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What’s that Light on My Dashboard?

February 6, 2013 - “There was a little orange light on right down there.” This is not an uncommon statement heard by many a mechanic as they investigate the latest report on the ping, ping sound or the grrrthmp sound described by their nervous customer. What else can he do but shake his head and say “yes ma’am, I understand?”

Those lights on your dashboard are put there for a reason. You might see something that looks like an exclamation point with parentheses around it (!) this could be tire pressure. Or you might see something like a “service engine” light that comes on and goes off again and again. It’s easy to ignore those little signs for a time. However, if you continue to ignore them you are very likely going to wind up with much, much bigger problems.

Suppose you’ve seen some kind of light on the dashboard or the service engine light and you’ve heard some unusual sounds going on in your engine. You surely need to have this investigated and soon before it winds up costing you a small or large fortune.

So…how can you avoid this potential fortune spent or misfortune? You can save yourself a lot of headache, hair pulling, and dollar signs by following your car’s manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. If you have an older car/truck/van just talk to your local mechanic, peruse online, or talk to your auto parts distributor. They will gladly help you set up a maintenance schedule for just about any vehicle.

On average the cost of a new vehicle is $30,000 plus. The cost of the privilege of owning and driving a vehicle is somewhere in the ballpark of $10,000 per year. Considering that the majority of us are spending that much plus more, doesn’t it make sense to protect it and take care of it?

Maintenance isn’t cheap, but it’s cheaper than replacing the whole thing. You can avoid an enormous amount of engine damage from cracked cylinder heads, to bad fuel delivery, to complete mechanical failure if you will just take care of your investment.

When your vehicle makes sounds that are not normal, get it checked. When you see a little orange, green, or whatever color light on the dashboard that is not normally lit up, check it out. Get out the owner’s manual and investigate, talk to your local auto parts dealer, or a friendly mechanic. It doesn’t matter which you do, but do something. Don’t just ignore those little warning signs or you may soon find yourself spending a small fortune on unnecessary repairs or even shopping for a new vehicle.

Moral of this “what’s that light on my dashboard” story is that old adage an ounce of prevention is worth a pound (in this case - many pounds) of cure.

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