Category Archives: check engine light

7 Warning Lights on Your Dash You Shouldn’t Ignore

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car dash lightsIt’s one of the biggest—and most common—mistakes made by most car owners today: driving with a critical warning light on because, “it’s not a big deal.” Those warning lights are there for a reason: so you can catch a problem before it becomes a BIG deal. Not all lights are critical; obviously you don’t have to worry about your cruise control light (if your cruise control is on). You do need to worry—and take action—if any of these warning lights come on for more than a few seconds:

Battery alert

A small light in the shape of a battery, usually with a small positive and negative sign, indicates that there is a problem with your car’s charging system and that your voltage level is low. Check to make sure that your battery connectors and cables are in place. Contact your mechanic to see if you can get an appointment soon; your car is not going to last long if the recharging system is failing.

Brake light

A brake light can come on for a few different reasons, and some cars have more than one brake light. Before you panic, make sure your parking brake is not on. If your parking brake is not the problem, make an appointment immediately to get your brakes checked. For more information on brakes, and signs of worn brakes, read our recent blog post. Don’t procrastinate if this light comes on. Worn or failing brakes are a safety hazard that can lead to a serious accident.

Check Engine light

The check engine light comes on when your car has any number of issues that has triggered a code in your car’s computer system. Note whether the light is yellow or red. If your car has a red light on the dashboard, call Tire-rifik immediately to get your car checked by a technician. A yellow light indicates that the car needs to be checked, but not at that moment. Don’t wait too long, though, as a yellow light left unchecked is a light that can indicate engine failure soon.

Coolant temp warning

Immediately pull over to the side of the road. Turn off your car. Your engine is overheating, and needs attention to prevent engine failure. Do not open your radiator cap, as the fluid can boil out and cause injury. Once your car is cooled down, add water or radiator fluid to the radiator if needed. Your car may have a radiator leak that could cause this issue again, or have another problem that is causing your car to overheat. Call Tire-rifik to get your car in for repair ASAP.

Oil pressure

This light means that your car has a low oil level, or low or no oil pressure. Check your oil level to see if this is the problem. If your car oil level is normal, this is a critical issue. Do not drive your car with the oil pressure light. Contact Tire-rifik to have your car towed to get the reason for the low oil pressure diagnosed and repaired.

TPMS light

warning light on dashFill up your tires with air immediately. Your TPMS warning light comes on when your tires are 20% (sometimes more than that) below pressure. By that time, your tire pressure is dangerously low—and dangerous to drive on.

Transmission temperature

The transmission temperature light usually looks something like a gear with a thermometer in the middle. If your transmission temperature comes on, your transmission is running at a high temperature, which can lead to transmission failure if you continue on for an extended period of time. Check your transmission fluid and engine coolant level. If both fluid levels are normal, schedule an appointment to get the problem diagnosed and to get your transmission fluid flushed to prevent future issues.

Do you have a light on that we haven’t mentioned? Or have questions about any of these common warning lights? Contact us or stop in so one of our mechanics can look at it.

Is your “Check Engine” light on?

20141111_145951The check engine light is one of the most common problems—and complaints—from the Wisconsin drivers that come into our shop. “Why is that annoying light on? Is it going to cost a lot of money?” Unfortunately, we can’t tell you if it’s an O2 sensor or faulty spark plugs in a blog post, but we can give you four easy steps to find out and get rid of that dashboard warning light:

  1. Note whether the light is yellow or red. For most warning dashboard lights, there are two colors: red and yellow. Just like stoplights, a yellow light means to take caution, a red light means immediate action is needed. If your car has a red light on the dashboard, call Tire-rifik immediately. You need to get your car checked by a technician. A yellow light indicates that the car needs to be checked, but not at that moment. Don’t wait too long, though, as a yellow light left unchecked is a light that can indicate engine failure soon.
  2. Schedule an appointment. If the light is yellow and your car is due for an oil appointment, ask your mechanic to check your car. If it’s not due for maintenance soon, schedule an appointment so a mechanic can hook your car to a computer and determine the problem.
  3. Ask questions. What exactly is the problem? How long would you recommend before the problem is fixed? What is the cost of repairs? Can this problem damage other parts of my car? We’ll give you an example of this last question: one of our friends had a truck with spark plugs that needed to be replaced (and the check engine light came on). Unfortunately, she waited too long to replace the spark plugs, plugging up the catalytic converter (which had to be replaced) and costing far more than the cost of the initial spark plug replacement.
  4. Get it fixed. Don’t procrastinate and don’t ignore the check engine light. Schedule an appointment. Yes, we’ve all heard stories of drivers who went thousands of miles with a check engine light with no problem. However, that doesn’t mean you will be as lucky. You don’t want to end up waiting for a Tire-rifik tow truck on the side of the road, or stranded at home when you are supposed to be at work.

Are you really busy right now? Schedule an appointment online so you can get a diagnosis and estimate. The initial appointment won’t take long, and there’s good news after the repairs are made. You’ll be back on the road without that “Check Engine” light bothering you.