A car, truck, or SUV is a complex machine of gadgets and parts. Modern vehicles are a triumph of technology, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have problems from time to time. The good thing is, vehicles can warn you before something goes terribly wrong. The warning lights on your console are the way your vehicle communicates with you when it doesn’t feel well. However, it can be confusing to figure out what those lights mean or what to do when they come on.

Let’s look at some of the most common console lights that flash up and what you should do about it to keep your vehicle healthy.


Engine temperature warning light

The engine temperature warning light is red and looks like a thermometer in waves of water. When the light comes on, it indicates that your engine is too hot. Experts say to pull over and wait around 30 minutes to open the hood. Any earlier and you could be injured by hot water from a ruptured hose.

You can also try to take the pressure off of your engine if the light comes on. Do this by turning off the air conditioner, radio, and any other items that are not important at that time. This should allow coolant to circulate.


Oil pressure warning light

If your engine is low on oil or the oil pressure of your vehicle has a problem, you may see a light that looks like a teapot. If the light comes on, it is important to stop driving immediately. Putting further strain on your vehicle can cause irreversible engine damage.

A leak or the burning of oil could cause low oil levels. Have your mechanic take a look under the hood as soon as possible.


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Engine warning light

The engine warning light is yellow and looks like a meat grinder. It lets you know when there is something wrong with the engine. It could be activated for several reasons including a problem with an oxygen sensor, a loose gas cap, a bad catalytic converter, the mass airflow sensor needing to be replaced, or faulty spark plugs.

All of these items can cause poor vehicle performance and lead to the engine warning light popping up on your dashboard. When the light comes on, it is important to get your car looked at by an expert. They can identify the problem, which will prevent more from occurring later. Left unrepaired, a vehicle can deteriorate and you could lose money over time from constant repairs.


Battery alert light

Looking like a red Lego with a plus and minus symbol inside it, the battery alert light tells you that the alternator is not working properly or not at all. Despite the way the light looks, this alert really has nothing to do with the battery.

The alternator doesn’t live forever, and when your vehicle doesn’t start and this light appears, it may be time to get another one under the hood.


Airbag indicator light

The airbag indicator light is red and looks like a person strapped down to a chair with a beach ball on their lap. This light will come on when most vehicles are started to indicate the airbags are on.

However, it could also come on during driving, meaning there could be a problem with the vehicle’s airbags. There could be other problems, however. The vehicle’s computer could be faulty. There could also be a problem with the seatbelt mechanisms. Therefore, it is important to get your vehicle checked if this light appears.


In a nutshell

It is important to pay attention to any of the warning lights that appear on your dashboard. Ignoring warning lights will only cost you money later on as your vehicle is warning you something is wrong. If you react in a timely manner to these indicators, you shouldn’t have many problems with your vehicle. Being aware of what each light means should help keep your car, truck, or SUV running mile after mile.

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