Car Warning Signs – Our Knowledge

At Roskill Auto Mechanical we service and repair a wide range of vehicle makes and models, and over the years we’ve seen all sorts of vehicle problems, and car warning signs. We have helped with some very complex issues and some very straightforward concerns.

It never ceases to amaze us how many times someone will say “oh yes, my car has been making a funny noise for quite a while, but I didn’t think I needed to worry about it”. Or we’ll ask how long a warning light has been on and hear that the driver has been “selectively ignoring” it for days.

We get it. You’re busy. You don’t want to face repair bills. You’re hoping the problem will go away on its own. That’s human nature. We’re not here to reprimand you. But we want to shed some light on what these car warning signs mean, and why they are important.

The most common car warning signs

Car dashboard warning signs

A vehicle’s engine light  is located on your dashboard or beside your speedometer. Next time you turn on your car, look at the dashboard or control lights that come on for a brief second or two as the car starts up. One of them is in the shape of an engine. You can always Google “engine light” if you’re not sure what it looks like.

Seeing these lights come on for a second or two initially when you start the car is perfectly normal. However, if the engine light comes on and stays illuminated, it’s important to take note and take action. This “check engine” light is your vehicle’s way of telling you that something’s wrong and needs attention. Your car’s computer has picked up a fault with a component that helps the engine run efficiently.

There are probably over 50 reasons why the engine light would come on. There’s no need to panic, but it’s important that you have it checked out. It may be something that is inexpensive and easy to fix, yet ignoring the warning could lead to more serious and more costly repairs. Give us a call and we can advise you on the next step to take.

Service reminder light

Nowadays our cars are very clever machines. Their internal computers hold a lot of significant information that keeps the vehicle running properly and keeps us safe. Your auto mechanic will update your car’s computer system every time a service appointment is conducted, logging what’s been done and when.

There’s no need to rely on paper records – your vehicle’s computer system will alert you when it’s due for its next service appointment. That’s what the service reminder light is doing. So don’t ignore it. Bringing your car in for regular service appointments is the best way to prolong the life of your vehicle, help it hold its value, and keep you driving safely.

Engine oil light

This little light is the shape of an oil can. If it lights up and stays on, it’s a warning that your vehicle is low on oil. This isn’t a reminder that it’s time to change your oil – it’s more serious than that. It’s your warning that your car needs more oil to run the engine safely. This is not something to ignore. Running your engine with low oil could cause serious damage.

Red thermometer

If the thermometer light goes on and stays on, it may be a sign that your car is overheating. There are a number of reasons why this may be happening. Your car may be low on coolant, or there may be a blown gasket, a radiator leak or a burst hose. These are all issues that, if ignored, can lead to greater damage.

Battery light

If the battery light comes on while you’re driving, we suggest driving straight to your nearest mechanic or garage. It’s a sign that your alternator is no longer charging the battery. The car may still run, but not for long. Once the battery runs out of charge, your car will stop – and you don’t want to be stranded when this happens.

Other signs of battery problems

There are other ways your car gives you warning signals, not just through the dashboard controls or warning lights. Another indication of a weak battery is slow cranking when you try to start your car. This may happen if it’s been a while since you’ve driven your car (memories of lockdown 2020). You may need to run your engine for a few minutes (with the garage door open) before driving off. If this happens repeatedly and you have trouble starting your car several days in a row, it’s time to look into replacing your car battery.

Noisy brakes, vibrating brakes

If you notice any unusual sounds or sensations when braking, it’s best to book in for a brakes inspection. Healthy brakes shouldn’t judder, shudder, squeal or screech. If you feel any vibration either through the brake pedal or through the steering column when you brake, something’s not right. It can be any number of things – possibly worn brake pads, wheels that have come out of alignment, or a damaged axel. It’s not something you want to ignore.

Thumping tyres

You also shouldn’t hear any unusual sounds coming from your tyres. If you do hear any thumping, hissing or scraping sounds, it’s a sign that something’s amiss with your tyres or wheels. Sometimes an innocent bump over a kerb or speeding too quickly over an unexpected speed bump is enough to dislodge something or damage your tyres. If you hear or feel anything strange, get in touch and we can investigate it for you.

Remember that saying, better safe than sorry. Our strongest piece of advice is to give us a call if you think something’s not right. We’ll let you know what is urgent and what can wait. We pride ourselves on being honest and transparent with all of our customers, and we’ll never try to convince you to pay for something you don’t need.

Contact us online or call us on 092421870 for a free quote or to book an appointment.

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