December 19, 2023 | Sammy Tran

10 Vehicle Warnings You Should Not Ignore


Vehicle Warning Lights You Should Never Ignore

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Here’s a piece of advice you should consider taking: when your vehicle talks, you better listen.

Your vehicle communicates with you in many different ways. From sounds, to feel, to warning lights, it will often give you a heads up before a major problem occurs.

Something most often ignored is a vehicle’s warning lights. Ignoring these can lead to costly repairs, or worse, put you in harms way.

Mechanics are urgently advising all drivers to stop ignoring your vehicle’s warning lights. Each light is designed to alert the driver of abnormalities in the operation of the vehicle, or failures in its subsystems.

Neglecting these warnings can escalate minor issues, resulting in expensive repairs and compromised safety.

Here are 10 warnings you should take seriously, and what they mean.

Check Engine Light

Check Engine LightTexoma

That annoying little light can surprise any driver. Most people ignore this light if everything seems fine. In reality, this warning light could indicate anything from a loose gas cap to a malfunctioning oxygen sensor. Although some issues are minor, if ignored, they can escalate to pricy repairs.

According to a CarMD survey, the top issues associated with check engine lights include ignition coil and spark plug issues.

Oil Pressure Warning

warning lightBjoern Wylezich, Shutterstock

The oil pressure light serves an important purpose. Your engine requires lubrication to function. If the light comes on, it means the oil pressure it too low. This can lead to significant engine damage—and quickly.

A survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated that “5% of engine complaints were oil-related”.

Temperature Warning

Vehicle Temperature Warning LightSanti S, Shutterstock

This warning should be taken seriously. It tells you just what you think it would—temperatures are too high. If your car overheats, it can lead to irreparable engine damage.

This warning light indicates that the coolant level is too low or that the cooling system isn’t working properly.

This requires immediate attention if you want to prevent further issues, like warped cylinder heads or sudden engine failure.

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Brake Light Warning

Vehicle Brake Warning LightChaiyagorn Phermphoon, Shutterstock

The brake light warning signals a range of issues like low brake fluid, or worn-out brake pads.

Even so, your brakes are your primary safety mechanism and all warning lights should be addressed right away to avoid catastrophic consequences.

Tire Pressure Warning Lights

Vehicle Tire Pressure Warning LightJ.J. Gouin, Shutterstock

This warning light indicates low tire pressure. This will affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, and vehicle handling. More importantly, it increases the risk of a tire blowout.

The NHTSA states that “under-inflated tires triple the risk of a crash.

Battery Alert Light

Dumbest Person FactsShutterstock

A draining battery or a malfunctioning alternator could leave you stranded. This warning light lets you know that your vehicle’s electrical system is running solely on the battery—once drained, your call will stall.

Airbag Warning Light

Vehicle Airbag Warning LightNew Africa, Shutterstock

When the airbag light is on it means there’s a fault in the system. So, in the event of a collision, the airbags may not deploy.

Faulty airbags have led to many vehicle recalls in recent years. If this light is on, contact your mechanic ASAP.

Transmission Temperature

Vehicle Transmission Temperature Warning LightGartland, Shutterstock

If this light is on, it means your transmission fluid is hotter than it should be. This can lead to transmission damage. Fixing the transmission can be a complex, and costly repair. The longer you ignore this light, the worse it could get.

Traction Control or Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) Light

ABS Break Warning Lightninefotostudio, Shutterstock

If either of these lights stays on after starting your vehicle, it means there’s an issue with either of those systems, significantly reducing the control you have of your vehicle. 

Even though your vehicle will still operate, its ability to handle different driving conditions can be compromised, making wet and winter driving very dangerous.

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Service Vehicle Soon Light

Check Service Engine Light on VehicleBenjamin Clapp, Shutterstock

This one seems similar to the Check Engine Light, however, this one is more general and can pertain to issues beyond the engine. It could be an electrical issue, or even a reminder for routine maintenance.

Ignoring this light is like playing Russian roulette—nothing might happen, or something might happen. Better to just get it checked, just in case.

Final Thoughts

Disrespected employeesShutterstock

Ignoring these warning lights leads to both compromised safety as well as expensive repairs—both of which should be enough reason to ensure you have these warnings looked into right away.

Always consult a trusted mechanic or vehicle expert when any of these lights appear.