car dashboard lights

Whether we buy a car new from the dealership or used from a trusted friend, we rarely think about the end of our relationship with that car as we’re driving away from the title swap (that is, unless we buy a real junker). And yet, the end always comes. A machine — unless meticulously cared for with frequent trips to the car repair mechanic to replace bad parts — always has a certain life expectancy.

But how can we know when the car is ready to give up the ghost? There’s surely a judgment call to be made when deciding if a car has become more of an expense to fix than it is worth. Let’s take a look at some of the surefire signs that it’s time to stop looking for Pocatello car repair centers and start looking for Pocatello dealerships.

Big Warning Signs

It is common knowledge among car repair professionals like those at Master Muffler that drivers will often ignore certain troubling signs their car is giving off, in the hopes that it will take care of itself eventually. The irony is that by putting it off, the problem only gets worse and the expenses to fix it only get bigger.

Don’t ignore the following signs.

Dashboard Lights

The first line of defense for any driver’s wallet is the dashboard warning lights. If they are given the proper amount of respect and attended to quickly, the car might live. While some lights are more common, like the gas indicator light or the check engine light, some dashboard indicators only turn on when something is truly wrong with the vehicle.

Don’t waste any time getting to a Pocatello car repair technician if you see these lights:

  • Brake Warning: These lights indicate that some part of your braking system is giving out. The light will likely say “BRAKE” and may even differentiate between the parking brake (a “P” inside a circle) or the brake pad becoming overheated (a thermometer in a circle).
  • Temperature Warning: Your engine’s temperature is closely monitored by the car. If it gets too hot or too cold, or if fuel gets into the engine oil, a thermometer symbol will light up.
  • Battery Warning: This light indicates one of two things — either the battery itself is dead and won’t recharge, or the alternator is broken and will no longer send a charge to the battery.
  • Oil Warning: Again, this light may have multiple meanings. The oil level might be low and need a topping off, or the oil pressure is low and could mean that the oil pump is broken.

A Word On Dash Light Colors

Have you noticed that certain indicators are displayed in different colors or that they even cycle through the colors? There are three main “idiot light” colors to watch out for:

  • Red: A serious problem has occurred that may impact your immediate safety. This is the most important color.
  • Yellow: An indication that a part is in need of servicing soon. When you see this, make an appointment with your Pocatello car repair center.
  • Green/Blue: Simply telling you that the system is in normal operating condition. In the case of the temperature indicator, it could mean that the coolant is below optimum temperature.


Your car is a complex machine, needing the help of half a dozen different types of fluids to run properly. With so much liquid coursing through the pipes and lines of the vehicle, doing everything from cooling the engine, to cleaning the windshield, to activating the brakes, a driver will have to pay attention to fluid levels and fluid pressure.

Major warning signs of a breakdown include:

  • Leaking fluid
  • Overuse of fluid (going through the reservoir too fast)
  • Overheating of the fluid (lots of thick smoke coming from the tailpipe)

Car Operation

So much of how we understand our cars comes from how it feels to drive. If you can feel grinding, buzzing, knocking, that might be a problem with our power steering system or our suspension. 

Likewise, if you hear sounds coming from the engine, you smell something burning, and you haven’t been to Master Muffler in a few years, it could be that some of your belts are wearing down. Remember, all of your senses will tip you off that there’s a problem.

Pocatello’s Master Muffler

Your car has a language all its own and will do everything it can to tell you when something is wrong. Unless something catastrophic happens, you will usually have some warning before something breaks irreparably. That said, if these signs continue to repeat themselves shortly after you tend to them, that’s likely a sign that the car is on its way out.

A Master Muffler technician will be able to see the general state of your car parts during a regularly scheduled tune-up and will be able to help you strategize for the short term until you buy a new vehicle.

Categories: Automotive Info

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