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Do not ignore vehicles' warning lights!

RED LIGHT — Responding to the car’s warning lights can help keep drivers safely on the road.
SPRINGVILLE — Safety on the road is no accident. When a warning light illuminates on a car’s dashboard, it is alerting the driver to a situation that requires swift attention.

While not all warning lights are a sign that disaster is imminent, no warning indicators should be ignored.

That is the word from AAA, which encourages motorists to read their owners’ manuals and know what the warning lights in their vehicles mean.

Oil pressure light
The oil pressure light is usually an oil can symbol or the word “oil.” It lights up when there is a drop in engine oil pressure. Of all the warning lights, the oil pressure light indicates the greatest potential for serious mechanical damage.

If the oil pressure warning light comes on and stays on, pull off the road at the earliest safe opportunity, shut off the engine and call for roadside assistance.

Engine temperature light
The engine temperature light is usually a thermometer symbol or the word “temp.” It comes on when the engine temperature is unsafe for the vehicle. Unless the engine temperature is quickly brought under control, major damage may occur.

If there are any signs of a cooling system leak, pull off the road at the earliest safe opportunity, shut off the engine and call for professional assistance.

Be careful when opening the hood in the presence of steam and never remove the radiator cap when the engine is still hot.

Charging system light
The charging system light is usually a battery symbol, the word “alt” or “gen.” It comes on when the alternator is no longer supplying power to the vehicle electrical system.

If this light comes on, shut down all unnecessary electrical loads such as the radio, heater or air-conditioning, then drive the vehicle to a repair facility immediately for further inspection.

Check engine light
The check engine light comes on when there is a problem affecting the vehicle’s exhaust emissions.

If the light comes on and stays on, make an appointment with an auto repair shop to have the problem checked, in the near future.

If the check engine light begins flashing repeatedly, the catalytic converter is overheating. Should this occur, drive the vehicle to a repair shop immediately for further diagnosis.

Disregarding a flashing check engine light could start a fire, destroy the catalytic converter and result in expensive and necessary repairs.

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