Modern cars have sophisticated systems to warn you when a component is in distress. The idea being that you should investigate and fix a minor issue that might turn into major damage if ignored. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t understand the correlation between warning lights and the possible issues, so here’s a general overview.
Note: Not all models have identical warning lights, but enough similarities exist for generalization.
Check Engine Light
This prominent warning light is a catch-all for engine irregularities. If sensors tell your car’s computer something’s off–a loose gas cap, damaged catalytic converter, or overheating engine–pay attention. This light cannot be neglected and driving days or weeks with the check engine light on can have catastrophic effects.
The best thing you can do when this light turns on is find out the error code logged in the vehicle’s computer. This task might involve an at-home diagnostics tool or a trip the mechanic. Either way, you want to learn the problem as soon as possible.
Anti-Lock Brake System
If the brakes fail in slippery conditions, the anti-lock brake system steps in. It’s a vital safety feature you want to keep in top shape. This indicator, labeled with the letters ABS, illustrates a problem in the system. Maybe the wheel sensors have gotten dirty or voltage loss is at play, but whatever the source, having a professional evaluate your anti-lock brakes is the only way to clean the slate.
An electrical system malfunction will cause the battery light to illuminate, and if this happens, you should have the area checked as soon as possible. While re-attaching loose wires might be all you need to remedy the issue, damaged electrical components can wreak havoc on your daily commute.
This light might mean something as simple as an engaged parking brake. If the light stays on after you disengage the parking brake, however, it could indicate deficient hydraulic pressure or low brake fluid. Since you want your car to stop when you tell it to, consider taking it to a technician as soon as possible.
Oil Pressure Light
This dripping oil can icon means your car’s lubrication needs attention. Since oil keeps the engine cool and healthy, you want to stay consistent with scheduled maintenance, and oil changes top the list.