Why a Car Should Not Be Driven With a Dash Warning Light On

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

“I’ve got a light on. Can I continue to drive my car or do I need a garage?”

So, your dash is showing a warning light, what should you do?

Cars are extraordinary pieces of engineering. You may well be surprised to find out that what your car carries in terms of technology can be compared to an airline jet. There are dozens of computers keeping your vehicle systems in operation.

This is all fine of course until a fault occurs. When can you be sure that one of the car’s systems is in need of attention? This is where your dash’s warning system steps forward and takes a bow.

The moment you activate your engine, with a key or a button, many lights on your dashboard come on. Then, a few seconds later, they should all go off again. What if one of them doesn’t?

While each model has its own nuances most vehicles have a standard set of warning lights. Some are there simply to remind us of those things to which we should attend on a regular basis, others provide us with key bits of information, but there are a few that are there to warn us of serious problems and which it would be dangerous to ignore.

These stop-the-car warning lights are the most important. They tell us that there is something about the car that needs you to stop as safely as possible because any more driving threatens serious damage.

When one of these lights comes on, what should be done? The driver’s handbook is a good pointer for what to do next. When we are out and about your roadside assistance company should be on hand to help. Or, by all means, give us a call at Five Star Autocentre so you can tap into our expertise on this. It’s our bread and butter.

The lights that really matter

All the lights are important, but here we outline the ones that usually bring motorists into our garage. These are the dashboard lights that our customers can’t afford to ignore:

Engine Management Light

It usually resembles an engine whose surround has been lit up. What it indicates is some sort of electrical or mechanical fault with the engine. It comes on because one of the car’s systems is outside its parameters and needs immediate attention.

Leaving the car unchecked in these circumstances could lead to additional damage or even breakdown. The root cause can be established with diagnostic evaluation and can identify whether the fault needs just a quick fix or an in-depth investigation.

ABS warning and braking system lights

These two lights show up any faults in a car’s braking system, which can lead to potentially dangerous outcomes.

Both of these lights call for immediate attention. Nobody wants brake failure!

The ABS lamp specifically highlights a fault with the Antilock Braking System. This can mean braking distance is disrupted and that the car could skid and steering is affected while braking.

Power steering failure lamp

When this light comes on it warns that a system fault could coincide with steering becoming very heavy, which will make it hard to control the car safely. Manoeuvring the vehicle to a safe place may still be possible at low speeds, but it will take a lot of effort, and the car would be dangerous to drive at anything approaching normal speed.

Airbag warning light

This indicates an airbag system fault. Although this won’t have any effect on the way the car drives or handles it cannot be ignored because of the potential consequences, which may be very serious in an accident. Airbags are a crucial part of any car’s safety provision and cannot be considered just an optional extra.

Oil pressure light

With some cars, this lamp glows amber to raise a warning the oil level being low, however, it can also glow red to show a car has lost a significant amount of oil pressure. This may be caused by too little oil or more serious mechanical failure. A driver needs to safely pull over because there is a danger the engine could fail completely, causing even more damage.

Cooling system light

When this light comes on it warns there is insufficient coolant to cool the engine or when the engine has become too hot. Continuing to drive in these circumstances could lead to the engine overheating and performance being impaired. The car could even stop completely, with the potential of serious engine damage.

These lights need to be taken seriously. Failure to heed their warnings could lead to unnecessary expense being incurred.

At Five Star Autocentre we’re renowned for our expertise in fixing these types of faults, and we guarantee that our skilled technicians can offer great value and peace of mind when they repair your car.

Call us today we’re here to help.