Battery/Charging System Indicator Light
The Battery/Charging System Indicator Light is amber in color and looks like a battery. When this light illuminates or stays illuminated or comes on and off while driving, it is indicating that there is an issue in the charging or starting system of your vehicle. There are several things that this could be: the battery not holding a good charge or having bad connections, bad connections at the starter, a broken or loose alternator drive belt, a failing alternator or again not having good connections. We recommend having this inspected and tested immediately, this light usually indicates an imminent failure that will cause a breakdown situation.
Oil Pressure Light
The Oil Pressure Light is indicated in an amber color as an oil can with a drip. This light is often misunderstood as time for an oil change light. That is not what it is indicating. When this indicator is illuminated it is indicating that your engine is not receiving enough oil. This could be because of low engine oil level or low engine oil pressure. An engine that is starved of engine oil or pressure can be damaged internally within seconds or minutes of continued operation. We recommend if that light ever comes on, turn off the car immediately and have it towed to your trusted repair facility to have it diagnosed.
Coolant Temperature Light
The Coolant Temperature Light is amber in color and is shown as a thermometer in a circle. When this light illuminates it usually indicates that your engine is operating at an excessively high temperature. The sensor for this light is measuring the temperature of the engine coolant that is circulating in the engine cooling system. If this light comes on it is recommended to turn off the vehicle immediately and have it towed to your trusted repair facility for a diagnosis of the overheating engine. Please keep in mind that engines can overheat without that light coming on if the coolant level is low. So make sure your coolant level is checked regularly with oil change services and immediately address any leaks of coolant that you may see from under your vehicle. Also, never attempt to remove a radiator cap on a vehicle that is overheating. You can get seriously injured due to the amount of pressure build up in that system.
Transmission Temperature Light
Lastly, there is the Transmission Temperature Light, which is much like the Coolant Temperature Light. This light will illuminate when your transmission is operating at an extremely high temperature. It can turn on due to low fluid level, poor transmission fluid condition, transmission pump flow or when the vehicle is being used for towing at high temperatures. It is recommended to have the vehicle towed in to your trusted repair facility if this light stays illuminated. If it goes back off, then we would recommend having it diagnosed as soon as possible. A transmission that is operating at too high of a temperature can cause internal damage to the transmission.
The different warning lights on your dash, which we have discussed in the past few articles, is your vehicle’s way of talking to you. Make sure and listen then take the appropriate action to minimize any damage or downtime with your vehicle.
Steve and Karen Johnston are owners of All About Automotive, providing auto repair and auto maintenance in Historic Downtown Gresham. If you have questions or comments, call them at 503-465-2926 or email them at [email protected].