Autos have more dashboard warning lights today than ever before.  While they offer increased knowledge of the presence of auto problems, they can’t diagnose what, if any, auto repair you require. Sometimes there are so many alert lights and warnings; it isn’t clear what the flashing indicator even means! Let the Columbia SC Auto Repair Pro help sort it all out with Part 2 – Dashboard Lights & Meanings.

Oil Pressure Alert

There isn’t a car out there that can operate without oil.  If the oil warning indicator has come on you should NEVER ignore it.  You should immediately check the oil level in your engine.  If it is low, add oil to within adequate levels on the dipstick. This warning light may also be indicative of a drop in oil pressure.  This can be a result of leaks within the system coming from gaskets, bad seals, piston rings, worn valve guides, or worn cylinders causing actual oil burn. You could also be suffering from a malfunctioning oil pressure sending unit or a faulty oil pump. While leaks in seals and gaskets are a reasonably priced fix, there are other parts that may be a bit more involved.  If an engine is worn and just keeps burning oil, the only real solution is to overhaul or completely replace the engine.

Because of the importance of oil to your engine, if your oil pressure warning light has come on and your oil level isn’t low, you should have the problem checked by a mechanic or auto repair shop. Without oil, your bearings can run dry, in turn overheating and seizing causing everything from spun bearings to broken connecting rods, none of which will be simple or cheap!

Low Tire Pressure Warning Alert

The tire pressure alert comes on when the auto’s tire pressure monitoring system, or TPMS, identifies a tire that is over 25% underinflated. Driving on improperly inflated tires can cause serious ramifications. Low tires can cause blowouts, make the car pull to one side or the other, affect steering manageability and create overall poor handing. In addition to safety issues that arise from driving on low tires, it can also affect your fuel mileage. If your tire pressure warning light has come on you should check your air pressure as soon as possible.  Always be sure you only inflate the tires to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Air Bag Alert Light

This light may look like an inflated airbag graphic or say SRS, which is short for Supplemental Restraint System. This light will not come on unless there is a problem detected within the car’s air bag system. Every time you drive your automobile, your air bag control module performs a self-check. Any problem within the system will light this warning.  This can be a problem with one of the air bag modules, a crash sensor, or even the system wiring. Although your auto can run just fine without proper air bag function, you are compromising your safety to drive with this issue. Again, it is advised that you take your car or truck to a trusted mechanic or auto repair center to have the SRS or air bag warning alert diagnosed and safely corrected.

As a Columbia, SC auto repair shop owner, I want to offer information to help drivers understand their car troubles, know what car- related explanations mean and why the problem happens.  If you have auto questions or need to schedule an auto repair or maintenance appointment in the greater Columbia, SC area, Sanford’s Automotive Service is happy to make you our newest loyal customer!