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Service Tips from Cook

Common Car Warning Lights

Modern cars are technologically advanced machines with lots of sensors and electrical systems that constantly monitor themselves. And of course, we depend on our vehicles for commuting, recreation, running errands and getting work done on the jobsite.

So, when you see warning lights on your dash that you don't recognize, it can certainly be a bit worrisome. Let's explore a few of the most common warning lights and what each one means.

Check Engine Light

Check Engine

Oh no! The dreaded check engine light! While it seems like the scariest, this light is one the most ambiguous because it relates to many things having to do with the car's motor and emissions system.

The potential issue could be as minor as an ill-fitting gas cap. Or it could mean something far more serious is wrong.

If the check engine light illuminates while you're driving and everything seems fine with the car, don't panic, but don't ignore it, either. Get the vehicle to our service center to run a diagnostic test and source the problem. Should the light turn on and the vehicle suddenly begins operating erratically or making strange noises, pull over immediately and call for a tow. This means there’s a far more serious problem. And NEVER ignore a blinking check engine light. Ignoring a blinking check-engine light could mean putting yourself at risk, and ruining your car’s powertrain.


Battery Warning


The battery warning is easy to decipher because it looks exactly like the thing that needs attention. For many car owners, this light conjures up the heart-sinking 'click, click' sound of a vehicle trying to start with a dead battery.

Don't be fooled if the battery light illuminates but the car starts up and drives normally. There could be a long-term issue with the battery itself, or potential problems with the vehicle's wiring, alternator, or other electrical components. Again, don't ignore this light because a battery issue means that you might not be able to start your car when you most need it.


Tire Pressure Monitoring System

This light looks like a horseshoe with an exclamation point in the middle. In many modern cars, the tire pressure monitors include a display to tell the driver the exact tire pressure at each wheel.

As an example, if one tire shows significantly less air pressure than the others, stop the car and refill the tire to the correct pressure rating. Start the car and see if the warning light goes off after a few minutes. If it doesn't, there could be damage to the tire that's causing a rapid leak. Also note that this is a common sight during winter because cold temperatures affect tire pressures.

Of course, there are lots of other lights and indicators that can pop up. Refer to your owner's manual or stop in at one of our service centers.


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