Ron’s Auto and RV Can Help You Decipher Your Car
Driving is all about information. In order to make effective, even unconscious, driving driving decisions. Information from other drivers, road signs and conditions, the weather and even your own car are all important in aiding your journey from departure to destination.
Many cars have their own set of symbols to indicate issues with your car, we’ve taken the time to help you decipher some of the more complex ones aside from parking brake warnings and seat belt lights (which reminds us: click on that seat belt!).
These are the ones that indicate you might need to find the fix at the nearest auto parts shop or take it into Ron’s Auto and RV so that we can check your vehicle out for any serious issues.
Think you already have need for a mechanic near the Vancouver area? Contact us today!
This one looks like an airbag going off in a person’s face, but in a twist of irony, indicates the opposite will happen. One of the airbags inside your car is malfunction or potentially disabled. If you run into a collision with this light on, a dangerous game of air bag roulette will unfold.
A faulty air bag increases the risk of serious injury or death in the event of a collision by significant margin. If you did not disable your airbags on purpose, it is worth investigating why this lamp has turned on.
Another issue this light comes on has to do with the seat belt pretensioner not functioning properly. This is what keeps the belt taut and ready over your torso and waist. Once again, should this light turn on and your seat belt has no tension or tautness to it, a check-in diagnostic with your nearest mechanic is recommended.
Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
The Anti-Lock Braking System, or ABS, is an electromechanical system introduced in the Eighties and Nineties after first being patented in 1928. It’s designed to prevent skids and locked-up brakes causing the driver to lose a handle on the momentum and direction of their vehicle at a time when they most need it.
Braking without a working anti-lock brakes turns into a game of tap dancing rather than a slow, secure press. It demonstrably reduces the lethality of human error when driving. Its introduction has resulted in the overall reduction of single- and multiple-vehicle collisions. When this ABS warning light comes on, take note and have it checked out as soon as possible.
Battery Voltage Level
When the red battery light comes on your dash, it’s time for a jump. You will know, not just by the battery voltage light, but also by the fact that the car will not be able to start.
It might also come on while driving, regardless, consider it a warning: you might need a new a battery. You can stave this off by taking your battery to the nearest auto parts shop to fully charge the battery. Most car batteries are also covered by extensive warranties and it would be worth it to double check that yours is covered before shelling out the money for a new one.
A brake warning light could mean any number of things in need of maintenance, replacement or repair. We’ve covered what potential issues could arise from brakes before, but it always bears repeating: it could be the calipers, the pads, the disk or the hydraulic fluid.
There might be an issue with any one of these components. Regardless which one goes faulty, when this light comes on it’s time to to take your vehicle to the auto repair shop. If the engine is the most important component because it makes the car go, then a brake system is the second most important component because it makes the car stop.
The bulb failure indicator light looks like a small lightbulb with an exclamation point, but the issue is rather benign. It warns that one or more of the many bulbs in your car has burned out. It could be any bulb from a tail light to a head light or fog light to a blinker that has gone out.
Identifying which light needs replacement can be tedious but is as simple as turning on your car and then patrolling each light. You will then need to inspect each light, turning your fog lights on and switches on sides on your blinkers.
Check Engine Light
Looking like a garden hose valve, this dashboard warning light is technically referred to as a “malfunction indicator lamp” but most people identify it as a check engine light. It could signify much more than just an engine acting up and usually will require a licensed mechanic to diagnose.
We recommend coming into Ron’s Auto and RV to have our team run a diagnostic and figure out just exactly what malfunction occurred. Moreover it is important to check any engine difficulties as soon as possible. The engine is the most important component of any petrol-fueled car, without it, nothing turns on, including the “malfunction indicator lamp.”
Most people misread this particular icon light as their oil pressure light. Instead, this water thermometer of an indicator refers to engine temperature that has run too high or engine coolant level that has run too low. While engine oil might correlate to the engine coolant levels falling low or some other check engine light, it has its own light.
Regardless, this lamp will inform you when the engine is on the edge of overheating. Coolant can be bought at any big box hardware store or auto parts shop and can be refilled under the hood. If you still receive this light after topping off your vehicle’s coolant container, make sure to let the engine cool. If that still does not solve the issue you will probably need to take your car in for a small patch up–there might be a coolant leak. Check under the engine to see where, if any, liquid pools.
The light that indicates oil pressure or levels might be too low actually looks like a leaking oil can or, even better, a crying magic lamp. In essence, engine oil is a magic substance: it greases the moving parts in a motor vehicle so friction and wear does not occur between the metal.
It’s a not-so-secret reagent developed to keep your engine working like new. Cleaning, cooling, lubricating and protecting the engine from corrosion or water. Checking engine oil is an easy thing any car owner can do, all it requires is a paper towel and a dipstick. And the car provides the dipstick.
Just wipe off that measuring tool, reinsert it into the oil chamber and read the measurement. There should be a small circular divot on the end. If that little cavity is not filled with oil, you will need to find an oil change shop or repair shop in general to switch out the oil in your car. They will also be able to patch any holes.
This one is pretty straightforward: it looks like a yellow or red steering wheel and indicates reduced function in power steering. It might flash yellow on and off when you start up your car, this is normal. But if it stays on and even turns red than it means you are now fully steering the car without any electronic assistance.
You will feel it, too.
The car’s steering wheel becomes a massive lug nut to turn without this assistant function. When fully stopped or going slow, the column becomes damn near impossible to turn. Even when going fast, power steering works out to make sure you’re not working out behind the wheel. If this light turns on red, bring it to the nearest mechanic possible (if you can) to understand why and potentially fix the issue.
Tire Air Pressure
This common light belies a problem in tire pressure. The tire pressure monitoring senses that the tire has deflated to a level lower than 30 PSI. Consistently low inflation pressure means your tires may have sprung an air leak and you will need to have them patched at the nearest tire shop.
If it’s just an inflation issue, gas stations offer tire inflation services. You can check your pressure level with a tire pressure gauge after inflating your tires.
Windshield Washer Fluid
This one is another simple light: your windshield washer fluid level is low!
It’s also an easy fix–all auto repair shops, if not big box department stores, sell this wiper fluid by the gallon. Moreover, just like engine coolant, engine oil and brake fluid, the wiper fluid compartment is just under the hood.
When it turns on, it will shine green. If it turns on after recently filling your wiper fluid compartment, run the wipers if possible. If the wipers don’t work or you notice something leaking out of the bottom of the engine bay, then there is a bigger issue at hand. Usually you will not notice wipers do not work properly when you need the most. Bad wipers in a rainstorm are grounds to pull over the car and wait for the rain to cease.