Can I Drive With This Light On?
The Meaning of Warning Lights in Your Car Explained
What do the warning lights in your car mean? And can you safely continue to drive even when they turn on?
By The Editors
Sun, Aug 28, 2022 11:33 AM PST
(all images from Canva.com)
When a warning light comes on in your car, it's important to know what it means and how to react. Each light represents something different, and some are more serious than others. Here is a guide to the most common warning lights you might see in your car:
Car Warning Lights
This light indicates that there is an issue with your car's oil level or pressure. If this light comes on, you should check your oil level and add oil if necessary. If the light persists, you'll need to have your car's oil system checked.
This light means that there is an issue with your car's battery or charging system. If this light comes on, you should have your battery and charging system checked by a mechanic.
This light indicates that there is an issue with your car's brakes. This is definitely not good, and you'll need to have your brakes checked by a mechanic as soon as possible. Like, stop driving!
Check Engine Light
The check engine light indicates that there is an issue with your car's engine. Since this light is a catch-all for many problems in the car's engine, it's hard to know what the problem really is, so you should have your engine checked by a mechanic as soon as possible.
Tire Pressure Light
This light indicates that there is an issue with the pressure in one or more of your car's tires. If this light comes on, you should check the tire pressure in all tires and inflate as necessary. Oftentimes this light means that one or more tires' air pressure differs from the pressure of the other tires' and/or that it differs from the pressure the tire had when you last reset the sensor. On that note, make sure to reset the sensor after you've inflated all tires properly.
This light indicates that your car's engine is overheating. If this light comes on, you should pull over and turn off your engine as soon as possible. Let your engine cool down before continuing to drive. Sidenote: If your car is getting close to overheating (you can see it on the temperature gauge), you can often prolong your drive by turning on the heat in the car as that helps cool the engine.
Things to Do When You See a Warning Light in Your Car
Now that you know the meaning of some of the most common warning lights in your car, it's important to know what to do when you see one. Here are a few tips:
1. Don't Panic
When you see a warning light, it can be easy to panic. However, it is important to stay calm and take the appropriate action.
2. Check the Owner's Manual
If you are unsure what a particular warning light means, check your car's owner's manual. This will give you specific information about the meaning of the light and what to do about it.
3. Pull Over When Safe
If you see a warning light and are unsure what to do, pull over when it is safe to do so. This will allow you to take a closer look at the problem and take appropriate action.
4. Call for Help
If you are still unsure what to do after checking the owner's manual, call for help. This could be a tow truck or a mechanic. They will be able to help you diagnose the problem and take appropriate action.
5. Drive cautiously
If you've come to the conclusion that it's safe to continue your drive, and you feel you must drive with a warning light on, use caution. Drive slowly and be prepared to pull over if necessary.
6. Get it fixed
Once you have diagnosed the problem, make sure to get it fixed as soon as possible. This will help prevent further damage to your car and keep you safe on the road.
To Do Summary
If you see a warning light in your car, don't panic. Take a deep breath and follow the steps above. This will help you take the appropriate action and get your car back on the road safely.
Things You Should NEVER Do When a Warning Light Turns On In Your Car
That said, let's now look at some of the things you should NEVER do when a warning light appears in your car:
1. Ignore It
Never ignore a warning light. This could lead to further damage to your car or even an accident.
2. Drive Faster
Never drive faster when you see a warning light. This will only make the problem worse and could put you and others in danger.
3. Turn Off the Engine While Driving
Never turn off the engine while driving. This could make the problem worse and could lead to an accident.
4. Disconnect the Battery
Unless instructed to do so by a professional - don't disconnect the battery just to "reset" the warning light... This could damage your car's electrical system and cause other problems.
5. Wait for It to Go Away
Never wait for a warning light to go away on its own. This could lead to further damage to your car or, if it turns out that the warning was for something major, it may even an accident.
6. Try to Fix It Yourself
Unless you know what you are doing - don't try to fix a problem with your car yourself, especially when a warning light is on. This could lead to further damage to your car or even an accident. Have a professional mechanic take a look at it and advise you on your options.
Warning lights are important indicators of problems with your car. If you see a warning light, be sure to take the appropriate action to avoid further damage to your car. For your own sake, and for the sake of your co-motorists, stay safe!
Obviously, and as always, you should consult your owner's manual whenever a warning light turns on in your car. The above tips and thoughts are just that: tips and thoughts, not professional advice for your particular case. Consult your mechanic for more information.