The warning lights we will be discussing in this article, have to do with the safety features of current and newer vehicles and may not apply to every vehicle that is being driven on the road. One thing to be aware of is that warning lights come in red or amber. The red color light usually indicates that more immediate attention and the amber lights indicate a system malfunction that needs to be addressed but is not as immediate. Green and blue lights indicators on your dash usually indicate a system being activated like cruise control.
The Brake Light Indicator, this light is usually red and says “brake” it is typically an indicator that the park brake is applied, however it can also indicate low brake fluid level. If this light comes on you should check your park brake first and if it is unapplied, the vehicle should be checked out immediately, we would recommend having it towed. Low fluid level can cause your brakes not to function properly and can make driving the vehicle unsafe. Low fluid level can indicate worn brakes or a brake fluid leak in the brake system.
The ABS Indicator Light, is for the Anti-Lock Braking System of your vehicle, it says ABS on your dash in an amber color. If the light stays illuminated this indicates that there is a malfunction in the ABS system. When that light is on, the ABS system of your vehicle will be disabled and will not operate in a slippery surface or panic stop situation. The conventional brake system of your vehicle will still work. If both the ABS light and Brake light are on we again recommend having your vehicle towed to your trusted repair facility to have your vehicles entire brake system inspected.
The Traction Control Light is a little newer system but is becoming to be a standard function on today’s vehicles. The indicator light is amber and shows a car in triangle with 2 squiggly lines behind it. When this light comes on it is because one or more of your wheels is spinning at a faster rate due to loss of traction. The systems sensors will indicate this and will automatically apply braking to the wheel(s) that needs to slow down and get back in sync with the others. When the Traction Control Light illuminates, you will know this system is in effect and that you should probably slow down a little.
The Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPMS) light is an amber light with a triangle and an exclamation point symbol in the middle. When this light comes on it means that you have a tire or tires that have a low pressure reading or that there is a problem in the system that it cannot read the pressure. We recommend having tire pressure checked and filled if needed on all tires including the spare tire and see if the TPMS can be reset. If it cannot then it needs to be diagnosed for the problem. This system is an important safety feature that helps with the #1 breakdown on US Highways which is flat or blown out tires. We recommend keeping this system in good working order, so you can rely on that indicator to let you know you have a tire that has low tire pressure.
The next article will cover warning lights that have to do with the operation of your charging/starting system and some of the fluid temperatures in your vehicle. Happy Motoring!