the system inspected. This could be a symptom of worn brakes or a leak in the hydraulic system.
Other systems that commonly use warning lights are traction, stability, suspension, and airbag controls. Although most of the time these are not a high priority, you do need to keep in mind these systems will be inoperative until repairs are made.
H&I Automotive is equipped to assist you with all of your vehicle needs. We are located at 5338 E Main Street Suite #4 Mesa, AZ 85205 (just east of Higley). Please feel free to stop by with any questions or call us at 480/985-9279.