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Understand car warning lights Save time and hassle




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Why do we ignore warnings? Mark Lehto, Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering, explains one of the key reasons we turn a blind eye is due to our desire to get things done.

‘If someone's main goal is to complete a task, the benefits he perceives in finishing may outweigh the risks of skipping a safety step.’

And cars are all about getting things done. Driving to work, picking up kids, grocery shopping and leisure. Often, we are loathe to stop something once we’ve made the effort to start.

What’s the risk?

A car warning light is there to let you know something is wrong. But it won’t necessarily tell you what. By ignoring it, you may be discounting a range of problems – from something as simple as the air-con giving out – to all out engine failure. And then they only thing you’ll be getting done is potentially dangerous and highly expensive.

Car warning lights and what to do about them

Here is Budget Direct Insurance’s expert guide to knowing what your car warning light means, what action you should take, and workshop scams to avoid.

warning sign 1

Check Engine Light

Scam Alert. Some garages will charge you just for plugging in a device in to give you a code number for the engine’s problem. If they try to do this leave. It’s a rip off.

What To Do? Find a garage that will read the engine’s code and make a diagnosis. Smaller garages are better as the solution won't rely on expensive parts bought from a corporate chain.

warning sign 2

Service Engine Light

Warning. If the light stays on for 10 seconds, normally your car will need a service within 500 miles. If the light flashes for 10 seconds, you may have exceeded the recommended time before a service.

What to Do? This light indicates you're car will require regular maintenance. It monitors miles travelled, or the temperature of the engine, oil or air.

warning sign 3

Oil Warning Light

Warning. This is serious and if you continue to drive with low oil pressure, your engine can grind to a halt. Your car may have a blocked filter, failed oil pump, in the sump, or your engine maybe burning through oil.

What To Do? Get a mechanic to diagnose and fix – fast. You cannot afford to ignore this warning – the price may be a new car!

In the next in this series, we’ll tackle warnings to do with brakes and coolant. More expert help to keep you safely on the road.

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Budget Direct Insurance
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