Cars are a hard species to figure out. Like potential partners, there’s so much to bloody know before you take ’em for a ride. And in the same token, there are red flags that’ll let you know if you’re dealing with something faulty.
For love interests it might be mentioning their ex twice within one sitting. For cars? Dashboard lights. You’ll wanna know what each one means before hitting the road and heck, you’ll probably make your ‘rents proud / sleep easier while you’re at it. After all the shit you put them through growing up, it really is the least you could do.
Doors: Close the door you noob. If you forget to, it’ll drain your battery and ain’t nobody got time for that.
Overdrive: Your car’s overdrive system has been flicked off manually. There’s usually an on/off switch that can fix this.
Airbag: If this stays lit after starting up your car then there’s an issue with your airbags. Not cool. Not safe. Sort it out.
Washer fluids: If you like having clean windscreens, simply refill the washer fluid reservoir, usually found within a cap that has a windshield-looking icon on it. Simples!
Fog: Looks like fish bones, it isn’t fish bones. This is to tell you your fog lamps are on.
Traction control: Generally a reminder that the roads are slippery, as the pic suggests. It’s telling you that the car’s electronic stability system is in use / got your back.
Engine: Your gas cap could be loose, damaged or missing, or one of the following might need replacing: your car’s Oxygen Sensor (o2), Mass Airflow Sensor (MAS), Catalytic Converter or spark plugs / plug wires.
Battery: The Backstreet Boys’ ‘The Call‘ said, “My battery is low, just so you know,” but this light coming on isn’t just about that – get a professional to check your battery terminals, alternator belt + battery condition.
Cool temp: ‘Scuse the song refs, but Katy Perry also once said “You’re hot then you’re cold” and golly, was she talking about this light? Temp isn’t right. Check coolant level, fan operation, radiator cap + coolant leaks.
Transmission temp: Mate, your transmission’s feeling hot, hot, hot because your transmission fluid is also hot, hot, hotter than what it should be. Check its fluid + engine coolant level.
Oil pressure: If this light is as lit as your existence, you’ve lost oil pressure and will need to check oil level and pressure. Immediately, pls.
Oil change: Do you really need me to explain this one? Your oil life has reached it’s expiry date.
Service vehicle: This is usually to tell you you’ve got a lighting or electrical problemo. Check your lights.
Tire pressure monitoring system: This light is telling you that one of your wheels has low air pressure or there could be a malfunction in general. Check yo’ tires.
Brake system: You’ve either got a) your parking brake on (if you’re a lemon like me, probably the case), b) an issue with the braking system / brake fluid is low or c) an ABS (anti lock brakes) issue.
Reduced power: You’ll probably need a profesh diagnosis for this one, as this light means you’ve got limited engine power output because a component has failed within the ECM’s control system.
ABS light: Oh, The Australian Bureau of Statistics, right? Oh honey, no. This means that your Anti-lock brake has set up a code and you’ll need profesh diagnosis / assistance.
Gas cap: The gas cap! Check it! It needs to be toight like a tiger and if this light is on, then it’s probably not aye.
Cruise control: You and the cruise control? You crusin’ together. (Side note: fab invention.)
ESP fault: Well looky here, there’s a prob with your car’s traction control/anti-skid (lol) or electronic stability system. It’s like your car’s got ESP or something! It can always tell when it’s about to fault!
Security alert: If lit momentarily, your ignition switch may be locked (+ will require the transponder-equipped key to fire back up). If lit when the car’s on, you may have a malfunction in the security system.
Lamp out: One of your outside lights ain’t doing its job.
I thought about including the petrol and seatbelt lights but surely you know what those are, namely because they’re like, lit so much. Of course, all rides are different and will house different types of lights, but the above should give you a general gist and keep you safe.Image: Denise Truscello / WireImage