Red means stop! Why you shouldn’t ignore car warning lights

Wednesday 24 October, 2012

Award-winning VAG service centre RAC London explains why it’s so important not to ignore warning lights inside your car.

When you get to traffic lights and the light is red, you usually stop, right? Except perhaps in a major emergency, say if someone is giving birth in your car and it’s the middle of the night and the road is quiet. (Okay so you should still stop, but these things do happen.)

If the light is amber (a.k.a. orange) you might take your chances and nip through before it turns to red.

And we all know green means GO!

Well, you should think about the warning lights in your car in the same way. Okay, there’s no green on the dashboard but let’s just assume no light = green and you can drive on.

But if an amber warning light appears, it’s a sign all is not well.  You might not need to screech to a halt immediately, but don’t ignore it. Check the car’s manual or phone your garage for advice.  They’ll probably advise you to bring the car in to be checked using a diagnosis machine to identify any problems.

Here at Russell Automotive Centre we use the same diagnostic equipment as the main VAG dealers do. If you also hear unusual mechanical noises or spot any strange symptoms, try to get to your garage as soon as you can.

And red DOES mean stop! Just like you do at a red traffic light! Don’t keep driving! (I hope these exclamation marks are getting the point across!) You need to pull over as soon as possible to keep yourself and other road users safe.

Put on the hazard warning lights and call your recovery service (i.e. RAC, AA). If you’re not a member, you can even join up on the spot over the phone.  Otherwise try calling your garage to arrange for the car to be collected.

If you’re near your destination, it’s tempting to chance it and keep driving, but that’s really NOT a good idea. A red warning light is serious – it means an element of the engine needs repair.  So continuing to drive is foolish. You could destroy the engine and possibly even write off the value of the car.

Pay attention to what your car is telling you. Who wants to end up stranded in the middle of nowhere with a smoking bonnet and not a loo in sight?


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