Know Your Car Dashboard and Save On Costs

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Know Your Car Dashboard and Save On Costs

Owning a car certainly comes with its perks, but it also entails many hidden costs if you’re not mindful of how your car works or when it needs special attention. At the end of the day your car is an asset, and as such needs to be taken care of appropriately to avoid major headaches down the road (pun intended). In fact, keeping your car up to scratch is a great way to cut down on costs and save money. Begin with taking steps to familiarise, know your car dashboard and save on costs subsequently.

That doesn’t mean only servicing your car every six months or when it reaches a certain amount of kilometres. You also need to familiarise yourself with your car dashboard so you can detect issues and get them fixed before they become a major – and expensive – problem.

About car dashboards symbols

Have you ever wondered what all those symbols on your car dashboard mean? If you don’t understand what they mean, you may be prone to feeling panicked when a foreign symbol lights up on your dashboard while you’re driving. While you don’t need to be an expert, it’s important that you know what each symbol indicates as they convey important information about your car that you may need to act on.

Different models will vary when it comes to what symbols are displayed, so make sure to read your owner’s manual for specifics. There are, however, some common symbols you should learn. Dashboard symbols can be divided into three main categories: warning, safety and common symbols.

Warning symbols

  • Engine temperature warning light: When this symbol lights up it means your car’s coolant is either overheating (when lit red) or is below what’s needed for optimum performance (when lit blue). If the warning appears in red, stop somewhere safe and let your car cool down, or its engine could be damaged.
  • Battery charge warning: This symbol means your car battery is not in optimum condition and you should replace it soon. Avoid using the air conditioning until you can park somewhere safe.
  • Oil pressure warning light: Your engine may have lost normal oil pressure. You should take it to the mechanic for inspection.
  • Airbag indicator: There may be a fault with the airbags. Take it to a qualified professional to get inspected immediately.
  • Brake warning light: If this appears when driving, it could mean your car is low on brake fluid. Take it to a mechanic.
  • Seatbelt indicator: You’ve forgotten to fasten your seatbelt! Please do so and make sure all passengers do as well.

Safety symbols

  • Engine warning: There might be a problem with your engine. Take your car to a mechanic.
  • Traction control light: Your car is losing its grip on the surface of the road. You’ll need to slow down without braking abruptly. If the light is permanently on, take it to a mechanic.
  • ABS indicator: Your car’s Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is not working properly. Take it to a mechanic for inspection.
  • Tyre pressure warning light: Your tyre air pressure is low. Put some air into them at the nearest service station as soon as possible. The inside of the driver’s door will have information indicating the required pressure your tyres need.
  • Glow plug indicator: Indicates that your diesel vehicle’s engine temperature is too low. If it happens regularly, take it to a mechanic.

Common symbols

  • High-beam light indicator: Your high-beam headlights are on. If you’re driving in a dark area without street lighting you should use your high-beams, though be sure to turn them off if you’re behind another vehicle or are approaching a vehicle in the oncoming lane. Leaving your high-beams on can ruin another driver’s visibility, so be careful!
  • Low windshield fluid: Put some water in. You should do this as soon as possible in order to maintain good visibility while driving.
  • Service reminder: Your car is due for a service. You’re better off doing this sooner rather than later to keep your vehicle running smoothly.

When should you service your car? 

Regularly servicing your car and paying attention to maintenance is important for the longevity of your vehicle. There are several reasons that regular services are important:

  • Knowing when a service is necessary can help you avoid hefty costs from issues that you may have been left unresolved too long.
  • Regular services are important to preserving a good resale value for your car when the time comes to sell it.
  • If your car is under warranty against defects, some manufacturers will request a logbook service history if you make a claim.

Your car’s user manual will usually detail exactly how frequently you should service it. Every car is different, and the manual lets you know the specific maintenance tasks that need to be done, or which parts need to be replaced and when. Generally speaking, the older the car, the more services it’ll require. This usually includes a filter and oil change every 10,000 km or every six months (depending on how much you drive the car).

Pay attention to your car and save

Being an adult is about taking responsibilities head on and planning ahead in order to avoid stressful situations. Even if we’re driving hover cars in the near future, being familiar with something as simple as your car dashboard and not leaving things until last minute could potentially save you thousands.

Shayen De Silva

Since I’ve been able to put crayon to paper, there’s nothing I’ve loved more than telling a good story.

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