Every car has its own set of warning lights and while some are lit up to indicate something relatively benign, some can indicate serious issues that need to be urgently addressed. Invented by the Hudson Motor Car Company in the 1930s for basic issues such as oil pressure, car warning lights have since evolved into a complex set of indicators for just about everything to do with your vehicle.
From someone not wearing their seat belt or a door being open to engine temperature and battery charge, there’s no shortage of car warning lights that can be presented to you as a driver.
Some car warning lights exist only to inform of smaller issues such as an open trunk but serious vehicle operation warnings are indicated and are usually presented as either green, yellow or red depending on their seriousness or operating condition. If a warning persists, such as the “check engine” light then you should get your vehicle to an auto body repair shop ASAP.
Alerts and Conditions
When a vehicle system is operating at optimal efficiency then it will usually be displayed with a green-lit icon such as a full tank. As the amount of gas in your car eventually depletes as you use it, the icon can change from green to yellow, as a slight warning that you aren’t running a full tank, and then to red whenever the gas gets so low that it needs filling urgently.
However, there are some lights that will only display should an issue be imminent or something needs checking. For example, the dreaded “check engine” light illuminates at a yellow alert whenever a problem has been detected with the engine by the car’s internal sensors. Although the car might sound and feel OK, this could indicate an imminent issue with the engine that requires a professional as soon as possible.
A red indicator signifies that something is very serious and you need to address it straight away. As mentioned, this could include an immediate gas top-up but usually acknowledges something more serious.
Engine temperature is a good example of a red icon since the engine should not be getting too hot as if it does the metal from which it is made can expand and crack, causing serious damage to your engine block and possible serious injury should you be driving at speed or on a busy road.
What to Do
As a driver, it is your responsibility to always be vigilant about your car warning lights and take the time to learn what it is that each individual icon means. The complex nature of modern vehicles means that there are now many car warning lights and each manufacturer or model may include its own lights.
For example, some sports cars have unique lights such as a “rear spoiler warning” light while others may have an “adaptive suspension warning”. Vehicles with auto lights and auto wipers could indicate the “rain and light sensor warning” icon if there is an issue.
Should you see any warning lights then it is advised that you perform the recommended actions as advised in your owner manual. Your owner manual for your model of vehicle will inform you of the best course of action depending on what you see. While this might vary slightly from model to model, there are some that are always going to be the same.
A check engine light might not necessarily indicate a serious issue but it is always advised to have your car checked if this is displayed while oil levels should always be kept at their optimal level so as not to cause serious engine issues. Should you see an oil warning then top up the oil as soon as possible. The same goes for gas and engine battery levels which while not serious at the first showing can result in a breakdown if not addressed promptly.