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In my experience, most people don’t know what you should do when a warning light comes on. We have already talked about the check engine lights so this time I wanted to talk about some of the other ones including the battery light, coolant temperature light and oil pressure lights.
First, I want to talk about the battery light. A lot of people think when they see a battery light on, that the battery is bad. They might be correct, but what that light means is the voltage for the car is low. In most cases, when the light comes on, that is a malfunctioning charging system. Basically, the alternator has quit working and the battery is drained down. If this light comes on, you have anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes before your vehicle will cut off. So, if the battery light comes on, turn off all electrical items you can like the radio and A/C system. This will reduce the draw on the battery so you can reach a safe location to call a tow truck.
Next, let’s talk about the coolant temperature lights. This light is important because it tells you your engine is overheating. If this light comes on, pull over and turn the engine off as fast as possible. You can cause severe engine damage if you continue to drive the vehicle even one or two miles down the road. It is way cheaper to tow your vehicle in then it is to repair or replace your engine. A tow is about $65.00 to $150.00 and engine repair starts around $3000.00 and goes up. You have a greater chance of a reasonable repair cost, the quicker you shut off the engine.
Lastly, what if the oil pressure light is on? This is one of the most important of all the lights. If this light comes on, you can ruin your engine in 100 to 300 yards if you continue to drive it. Some cars have an oil level light. Oil level and oil pressure are not the same thing. If the oil level comes on, you may need to add 1 or 2 quarts of oil to get the oil level back up. You can be 1 or 2 quarts low and still have oil pressure. You need to add oil very soon because it will starve some engine components of lubrication, but you can still drive it in to an auto parts or repair shop to add oil. So, if you lose oil pressure, turn it off immediately and call a tow truck because engine replacement on vehicles these days starts at $6000.00 and goes up to $12,000 and more. Give us a call or come see us at White’s Automotive Center! We’re here to help. And remember you can always submit a question on https://www.wtvm.com/page/auto-expert/