Estimated Time to Read: 3 minutes

Your vehicle’s  instrument panel is the headquarters office of your automobile.  Each make of car and indeed each years model may well have slightly different instrument panels.  Yet basically all are similar , alike as they must serve the same function and set of functions.  They all have instruments  – dials , gauges , “idiot lights” – that give you , the driver at the wheel of truck ,car or SUV a message.

Most Professional & Experienced Drivers Prefer Dials Over  Car Dashboard “Idiot Lights”:

It can be said that most experienced and professional drivers  “hate idiot lights” and feel that auto makers should go back to “real gauges” to provide more accurate and gradients of information. For example when the red light on the temperature (TEMP ) indicator appears, the engine may well already be overheated and may even be substantially damaged. Yet with a pointer or dial type heat indicator thermometer, the driver would have been given advance warning and could of acted proactively to let the engine cool down and / or checked radiator coolant levels. As a second example , if the oil pressure light (OIL) comes on while your truck or Sports Utility Vehicle is moving , something is definitely wrong.  Perhaps the oil pressure is low, which can cause substantial ( and costly) damage to the motor.

Additional Red Lights & Dials On Your Dash Panel:

Other red lights on the instrument panel indicate that the alternator (GEN) is not producing or generating electricity,  that your emergency brake  (BRAKE) is on and engaged.  A buzzer and a dash light may appear if your seat-belt or seat belts in said vehicle are not fastened or worn.  Lastly many vehicles in 2012 have a weight sensor in the passenger seat.  Drive home a fair sized turkey or even a laptop computer in the passenger’s seat .  With no seat belt drawn the relatively simple electronics in the car will assume that an un-belted passenger is on board and the seat belt buzzer and dash light may both come to light.  Simply “belt up your cargo”.

Check the Residual Amount in Your Gas Tank When it Reads “Empty”:

The fuel gauge (FUEL) obviously tells you the amount of gasoline in your fuel tank.  Some auto gas gauges are accurate , whereas some are neither than close nor exact.  Most gas gauges purposely will indicate “E” ( empty) while you have some residual fuel – usually one gallon.  To be on the “safe side”, have your tank filled completely and fully when your gas gauge reads “empty”.  Compare the amount of fuel ( in gallons or liters) to fill your gas tank completely with the number listed in your vehicle’s owner manual or listed on-line at the automaker’s spec sheet of your automobile.  The difference between the two will tell you how many gallons ( or liters) of gasoline you actually have on-board when your dash gas gauge reads “empty”.

Heed the Messages From Your Dashboard’s Instruments & You Will Be Rewarded As an Autowner:

It can be said that the instruments , warning lights and dials on your dashboard are there to help and assist you with safe and reliable transportation rather than be an annoyance.  Pay attention to the messages and signals that they provide you with.  You will be rewarded with many more miles of reliable and economical transportation and auto ownership.

Paul Sherwood

Sherwood has been a car and truck guy in Edmonton for eons.  He believes strongly in preventative maintenance of all vehicles.  Though Sherwood works at a Mazda dealership, and is factory trained with these Japanese made “import vehicles”, he is proficient with most makes and models of cars & trucks.  Though as he says – Mazdas may be called “import autos”  yet many are assembled or made in Canada or the US.