Common Dashboard Warnings Explained

Dashboard warnings can be a massive headache. Often times, these small lights don’t give you much information, and may be indicative of a serious problem. Learn how to interpret these symbols and know when it’s time to call a mechanic.

What Are Dashboard Warnings?

Dashboard warnings are your car’s way of indicating something to you, the driver. These aren’t necessarily always disastrous issues being displayed. For example, a warning is displayed when you have your high beam lights on and when your handbrake is engaged.

Often times the colour of a warning light can indicate the severity of its nature, especially in newer cars. These colors are usually:

Green/Blue: Green and blue indicate car systems that are currently engaged. Your high beam indicator will often be this color.
Yellow/Orange: This means the car should be serviced soon. To Book a service contact Australian Mechanical or book online
Red: There is a major issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

Common Dashboard Warnings

1. Check Engine Light

The check engine light indicates that your cars on board diagnostic (OBD) system has detected an issue with one of your engine’s major systems. This issue could be anything small from a faulty spark plug or a loose sensor, up to a major issue such as a broken fuel pump. The check engine light should normally come on for a few seconds when starting your car, but it should turn off. If the light remains on or is blinking, this is indicative of a major issue. You should pull over immediately and call your mechanic.

Even smaller issues such as a faulty spark plug or loose sensor can lead to bigger issues. If you have the check engine light illuminated, you should book in a service without delay.

2. Oil Lamp Warning

If the oil lamp is orange, this indicates a low oil level or a high oil temperature. You should immediately pull over and check your oil level. If your oil is low, top it up with the correct oil for your vehicle or book in a service. If your oil level is okay, then this may indicate high temperature or a faulty sensor. Either way, you should book in a service with us immediately.

If the oil lamp is red, this usually indicates low oil pressure. Pull over immediately and check your oil level. If your oil level is very low, this could indicate a major oil leak. If your oil level is okay, it may indicate a broken oil pump, damaged oil feed line or a faulty sensor. In any of these cases, you should immediately stop and have your car towed to the nearest mechanic. Your car uses oil to cool and lubricate the engine. Without any oil, your engine is likely to overheat, warp and damage it’s internal components to the point where a new engine may be required.

3. Temperature Warning

Your car’s temperature warning light usually indicates one of two issues. Either your coolant is low and needs to be topped up or your engine is overheating. You should stop immediately and wait for your engine to cool down. Once your engine is cool, check your coolant level and look for any leaks. WARNING: do not check your coolant when your engine is hot. Hot engine coolant is pressurised and spraying coolant may cause serious burns. If your coolant level is correct, this may indicate a bigger issue such as a broken water pump. To stop your engine from being damaged, you should have your car towed to your mechanic. An overheating engine can warp, damaging its internal components and compromising its structural integrity.

If you’re experiencing any dashboard warning or think it’s time to have your car checked by a professional, book a service online or call Australian Mechanical on 07 3356 1538

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