5 warning lights you must NEVER ignore

There are a bunch of “warning” lights that illuminate on the instrument cluster before starting your car, and go off after you start the car. If these lights don’t go off, you could be in trouble, big trouble. Here are 5 warning light you must NEVER ignore.

Warning Lamps

Check engine light

Check Engine Light

Engine check engine, also known as Check Engine Light (CEL) comes on when a sensor detects change in emissions. This light warns the driver that the engine is not performing optimally, and that it needs to be checked. In the Mahindra Scorpio pictured above, the check engine light came on, and within minutes the whole SUV was on fire. Needless to say, ignoring the check engine light can be very dangerous. If this light comes up on the instrument cluster of your car, make sure you head to the nearest service center who will diagnose the issue. Do NOT ignore it. It’s not harmless as it may seem.

Low Oil Pressure light

Low Oil Pressure light

The moment this light comes up, it’s best that you pull over and shut the engine down. The low oil pressure light indicates that the engine is losing oil, either due to a leak or perhaps due to some part of the engine burning oil. Driving with the low oil pressure light can destroy the whole engine in a matter of minutes. This can lead to a repair bill of a few lakh rupees in case of expensive cars and about a lakh rupees or more in case of mass market cars. Clearly, the Low Oil Pressure light mustn’t be messed with.

Brake Oil Pressure light/Handbrake light

Handbrake light

The handbrake light comes on if you forget to release the handbrake lever. But what if this light stays on even after releasing the lever? Well, this could be due to two reasons, 1. A loose contact, which is relatively an easy fix. 2. Your hydraulic brake fluid level may be below the minimum level. This is also indicative of a leak in the braking system as that’s usually the reason for loss in brake oil. Any kind of leak in the brake lines is a serious concern as braking can be seriously impaired. You know what can happen if the brakes fail, don’t you? Sometimes, the handbrake light can be the difference between life and light.

Engine overheating light

Engine overheating light

Some cars have temperature gauges, which needs to be monitored (Make sure the temperature needle stays at the halfway mark and never exceeds 60 % of the dial). Some cars also have a “check engine” indicator light that will glow in case of overheating. Others have an engine overheating light that looks like a little thermometer and comes on only when the engine is overheating. This light’s function is to inform you that there is some issue with the cooling system of the car, causing the engine to overheat.

Check Engine

Of course, other factors can also cause engine overheating but when you see this light pop up, you don’t continue driving. Pull over. Wait for the engine to cool, and check if there’s a leak in the radiator or if there’s no coolant in the coolant reservoir. If you can’t figure things out, get your car towed to a mechanic. Heat kills engines and if you continue driving with an overheating engine, it can cause permanent engine damage, and in the worst case, catastrophic engine seizure.

Battery voltage light

Battery check light

No battery means a dead car. And the battery voltage light is meant to tell you when your car’s battery is dying. This light can come on 1. When a battery needs replacement. 2. When the alternator is not charging the battery. Both cases could leave you stranded on the road. So, make sure that you pay close attention to the battery voltage symbol on your car’s instrument cluster. Ignoring it can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere with no engine and no lights, and that’s not a particularly comforting feeling.

Scorpio image courtesy 4X4India