What do those little lights mean?

Posted by: Cal on 26/07/2013

Category: General

We all dread those moments when something lights up the dashboard or an indicator starts flashing like crazy, and we have no idea what it means. Before you despair and send your vehicle and car tyres off to the scrap heap, take a moment to figure out what might be wrong.

Luckily we've got some of the answers right here for you in case something strange starts lighting up in your car.

Beware the blink

One day you might hit the indicator left and realise that it's blinking particularly quickly on one side. This can be confusing if it has never happened before, but don't worry. It simply means that one of the indicator bulbs has blown, so you know to take your vehicle to your local repairs shop and get the bulb replaced.

Check your oil

Your oil light (which may look something akin to Aladdin's lamp) might blink on if your oil pressure is low. If you leave it too long your engine will, unfortunately, die.

Many things can cause low oil pressure, so check it out. Perhaps you need the levels topped up or a filter unblocked.

Hold the brakes

If something's wrong with your braking system a light should pop up on your dashboard. When this is lit a wide range of things might be wrong with your vehicle -  your handbrake could still be on, or there could be a lack of fluid in the master cylinder. If you can't work out why it's on, you may need to get some help from someone in the know.

Check the coolant light

This light may look a bit like a thermometer. It will light up if your radiator needs some more coolant. Don't touch the radiator cap until your car and engine have cooled down. Never use tap water to top this up - use distilled water or coolant from an auto shop.

Electrical faults

This light on your dash should look a bit like a picture of a battery. If this light stays on it means that the electrical charging system in your car isn't working correctly and your battery may run out. It may still last for a while as you drive around, but once the remaining battery wears out then it'll kick the dust - so don't head out on any long drives with this one!

Remember - if in doubt, check it out. It's better to be safe than sorry, and many problems are easily and inexpensively fixed.