Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Car’s Warning Lights

You’re driving along, and all of a sudden, your car’s warning light comes on. What do you do? Many people panic and ignore the light, hoping it will go away. This is a huge mistake. Warning lights are there for a reason: to alert you to a potential problem with your car. In this blog post, we will discuss the top three reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your car’s warning lights, common warning lights to look out for, and what the check engine light means. We will also cover one simple way you can take better care of your car–and it doesn’t cost an outrageous amount of money!

Why You Shouldn't Ignore Your Car's Warning Lights

Especially if you have a busy schedule or a long daily commute, it can be frustrating when your car’s warning lights appear. However, while this might translate as an annoyance at the time, if not dealt with properly, your car’s warning lights could develop into something a lot more stressful, and expensive. Here are the top three reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your car’s warning lights:

1.     Small problems, left unchecked, develop into bigger problems. If one of your car’s warning lights has come on (especially the “check engine” light), your car is trying to communicate something important to you! If you want to keep your car in working condition for many years to come, it’s important to heed this information and service your car as soon as possible to avoid the scenario of a small problem growing into a larger problem, like multi-system failure or engine seizing. While it can be irritating to confront the illuminated oil light on your way into work in the morning, failure to do so can mean engine damage or failure—so looking into warning lights in a timely fashion will ultimately save you time and the expense of shopping for a new car or replacing more parts than necessary.

2.     It’s not worth the safety risk. If your car’s emergency brake light comes on, for example, you will want to get that checked out immediately. By continuing to drive with malfunctioning brakes, you may be putting your life—and the lives of those around you—in danger. Aside from the time and money you’ll save by checking out any problems with your car as they arrive, you will also be acting in everyone’s best interest by making sure your car is fit to share the road.

3.     Car problems reduce performance. Even if car performance is generally not something that interests you, chances are you are at the very least interested in saving money when it comes time to fill your gas tank. Additionally, if your car detects a problem, it may enter an engine-protection mode (or “limp” mode) in which its peak performance is significantly reduced in order to protect the vehicle from additional stress. Cars with better, more efficient engine performance tend to average higher miles per gallon than those with oil leaks or other “health” problems—so if fuel efficiency is at all important to you, it’s vital that you address your car’s warning lights the minute they illuminate.

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Common Car Warning Lights to Look Out For

Chances are you’ve heard of a “check engine” light, but did you know there is a multitude of other warning lights on your car as well? Each plays an important role in alerting you to problems that need your attention. Your car’s warning lights include the following notifications:

1.     Brake light: The brake light can come on when brakes have an electrical issue but also for problems as simple as running low on brake fluid. If you have any questions about why your brake light is on, it’s best to take your vehicle to a mechanic right away.

2.     Airbag light: This indicator alerts the vehicle owner that one or more of the airbags may be having an electrical issue. This is important because this means that, should you get in an accident, the airbags might not properly deploy, which could result in more severe injury.

3.     Temperature/thermometer light: Should you see the thermometer light illuminated, this is your cue to pull over immediately and allow your engine to cool off before continuing down the road. Failure to do so could result in your engine overheating and causing irreparable damage.

4.     Tire pressure light: If one of your car’s warning lights happens to pop up, you’d likely hope it was this one. Your car’s tire pressure light alerts you to mismanaged tire pressure, whether it is too low, too high, or imbalanced. This problem is pretty quick, easy, and cheap to fix—so don’t delay in fixing the problem!

5.     Oil light: If you see a little oil can illuminated on your dash, this could mean that the oil pump is not functioning or that your engine is losing or burning oil. This is another example of a light you really don’t want to ignore, as it can lead to much bigger problems down the road if left unattended. If your oil light is on, get your car to the shop right away!

Your car’s engine is a mechanical marvel that has a lot of moving parts and a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong. Under the hood, everything is connected—so if you have a problem in one system like engine cooling, it may lead to other problems in other systems like engine lubrication. Honoring your car’s maintenance lights is a large part of car ownership, so don’t take this job lightly—whether it’s a tire pressure light or brake light!

And of course, there is also your car’s “check engine” light, one of the most important warning lights in your car! Read on for more about the “check engine” light!

What Does the "Check Engine" Light Mean?

Everything not covered by the aforementioned five service lights is covered by your vehicle’s “check engine” light, which alerts the car owner to problems with fuel, exhaust, emissions, and ignition. Whether you have a loose spark plug or a damaged catalytic converter, the “check engine” light is designed to warn you as soon as problems arise.

The “check engine” light utilizes your car’s Onboard Diagnostics (OBD) system, an electronic system that identifies problems with the basic systems of your car. This OBD system is what your mechanic will use to “communicate” with the car and see what the problem is. If the “check engine” light comes on, this means you have a problem that should be attended to relatively soon—but if the “check engine” light comes on blinking, you have a serious problem that warrants immediate attention. Ignoring a check engine light, particularly a flashing check engine light, likely will lead to more serious mechanical problems that may significantly shorten your vehicle’s life span. Even if it seems like your engine is performing fine and you’re not losing too much by way of fuel economy, a check engine light is not meant to be ignored.

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Lube Oil Sales: Premium AMSOIL Motor Oils

If you’ve ever spent much time learning about how your car’s motor works, you likely can appreciate that each piece of the mechanics plays a crucial role in the overall function. Keeping your car in good working condition is crucial to maintaining peak efficiency as well as continuing its lifespan; it is a fundamental way you can take care of the significant investment of an automobile. From tire pressure issues to motor oil problems, the good news is your car is built with systems sensitive enough to register mechanical failures the minute they arise.

Are you looking for more ways you can treat your car right? Why not start with premium AMSOIL synthetic motor oil for regular oil changes in your car, truck, or motorcycle? (For more information on the differences between synthetic and conventional motor oil, check out our recent article on the topic.) To browse Lube Oil Sales’ inventory of high-performance AMSOIL motor oils, click here to get started!

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