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When Not To Drive With A Dash Light On

At Saffron Autos we are very keen to keep you on the road in a car you can trust. The Saffron Autos technical team specialise in technical diagnosis so we’ve put together this quick 3 minute read to answer that all important question

“I’ve got a light on. Can I continue to drive my car or do I need a garage?”

Today’s cars are extraordinarily complex pieces of engineering with enough technology to be compared with airline jets. They have come a long way from the cars we knew in yesteryear.  Each car nowadays has a wealth of computer technology to make sure the vehicle’s systems function correctly.

Unfortunately, faults still occur, so what happens then? And how can you tell what’s wrong? This is where the dashboard warning system is important.

Switching on your engine triggers many dashboard lights to spring to life but after a few seconds, they switch off again. But as you are driving along, what should happen if one of them suddenly lights up?

Most vehicles share a standard set of these warning lights. Some provide gentle reminders of things of which we need to be aware, others provide information, but a few warn of serious issues that need action without any delay.

These are the warning lights that are most serious because they alert us to problems with our cars that require us to stop or risk causing serious damage.

When one of these lights comes on what should you do? First of all, refer to your driver’s handbook. It should identify which light it is and what it is trying to say. If you’re out driving and the problem is potentially serious then roadside assistance is a good first place to call. Or, we at Saffron Autos would love to hear from you as we can give you our expert opinion and attend to your problem if necessary.

The most important lights

All the lights provide important information, but here we outline the ones that should be taken most seriously because of the potential for problems to escalate if they are not acted upon.

The dashboard lights you should not ignore are:

The Engine Management Light

Shaped like a self-standing engine when this light comes on it warns of a mechanical or electrical fault. It is telling you that an engine system is not within its standard parameters and needs urgent attention.

To determine the level of risk of additional damage requires a diagnostic test to be done with the correct equipment. We can help you with this and discover the root cause. When this is known it will indicate whether the engine needs a quick fix or something more involved.

The braking system light

This light highlights problems with the all-important braking system. This could have potentially dangerous consequences and so it calls for immediate attention. None of us wants to suffer the consequences of brake failure!

The ABS lamp

When this switches on it is warning that there is a fault with the car’s Anti Lock Braking System. This could affect your braking distance, or increase the chances of skidding. It may also affect your steering while braking.

The power steering failure lamp

When there is a fault in the power steering system it makes it very difficult to drive a car.

The steering becomes extremely heavy, and this is bound to have an impact on your ability to safely control the car. Although the car may be manoeuvrable at low speeds, with much effort, it poses a danger when the car is driven at normal speeds.

The airbag warning light

This illuminates if a fault has occurred in the airbag system. The car will still handle and drive as normal but the lamp cannot be ignored because if you are involved in an accident or one of the airbags is deployed unexpectedly the consequences could be extremely serious.

The oil pressure light

A low oil level or a loss of oil pressure could be caused by too little oil in the system or significant mechanical failure. You need to stop and take action because of the heightened risk of serious damage or even overall engine failure.

The cooling system light

If there is too little coolant in the engine, the power unit could exceed its maximum temperature and overheat. The risk of this is that performance will suffer, the engine could be damaged or worse, the car may stop completely.

So, it’s very important that these Stop-the-Car lights are taken seriously. The danger is that not taking the appropriate action could end up with you incurring unnecessary expense and worse having an irreparably damaged vehicle – both of which scenarios we want to help you avoid.

At Saffron Autos, we are known for the expertise we have in this field. Our technicians are able to guarantee that with their skills and knowledge they will always give you great value and heightened peace of mind when it comes to maintaining your car.

Engine Light On?

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