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5 Warning Lights You Should Never Ignore

Educational  ·  June 17, 2020

5 Warning Lights You Should Never Ignore

PRO TIP: It is advisable to check your oil and oil filter every 5,000 – 11,000 km. At 24,000 – 32,000 km, inspect your battery and coolant. At 56,000 – 80,000 km, you should check and replace your battery. After 97,000 km, replace your brake fluid, brake pads, coolant, power steering fluid, radiator hoses, suspension, and tyres. But what happens when you run into issues before you reach these mileages? 

Your car is equipped with many warning lights that make it easy for you to pinpoint a fault in the system. Not all the issues are dire, but the check engine, low oil pressure, temperature, ABS, and battery warning lights should not be ignored. Here's why!

Low Oil Pressure Light

The engine needs sufficient oil to run smoothly. A low oil pressure warning means the powertrain control module (PCM) has determined low oil levels, which may be a result of internal engine issues or a faulty pressure sensor. Failure to correct this situation may result in engine damage. A defective sensor should also be fixed ASAP for you to get the right diagnosis. Otherwise, your engine may experience issues, and you are dealing with extensive engine damage before you know it.

Check Engine Light

The thing I love about the ‘check engine’ light is that it gives you a heads-up at the slightest issue with the engine. Why so? Because some small problems give rise to major problems if not checked. It may be a loose petrol cap or a faulty water pump that is not severe and the car can still run a few miles, yet you should replace it. It may be a worn camshaft lobe, which, if not repaired, may escalate to a full-blown engine malfunction.

High Engine Temperature Warning

You may not master everything about the mechanics of your engine, but you should know enough not to allow the engine to overheat. Overheating results in extensive engine damage, and when that thermometer-like sign on your dash comes on, you need to pull over and switch the car off immediately. Sometimes the issue may be your coolant (VW cars will display a "Check Coolant" warning), and you may have to find the next gas station and buy one from there. TIP: Though not recommended, if you do not have coolant, you can use water for the time being, and once it's depleted, you can add the coolant you bought.

The issue may be a blown head gasket or stuck thermostat, so you need professional assistance to pinpoint the exact problem.

Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) Malfunction Light

The anti-lock brake system is a revolutionary invention; it is a lifesaver. Its work is to prevent wheel lock-up in the event of an emergency stop. The ABS module monitors input from the wheel speed, and when it senses the possibility of a brake lock-up, it prevents the same from happening by pulsing brake pressure to the appropriate wheel. When the module detects a fault in the system, the warning pops-up, meaning the ABS braking will not be activated, compromising your safety.

Sometimes the actual brakes may be faulty. If the brake warning light comes on, DO NOT PANIC. Most times, panic kills. What you do is carefully apply the brakes to confirm if they are still working. If they are, pull over and stop the car to check the brake fluid. If it is low, check for a leak. If you notice a leak, call for help immediately; DO NOT DRIVE WITH A LEAKING BRAKE FLUID CYLINDER.

If the brake pedal goes to the floor and you're not braking, pump it several times to apply enough pressure to stop the car. If it doesn't work, apply the parking brake to slow it down or shift it to neutral or downshift.

Battery Alert

A battery warning light means that the charging voltage of your battery is low. Unlike a high engine temperature warning, when this shows up, you do not have to stop immediately. You have a window of 20-30 minutes before the battery dies, and your car comes to a force stop. To manage it, you should switch off anything that can shorten the battery life – the radio, AC, or headlights (unless you are driving at night). Causes of a battery alert may be a broken serpentine belt or V-Belt, a faulty alternator, loose/corroded battery cables, or the charging control may be having issues.

Other Warning Lights

Several warning lights are sometimes car-specific. These can be found at the back of your vehicle's owner manual. For more useful tips, visit It also happens to be your link to Australia's most extensive online car parts marketplace. 

Whenever you need an auto part, waste no time and visit our website right away! Click on ‘Search a Parts Request’ and type the info needed. This will initiate the search process, and in no time, you will start receiving quotes from certified sellers. It’s that simple! Send a parts request now!

By Eric Anyega

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