Understanding Dashboard Warning Lights
BELMONT — There are a lot of warning lights on a vehicle’s dashboard, all of which help ensure safety on the road. While some are self-explanatory, others aren’t as obvious, so it’s important for drivers to acquaint themselves with the various warning lights and their functions. Here are some important ones to know:
Battery warning light
This light is in the shape of a car battery and usually indicates a problem with the alternator. Since the alternator recharges the battery, it’s important to directly address any issues because its failure can render your vehicle inoperable. If the battery light comes on and stays on while you’re driving, the most common cause is a broken alternator belt.
Oil pressure warning light
This light is in the shape of an old-fashioned oil can and indicates low engine oil pressure. When this light comes on, it’s crucial to immediately pull over and turn off your vehicle—if the engine runs out of oil, it can seize up and grind to a halt, resulting in extensive and costly repairs.
“Check engine” light
Also known as the “service engine soon” light, this warning light indicates a problem with the vehicle’s emission system. Numerous components can cause this light to turn on, so it’s important to have it checked out as soon as possible.
Brake warning light
In most cases, the purpose of this light is straightforward: to let you know your parking brake is on. However, if the light stays on after you’ve released the parking brake, it may indicate a low level of brake fluid in the master cylinder. This can compromise brake safety, so be sure to check your brake fluid level.
Airbag warning light
Often referred to as SRS, which stands for “supplemental restraint system,” this warning light usually indicates an issue with the vehicle’s airbags, whether a faulty deploy mechanism or a past-due expiration date (most airbags expire 10 to 15 years after the initial purchase).
To better acquaint yourself with your vehicle’s dashboard warning lights, it’s a good idea to study your owner’s manual, which outlines each light and its purpose in detail.