So much of your modern automobile is computerized. That means your car gives you access to a wide range of information. The pesky warning lights on your dashboard might be easy to disregard, especially when you are in a rush to get to your destination. However, while many warning lights do not require immediate attention, there are a few you shouldn’t ignore. These lights generally mean you need to get your car to a repair shop for immediate auto service. Those warning lights include: Check Engine This one is probably the least of your worries. When this light comes on, it means the engine computer has found an anomaly in the data it is receiving from one of the dozens of sensors. It can come on for any number of reasons, ranging from minor to serious. Have you ever left your gas cap off or not closed it tight? This small problem could trigger the check engine light. That said, most of the triggers for this light are of critical importance. Get your car in for auto service and they will check for emissions, engine, transmission, and fuel system problems. Tire Pressure If your car has a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), you will have a light on your dash to warn you if a tire is low. Today there are even warning lights that tell you exactly which tire is triggering the light to come on. It might just be a seasonal change. Cold weather and slightly low tire pressure will set off the warning light. However, it could also mean there is a nail in the tread or your tire is dangerously flat. Safely pull over and take a look. If you can make it to a service station, you can add a little air to the tires and see if that solves the problem. Engine Temperature This is one of the most important monitors on your vehicle. Your engine coolant protects your car against overheating. However, if the temperature indicator comes on, it means your car is about to overheat. Most likely engine coolant is low, but it’s possibly you might have a leaky hose, a failed thermostat, or another serious problem. Once the engine cools back down, it’s best get to your local mechanic in Rockville, MD
for auto service. Oil Pressure This light usually looks a bit like Aladdin’s lamp. It comes on when you start the car and should go off in a second or two. If it comes on and doesn’t go off or blinks as you brake or round a corner, pull over and turn off your car. You need to check your engine immediately to be sure it isn’t running dangerously low on oil. The lifespan of your engine running without enough oil flow is measured in seconds, not miles. If the oil level is high enough, you probably just need to call and schedule an oil change. If oil is low, add oil until it reaches the appropriate level and go in for an auto service so they can test for leaks. Brake Light This is another light that comes on when you turn the ignition and it should go off in a couple seconds or when you disengage the emergency brake. If it stays on, something has gone wrong with the parking break or the brake fluid in the master cylinder is low. Not sure what the lights on your dashboard mean? Visit Auto Clinic Care at 5531 Nicholson Ln., Ste. A, Rockville, MD 20852, for a routine inspection and auto service. Or call to set up an appointment.