The vehicle system can be likened to our body system in some ways. The body system expresses some signs and symptoms such as fever, pains, headache, cold, cough etc. whenever there are certain underlining illnesses or concerns in our body system. In most cases, if we address these symptoms early enough by doing a check or run a medical test on time, the illness may get treated before it aggravates to something serious. At other times, when the symptom is a sign of something else and we assume is another without doing a proper diagnostic test, we may end up causing more havoc that can be regrettable. An example I will like to share is a true story of a couple that were expecting a child for many years now, the wife finally got pregnant but unknowing to her she treated malaria due to her persistent headache. She eventually lost the pregnancy due to the kind of drug she took. This is because pregnancies at the first trimester (first 3 months) are delicate. She could have saved the pregnancy if only she had done the right test (pregnancy test) to ascertain what she was going through instead of the assumption due to her experience of her body system. Another case that could also be true is that she may have malaria and be pregnant at the same time but an experienced doctor would have advised her on an additional test for pregnancy to guide in the right drug to prescribe in her situation.
The scenario above is not much different from our cars except that they are machines that do not talk for it to tell the actual thing wrong inside. They only manifest their concerns by showing warning lights on the dashboard or message center and stored diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) in their computer memory. So the vehicle does not suddenly stop you except that it must have sent you warning signals earlier. Examples of these warning signals are; Oil level low, Check Engine light, Airbag light, Battery light, Anti-brake system, etc.
In order for our vehicles to continue to take us from place to place for years to come without major repairs here and there, we advise we always monitor our dashboard or message center when driving. There are many warning signs or lights that could come up on the message center or dashboard that would require our attention when driving. We should always be vigilant on these warning flashes or signals from the dashboard.
Thus, we put together the following quick highlights of some of these warning lights, signs or signals you may come across and should be of concern to you;
- Temperature Gauge for the Engine Cooling System
When there is a sudden rise in temperature, just pull over and park to check. It may be the cooling fan had stopped working or leakage of water from the radiator.
2. Engine Light (Engine Management Light)
This can be caused by a number of things bordering around the engine control which could be either a major or small issue with the engine. The only way to find out what is wrong is to get the car scanned. Don’t just ignore it. A check engine light that is unattended to on time due to a minor concern could develop to a major engine concern unknowing to you. This is because the light will still be there when an impeding major engine concern is looming that requires urgent attention in order to prevent the engine damage. The examples of these are many.
3. Engine Oil Level Low
The possible causes of this light coming on could be due to a low level of engine oil to the engine block caused by failure to get your oil service on a periodically, or a faulty oil pump. The low oil level light may also come on if the oil is too thin (not meeting the specification for the car), or if the oil pressure sensor is malfunctioning.
The effect of lack of engine oil in the system, or even dirty oil, will lead to extreme engine wear, and driving a car on low oil can lead to some very bad situations. If you run out of engine oil, your engine will fail because the engine will start to grind, and then seize up or stalls the vehicle.
- Battery Light
If the battery light is on while driving, it means there is a concern with the charging system and may not necessarily be the battery. The cause could be as a result of a loose or corroded battery cable or wire connecting components of the charging system or it might be a problem with the alternator or voltage regulator. The alternator charges the battery when the car is started and powers all other components in the vehicle. If the alternator fails or the accessory belt that drives the alternator is loose or broken, then you will end up with a dead battery.
- Airbag Light
The airbag light, also known as the SRS light (Supplemental Restraint System), usually illuminates on the dashboard only after an accident has occurred on the vehicle and the airbags deployed as safety response to protect the occupant in the vehicle. But other circumstance that may cause the airbag light to turn on, such as after the installation of an after market radio system or there is a malfunction within the airbag system itself. The only way to find out what is wrong is to get the vehicle checked and scanned by a certified SRS expert. This is one of the areas of our specialty.
It is not safe to drive with the airbag light ON. When the light is on, it means that there is a problem with the airbag system and when there is a problem with the system, the airbags will not deploy in an event of an accident.
- Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Light
ABS or an Anti-Lock Braking System is a piece of safety equipment that prevents the wheels of a vehicle from locking up under emergency, panic, or harsh braking conditions. This is achieved by modulating the hydraulic pressure in the brake system.
Brake lock-up is more likely to occur on a wet, snow-covered or icy road. Brake lock-up can also occur as a result of a sudden reaction by the driver due to an unexpected obstacle. During these situations, the wheels may lock-up causing the vehicle to skid. ABS helps prevent wheel lock-up in all driving conditions. When ABS light is on, the brake system and traction may be affected.
Please note that all major warning lights come up on the dashboard when you turn on the ignition of your car for a few seconds but as soon as you start the car and engine starts running all the warning lights go off. These warning lights become a problem when they remain permanently on while the engine is running and of more concern when it keeps flashing. However, some intermitted concerns and often difficult to diagnose are the ones that will just flashed once and go off while driving. Only scanning the car can reveal what is wrong because it would have stored a trouble code in the vehicle memory.
Finally, whenever there is a warning light on the dashboard the only way to find out what this warning light is all about is to get the car scan by a train and certified technician with the use of professional and advance scanning tools. This professional will then interpret the diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) retrieved, do a proper analysis and diagnosis before arriving at the root cause of the concern. This will eliminate trial and error and prevent repeated repairs.
Please comment below if you have an experience to share with us. Thank you
This article is a publication by Utile Auto Services…. Utile (Auto) Service is a one-stop shop for solutions to all automobile concerns. We offer a comprehensive solution for any brand of Ford, MKX, Lincoln, and America vehicles. We are specialist technicians trained by Ford Motor Company, USA. We can be reached on +234 704 383 4086. We offer services ranging from home service, office service and doorstep service to customers at their convenience.