Car Warning Lights (Part II)
Brake system warning light
This light will remain illuminated when the handbrake is in use. Illumination after releasing the handbrake may indicate low brake fluid level. You may need to top up the fluid. As brakes wear the fluid level will slowly drop so regular checks are important. If you are not able to check this yourself go to your garage and ask them to check it for you.
If the brake fluid is too low and brake pedal travel is distinctly longer than usual, one of the two hydraulic brake circuits may have failed. If the light remains illuminated, even though the brake fluid level is correct, this may indicate a sensor fault. Take your car to a dealer or garage that has fault finding equipment.
Engine warning light
This light illuminates when the ignition is switched on. It should go out as soon as the engine starts.If it illuminates with the engine running, it indicates a malfunction with the engine management system. Have this checked as soon as possible.
If it flashes when driving, reduce the vehicle speed immediately until the light illuminates constantly. If it continues to flash, avoid heavy acceleration and high engine speed, stop the vehicle and have it checked immediately.
On some vehicles this light may be red – again stop the vehicle and seek assistance. If it is safe to do so, try stopping the vehicle, switching off the engine, wait two minutes, then restarting the engine to reset the engine management system. With the light illuminated, the vehicle is normally still safe to drive as long as no other faults are apparent with the engine.
ABS warning light
When the ignition is switched on, the light illuminates briefly to confirm that the system is operational. If it illuminates when driving, it indicates a malfunction. Have this checked as soon as possible.
Normal braking (without ABS) will generally be maintained and many cars will be safe to drive on, but some will not, if in doubt check with your mechanic or stop driving the car and have it checked.
Brake system and ABS warning lights
If both warning lights illuminate at the same time when driving, stop the vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so.
Reduce vehicle speed gradually and immediately move the vehicle to a safe position. Use the brakes with great care. Do not step on the brake pedal abruptly. Again seek assistance as soon as possible.
By learning what these lights mean and how to react when a fault occurs you can potentially save yourself money. Of course if you have regular servicing then a lot of minor problems will be picked up at this point. Happy motoring.
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