De­ci­pher­ing and De­cod­ing the Most Com­mon Dash­board Warn­ing Lights

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

We have all ex­pe­ri­enced that vex­ing mo­ment when we are ca­su­ally driv­ing to our des­ti­na­tion, and sud­denly - out of nowhere - a flash­ing warn­ing light ap­pears on our dash­board. We’re all too fa­mil­iar with the feel­ings of sheer panic and con­fu­sion that of­ten en­sue.

The fact is, for some of us who aren’t ex­actly me­chan­i­cally-in­clined, de­crypt­ing those blink­ing warn­ing lights on our dash­board can be tricky - which, let’s face it, is a real is­sue con­sid­er­ing that some of these symbols are de­signed to flag an ur­gent and some­times dan­ger­ous un­der­ly­ing prob­lem.

See­ing that these warn­ing signs could be in­di­cat­ing any­thing from need­ing a mi­nor top up of fluid to a cat­a­strophic en­gine melt­down, un­der­stand­ing whether you need to be con­cerned or act quickly is es­sen­tial, to say the least.

With this in mind - and to help you bet­ter as­sess if you are driv­ing un­der the best pos­si­ble con­di­tions - we have rounded up the most com­mon warn­ing lights that typ­i­cally pop up on our dash­boards to ex­plain what mes­sage they are try­ing to con­vey.

Here they are:

• Ex­cla­ma­tion in a Jar (or Low Tire Pres­sure Warn­ing Light): This sym­bol looks like an ex­cla­ma­tion point in paren­the­sis. What it alerts to is a sig­nif­i­cant loss in pres­sure of one of the ve­hi­cle’s tires. In other words, at least one of your tires might be get­ting flat. If the warn­ing light comes on, stop as soon as safely pos­si­ble and in­flate the tires to the rec­om­mended pres­sure shown in the driver’s man­ual.

• The Aladdin Lamp (or Low Oil Pres­sure Warn­ing Light): if this sign which bears an un­canny re­sem­blance to Aladdin’s magic Ge­nie Lamp - comes on, it means that the en­gine oil pres­sure might be low. This may sim­ply mean that the oil lev­els need to be topped up, or could in­di­cate a more com­plex is­sue. Ac­cord­ing to ACDelco, which sells car parts and flu­ids for many car mak­ers, low en­gine oil pres­sure can cause ex­ten­sive and costly dam­age to your en­gine. If this warn­ing light dis­plays, safely bring your ve­hi­cle to a stop and do not restart your en­gine. Check the en­gine oil level. If it’s not low, or if you’re not sure how to check it, note that many ve­hi­cles, such as Chevro­lets, GMCs and Cadil­lacs come with re­gion wide road­side as­sis­tance (the phone num­ber should be on a sticker on the car win­dow), so call the ex­perts to take a look and ad­vise you on your next steps. Note that most auto in­sur­ance poli­cies come with road­side as­sis­tance too. Re­mem­ber, it is im­por­tant not to op­er­ate the en­gine with the oil pres­sure warn­ing light on.

• The Keyed Ther­mome­ter (or Tem­per­a­ture Gauge/Light): this sym­bol is fairly easy to re­mem­ber - it looks like a ther­mome­ter in wa­ter. It ba­si­cally in­di­cates the tem­per­a­ture of your ve­hi­cle’s coolant. A read­ing in the “H” zone of any light means “HOT” and is an in­di­ca­tion of trou­ble. If you re­ceive this no­tice, sim­ply pull over to a safe lo­ca­tion, shift into neu­tral (N) and al­low the en­gine to idle. Do not con­tinue to drive if the tem­per­a­ture does not re­turn to nor­mal or the “HOT” light stays on!

• The Box­ing Glove (or Mal­func­tion In­di­ca­tor Light): this is known as a ‘check en­gine light’, but what ex­actly are you sup­posed to check? Well, it could in­di­cate a num­ber of po­ten­tial is­sues, which is why, if it re­mains on while driv­ing then be sure to seek ser­vice promptly! But, there’s no need to panic if you see this light briefly when you turn the ig­ni­tion on. As long as it doesn’t stay on, it’s ok.

• Wink­ing Ro­bot (or Volt­age Gauge/Bat­tery Light): this light is just a tiny bat­tery and in­di­cates the elec­tri­cal sys­tem’s volt­age when the en­gine is run­ning. You need to ser­vice your ve­hi­cle if the bat­tery light comes on or if the pointer moves to ei­ther “HIGH” or “LOW,” in­di­cat­ing too much or not enough volt­age.

Re­mem­ber, knowl­edge is power. Now that you have armed your­self with this per­ti­nent in­for­ma­tion, you will hope­fully no longer find your­self strug­gling to de­ci­pher your dash­board warn­ing lights - in­stead, you will be able to swiftly take ac­tion!

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