EACH and every time you start your car’s engine, there are a host of lights to greet you, but after a few seconds of engine operation they may all fade away - hopefully not to be seen again until the next engine start. As good Car Care practice, all motorists should always heed their car’s cry for attention and be aware of the red and yellow indicators on the dashboard panel that illuminate to let you know when a problem occurs.
These range from low fuel, open doors, seat belts, bad light bulbs, faulty knock sensors, low oil, etc. Whatever the case or cause may be, motorists need to be aware of the critical ‘big three’ warning lights. These include those that monitor engine oil pressure, engine coolant temperature, and the vehicle charging system”, failures of which could result into severe consequences. “To reduce the chances of vehicle damage and/or a roadside breakdown, these warning lights require prompt and proper action whenever they illuminate.” In order to assist motorists understand better the important role of these three warning lights, we shall briefly highlight them and provide a brief explanation of each.
Warning Light Test; when the ignition key is first turned to the ON position, all of the vehicle’s warning lights should illuminate. The “big three” lights typically remain on until the engine is started and running. If a warning light fails to illuminate at this time, have the related system checked out by a qualified Auto Repair facility. Once the engine is running, all the warning lights should go out within a few seconds. If any light remains illuminated, consult your owner’s manual or visit the motor vehicle website for further information on causes and remedies.
These lights were never installed to make your motor vehicle look beautiful or posh, there are there for a purpose and that is to “alert” the driver of a problem or an impending problem. They are just a “symptom” and not a disease. I have seen a number of drivers who chose to “disable” them rather than attend to the causes behind their going on!
Engine Oil Pressure; the engine oil pressure warning light commonly displays an oil can symbol or the word “OIL.” When the oil pressure warning light illuminates, the engine has lost its supply of pressurized lubricating oil and severe engine damage or catastrophic failure can occur within seconds. This indicator can go on as a result of the engine oil losing its viscosity or reduction in its recommended volume. Of all the warning lights, the oil pressure light indicates the greatest potential for serious mechanical damage, and also allows you the shortest time in which to take appropriate action. If the oil pressure warning light comes on and stays on: pull off the road immediately, shut off the engine, and call a qualified Auto repair specialist to have your vehicle towed to an Approved Auto Repair facility.
Unless you are in an extremely dangerous situation, do not attempt to drive the vehicle any farther. This can significantly increase the extent of any engine damage - turning a possibly minor repair into a complete engine replacement. Just imagine failing to replace an Oil Filter that may cost the equivalent of US$10 could lead to loss of engine oil and as a result, the replacement of an engine costing in excess of US$3000!
(To Be Continued)