For New Drivers: What Those Lights on Your Dashboard Mean

As a new driver, you need to learn not only how to drive but also how to take care of your vehicle. You need to know what all the dashboard lights mean, so if one is activated, you know how to respond correctly to the information that is being presented to you.

#1 Battery Alert

If a symbol of a battery lights up with a plus and minus sign, your vehicle is letting you know that the total voltage of your battery is below expected levels. Your battery is not providing your car with enough energy. This is a serious issue. It may be as simple as the battery terminals needing to be cleaned or the battery needing to be replaced, or the alternator belt may be damaged and need to be replaced. This is something you are going to want to get checked soon or one day you will go to start your vehicle and it will not work.

#2 Coolant Temperature

The coolant temperature warning sign looks like a thermometer sitting in water. This is a serious warning. This warning lets you know that the temperature of your engine is too hot. When this happens, you should pull over as soon as you can and allow your engine to completely cool off. Expect to wait multiple hours for your vehicle to cool off. The exact time depending on how long you have been driving and how hot the engine got.

Your coolant level may be low, or the radiator cap may be loose, or a fan may not be working right. Do not remove the cap on the coolant until your vehicle has cooled off. You should not drive when this warning shows up on your dashboard.

#3 Transmission Temperature

Some vehicles have a transmission temperature warning. It looks like a thermometer in the middle of a gear icon. This warning means your transmission fluid is too hot. Just like with the coolant, you are going to want to allow your engine to cool off. Once the engine cools off, check the transmission and coolant levels.

#4 Tire Pressure

The tire pressure sign looks like an exclamation point in the middle of a flat tire icon. The tire pressure monitor is designed to let you know when you need to add air to your tires. The right level of air in your tires is essential for the safe handling of your vehicle.

#5 Check Engine Light

Then, there is the general check engine light, which looks like an outdoor water faucet. The check engine light can come on for a wide variety of different reasons. When the check engine light is activated, it is best to take your vehicle in to an auto body shop to have a diagnostic scan run. This scan will generate some codes that will help you figure out what is wrong with your vehicle.

These are the most important dashboard lights that may light up your dashboard while driving. Look over the owner's manual for your vehicle to learn more about the dashboard lights on your vehicle. You need to know what these lights mean so you can react correctly to them when you are driving.

For more information about driving and taking care of cars, such as Corvettes, talk to a professional in the auto industry.

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About Me

Learning More About At-Home Auto Service I have never been an especially handy person, but a few years ago I decided that I needed to learn more about my vehicle. I was tired of always relying on someone else to fix things, so I began reading more and more about the process. I realized that there were a lot of things that I needed to do, so I began taking a little course on at-home auto service. I still have a lot to learn, but now I can at least go through and change my air filter and check my oil. Read this blog to learn more about auto service.




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