Image of illuminated dashboard warning lights

When we take a look back at our time in Driver’s Ed, what are the lessons that stand out the most? Perhaps when the instructor took the class on a walk around the driving range so they could point out the various actions being tested by the lines and signage. Or maybe when students learned about vehicle size, rate of speed, and inertia, prompting them to think about pressing on the brake early in order to give the car plenty of time to come to a complete stop.

Regardless of what was being taught — and there were many lessons to be learned — there was one piece of advice that wasn’t being repeated, neither by the teachers, the written materials, or the in-class films: to ignore what the car is trying to tell us.

Listen to Your Vehicle

Naturally, whenever we hear strange noises coming from the vehicle (or an unnatural smell, or a grinding or jerking motion), we go to the car repair shop and have it serviced. These are “big signs” that something is wrong, signs we can hear, smell, or feel. But there is a strange behavior among drivers regarding the signs that we can see. 

Short of seeing smoke pluming from under the hood, drivers have been known to ignore their dashboard warning lights for a week to as long as a month or more. In fact, a recent study from the UK shows that:

  • Over 20% of drivers claim to drive for 1-2 days before investigating the problem.
  • 33% of drivers actively avoid going in for a car repair for fear of a costly visit.
  • Nearly 50% of drivers ignore their warning lights altogether.

In this way, we are choosing to overlook one of the main ways our cars are trying to tell us something is wrong. As our team at the Kearns Master Muffler can confirm, this type of behavior leads to a more expensive visit every time. 

What Does it all Mean?

Driver’s education was a long time ago for many of us, however. And perhaps we’ve forgotten just what each of the symbols means. Below is a handy guide to the most important signs you’re likely to see and what they mean. Remember, all lights should be acknowledged and dealt with, even those not appearing on this list.

  • Oil Light: This symbol looks like a little oil can with a drop of oil leaking out of the spout. It triggers usually when the oil level is getting low or the oil pump has stopped working properly. If you see this symbol, you’re likely due for an oil change and a top-off. Our Kearns car repair center can handle that for you with ease and efficiency.
  • Battery Alert: This light looks like a typical battery with the +/- polarity indicators. It usually means your battery is dead or dying. Batteries need to be replaced every three years or so.
  • Engine Temperature Light: Another extremely important signal, this light looks like a thermometer rising out of a pool of water. It indicates that your engine has overheated and needs to be shut down. You may need to look into replacing your coolant.
  • Check Engine Light: Perhaps the most common light you’re likely to see. This signal looks like a small, yellow engine and is signaling any one of a number of things, from a broken gasket to a loose gas cap.

Car repairs are never fun, but the Kearns Master Muffler is an ally to Utah drivers. Our goal is to keep roads safe at all times by maintaining the roadworthiness of our many Utah vehicles. Come in today if you see any lights you’re unsure about.

Categories: Automotive Info

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