Friday, 16 January 2015

What do you know about the lights on your dashboard?

Dashboard Traffic light Colouring

 I have been writing my blogs from an observational point of view as a woman who works on the customer side within a garage. I am not a technician but I do listen to what comes in and out of the office and have learnt a lot during my time here!

I want to try to pass on some information about cars in a non – technical but simple and informative way as I am sure that there are many people who  like me over the years,  have very little understanding about anything to do with cars and if you are anything like me, might glaze over when ‘technical’ terms are used.
So, following on from that, my latest observation relates to the warning lights that may appear on your dashboard from time to time?
Are you aware that all the lights are colour coded to a ‘traffic light’ system? I certainly wasn’t! If I am honest I would only really have taken notice if a light had come on whilst driving and I did not know that the lights could be coloured differently!
I asked many of my friends  if they knew about the lights on the dashboard as I did not want to write a blog and insult a reader’s intelligence! My responses showed me that it is more likely to be ladies who did not know but not all men knew either.
We all see lights on the dashboard on  a daily basis that we are probably aware of, but choose to ignore as they mostly disappear once the engine is turned on. It is only when a light comes on unexpectedly whilst we are driving that we may take notice.
I wonder how many drivers really register the colour of a light when it comes on or if they are aware that it may be coloured either amber or red if there is an issue, but ‘Green’ for headlights being on  and functioning normally for example.
Just to expand further:
Oil pressure warning light

This light should come on when you turn the ignition on, and usually goes out again once the engine is started.

 If the light does not go out when the engine is running and is coloured ‘Amber’ then you need to stop driving and check the oil level of the engine. Top up if required.

If the warning light stays on and is coloured ‘Red’ even after putting oil in, then you must not drive the car any further as it could cause catastrophic damage to the engine of your vehicle. Call for help and get the vehicle recovered to a garage.

Battery charge warning light

When you start the engine, the battery charge light should always come on and then go off to indicate that the battery is functioning normally.

If the light does not come on at all, or if it comes on whilst you are driving, it will be coloured ‘Red’ and means that your battery is not charging properly. Once again you should stop driving immediately as there could be a number of reasons as to why the light has come on; either the battery has failed or the drive belt has broken, which stops the Alternator working (The Alternator is what charges the battery)

If you are in any doubt as to why the light may be on then my advice would be not to try to restart the engine as potentially you could cause even more damage. In this instance call for a recovery service and get to a garage – preferably ours!

Brake system warning light
 This light will be on and coloured ‘Red’ when the handbrake is in use, but if it comes on once the handbrake is off, it could mean that your vehicle is low on brake fluid.

If this is the case, then you would need to ensure that you add the correct amount of brake fluid, filling it to the Maximum level but do call us if you are in doubt! Brake fluid levels do drop as the car is driven and there are specific intervals for each make and model where a Brake Fluid change is required.
Check your brake fluid level frequently to ensure there is no further rapid loss of fluid.

If the brake warning light stays on even if you have topped up the brake fluid, then we highly recommend that you have the car looked at as the brakes are obviously vital to our safety on the roads!


If the tyre light comes on ‘Red’ whilst you are driving, then it would indicate that the tyre has lost air pressure and it is likely that you would have a puncture. Once again you need to stop and either change the tyre or use a product called ‘Tyre Weld’ to help you get to a garage. If you have run flats you will be able to drive to a garage.

For any more information please call Lakeside Garage on 01784 482158
or have a look at our website

I hope this is helpful to some people and apologies to others who already know!

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