Confused by Dashboard Warning Lights? Ask a Toms River Mechanic

We all know that feeling of panic when one of those dashboard warning lights comes on in our car. Something is wrong, but what? While some of the warning lights are clear about what they represent, many are confusing and leave you wondering what is wrong. It’s always best to check with your local Toms River mechanic when any of the warning lights illuminate your dashboard, but it doesn’t hurt to know what they mean.

Check Engine Light

This can be the most frustrating and confusing of all the warning lights as it can mean a number of different things from a simple fix to something serious.

Confused by Dashboard Warning Lights? Ask a Toms River Mechanic

Loose or Faulty Gas Cap

While it sounds too easy, this can be the reason your check engine light is on. This can happen after you get gas if the attendant doesn’t make sure the gas cap is on tight. If the gas cap is old or defective, it could allow fuel vapor to escape and cause the light to go on. If you think this could be the case, you can purchase a new gas cap and replace it yourself. If the light still doesn’t go out, it’s time to visit your local Toms River mechanic.

Malfunctioning Oxygen Sensor

Cars can have anywhere from two to four of these sensors. While they don’t typically all go bad at the same time, if one of the sensors is faulty, it will send incorrect data the computer. This can reduce your car’s gas mileage which will result in increased fuel costs. Your local mechanic can identify which sensor or sensors are not functioning properly and replace them.

Defective Mass Air Flow Sensor

This sensor helps to regulate how much fuel your car’s computer will add based on the amount of air flowing through the engine. If the sensor is bad, it will impact your gas mileage and could cause your car to stall. Regularly replacing the air filter, typically at least once a year, can help keep this sensor working properly.

Old Spark Plugs and Wires

When spark plugs and wires aren’t replaced regularly, it can cause the plugs to misfire. This can create rough or uneven acceleration. Spark plugs and wires can be replaced as part of scheduled maintenance performed by your local qualified mechanic.

Bad Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter reduces the gases in the your car’s exhaust. If the converter isn’t working properly, you will see a significant decrease in gas milage and your car will be sluggish when you try to accelerate. This is a repair that should not be put off and the converter should be replaced by a qualified mechanic.

Additional Dashboard Warning Lights

There are other issues that can occur causing a warning light to come on. These are usually more specific when it comes to identifying a problem with your car. Some of these need to be addressed immediately by your local Toms River mechanic.

Oil Light

This light indicates your engine’s oil pressure is extremely low. This could be the result of a leak or because your engine is burning oil. Continuing to drive the car once this light has come on can cause serious engine damage.  Let the car sit so the engine can cool. Check the oil level. If it is low, add oil and then let your mechanic check it out.

Confused by Dashboard Warning Lights? Ask a Toms River Mechanic

Tire Pressure Light

There are a couple of reasons this light would come on – one is low tire pressure. Check the air pressure of each tire and add air as needed. Then drive the car for a few miles and the light should go out. If it doesn’t, there could be a bad sensor or an issue with the system’s computer. Your mechanic can perform diagnostics to determine the cause of the problem.


ABS Light

If there is a problem with your anti-lock brake system, it will trigger this light. It could be dirt or metal shavings interfering with the sensors or one of the sensors could be failing. This light appearing on your dashboard signifies that your car failed it’s self-diagnosis test and requires a thorough examination by a qualified mechanic.

Brake Light

This light will come on when you engage your emergency brake and will remain on until you release it. If it stays on after you release it, your car’s master cylinder should be checked to make sure it has the proper amount of brake fluid. Once the fluid is filled, the light may go off temporarily. If the master cylinder is leaking, the warning light will come back on as the fluid level drops.

There could also be others problems with the braking system such as lost hydraulic pressure. You should have your local mechanic check your braking system over as soon a possible as a failure in this system could have dangerous consequences.

Temperature Light

If this light illuminates your dashboard, don’t keep driving. It means there is a problem with your cooling system and your car’s engine is overheating. To continue driving would result in serious, possibly irreparable engine damage.

Time to Visit Your Toms River Mechanic

Now that you know what your dashboard warning lights mean and the problems they could be alerting you to, don’t ignore them. Holiday Service Center has been a trusted, family owned Toms River mechanic for over 30 years. For regular preventative maintenance to repairs, we will take care of it all while providing you with exceptional customer service. No matter which light is glowing on your dashboard, our ASE certified technicians have the knowledge, training, and tools to give you the best service possible. Stop by or give us a call.

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