Auto Repair in Albany, CA

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What Do These Pesky Dashboard Lights Mean? Can they be ignored?

Most of us at one point or another has had a light come on their dashboard and we’ve either been very worried by it, or maybe ignored it until there was time to see our local mechanic. Well, worry no further! We are here to provide you with the most important and most common errors that we see in customers’ vehicles day in and day out. Below is a list of the pictures and their explanations.

Check Engine Light or Maintenance Indicator Light (MIL):

There are some lights that when they come on your dashboard it isn’t an immediate emergency, but this is not one! Of all the lights, the check engine light is the most important. Even more alarming is if the light is flashing. This means there is an error that is happening at this very moment. Here at Dana Meyer Auto Care, we use customer education instead of scare tactics, this is why we offer affordable code reading and diagnostics to all customers!

Now the one exception to this rule is if you just filled up your gas tank and the light comes on, the quickest, easiest and cheapest fix is to remove the gas gap and re-secure it ensuring that you hear three clicks when tightening it. This very common quick fix may save you time and money. Otherwise, don’t hesitate to bring you vehicle in & we can even scan it while you wait if you are in a rush.

Some codes (or diagnostic trouble codes) thrown by your Onboard Diagnostic Computer are more complicated than others, so do prepare yourself for up to an hour of diagnostic time. However long we take to diagnose your vehicle you can rest assured that it will be fixed as quickly and inexpensive as possible, and we provide a 2 year or 24,000 mile warranty on ALL repairs!

Tire Pressure Monitoring System or TPMS:

The light that looks like an exclamation point between two parenthesis is telling you that your tire is low on air. The best way to ensure that your vehicle’s tires aren’t going flat or are running the risk of a blow-out is to head to the closest gas station and make sure that the tires’ pressure matches the pounds per square inch (or PSI) that is listed on the sticker posted to the driver’s side door jam. Do not go by the PSI on your tire, that is the maximum amount of pressure, and will not provide the best gas mileage.

Whenever your vehicle is brought to our shop we make sure to reset all tire pressures to the manufacturers recommendation. If this light comes on and you’d like us to take a look at it, feel free to stop by and we will check it complimentary for all existing customers!

Coolant Temperature Warning:

Indicates temperature has exceeded normal limits. Check coolant level, fan operation, radiator capcoolant leaks.

Oil Pressure Warning:

If this light stays lit, it indicates loss of oil pressure. Immediately check oil level and pressure. Usually when this light illuminates it is telling you the oil fluid level is dangerously low. Operating a vehicle on low oil can cause catastrophic internal engine damage.

Service Vehicle Soon:

Typically any light indicating it needs service soon refers to an oil change. It can also refer to lighting or other electrical problem that is controlled by the BCM (body control module). Check all lights (head lightsturn signalsbrake lights, and hazard lights). This symbol may also be used to warn driver of a traction control problem, or a communication problem between modules.

Brake Warning System:

The three most common possible conditions that cause this warning are: parking brake is on; problem with the braking system/brake fluid is low, or ABS problem. The amber lights refer to the ABS Ssytem, meaning your base brakes are still functional, this is not always the case with the red warning lights. Check brake fluid and make sure the parking brake is fully released, if not bring it to a shop as soon as possible.

If you don’t see your light in question, as always, the best method is to either check your owner’s manual for the most reliable explanation, or give us a call!


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