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When not to drive with a dash light showing

At Fergies we are very keen to keep you on the road in a car you can trust. The Fergies technical team specialise in technical diagnosis so we’ve put together this quick 3 minute read to answer that all important question.

A warning light is showing on your dash and you are not sure what to do? Can I carry on or should I contact the garage?

Our cars are sophisticated pieces of equipment. They contain so much technology nowadays that they are a long way from the cars of yesteryear and are more akin to airline jets. Each one has many computers to ensure the vehicle’s systems operate smoothly.

Unfortunately, faults still occur. How can you tell when one of the systems needs attention? This is the purpose behind the lights on your dashboard. Start the car and many different dashboard lights are lit up. A few seconds later they switch off again. But what if, while you are driving, one of them comes to life again?

The majority of vehicles share a core set of these warning lights. Some of these are just to give us a reminder us of aspects to which we need to attend on a regular basis, others provide us with operational information, but a few are there to alert us to serious things that need attention with no delays.

These “Stop-the-Car” warning lights are the ones that should make us sit up and take notice. They say something on the car is so important you need to stop safely because continuing to drive any further could lead to costly and serious damage.

The driver’s handbook is a good source for finding out what needs to be done. If you’re driving it may be that roadside assistance company should be your first port of call. Alternatively, at Fergies we are here to help. Please give us a call so we can advise.

Which lights matter the most?

All the lights should be given attention if and when they come on. But there are a few that should never be ignored. These are:

The Engine Management Light

Usually in the form of an engine; if this lights up it is indicating either an electrical or mechanical fault with the power unit. It is alerting you to one of the car’s systems operating outside its normal parameters. It requires immediate attention as failure to do so could lead to further damage or even breakdown. The root cause can be discovered with the right equipment and a diagnostic test. This will show whether the problem can be solved with an easy fix or something more in-depth is required.

The braking system light and ABS warning light

These lights that are related to the brakes are important because they flag faults that could lead to potentially dangerous consequences. They call for immediate attention because brake failure is not an option.

 The ABS light provides an alert that there is a fault with the car’s Anti Lock Braking System. ABS faults could mean your braking distance is extended, you may be liable to skidding in certain road conditions or your steering may be impaired while braking.

The power steering failure lamp

When you lose your power steering capability turning the wheel can become very heavy. This makes it extremely difficult to safely control a car. Although you may still be able to manoeuvre the car at low speeds, driving at normal speeds would be potentially very dangerous.

The airbag warning light

Airbag systems are essential safety devices in modern cars. When this light comes on it is indicating a malfunction, which won’t affect the way a car handles but could be dangerous because the airbags may fail in the event of an accident, or one or more may be deployed when you are not expecting it.

The oil pressure light

A low oil level or significant loss of oil pressure can cause the oil light to illuminate. The root of the problem may just be not enough oil but the warning light could be highlighting a serious mechanical failure. You would need to pull over and stop because there is a danger the engine could fail completely.

The cooling system light

Insufficient coolant causing the power unit to overheat triggers this warning light. If you carry on driving the engine could stop entirely or there would be a high probability of further engine damage.

Hopefully, you now understand why it is so important for these lights to be taken seriously. None of us wants the irreparable damage or unnecessary expense that can be caused by failure to act off these warnings.

With our unrivaled experience and expertise at Fergies, we can help you avoid problems. Complex automotive systems are what we understand, so we are able to guarantee that we can always give you great value and added peace of mind when it comes to maintaining your vehicle.

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