A Guide to Reading Your Warning Lights

June 13th, 2024 by

Our vehicles have a unique way of communicating with us. Their engines and other internal components make distinct sounds when something is amiss – cries for help that you learn to recognize over time. However, the warning lights that adorn your dashboard remain your vehicle’s most direct, trustworthy method of communication. 

A flashing light on your dashboard or near your speedometer requires immediate attention. Courtesy of Raceway Nissan of Freehold, here’s a guide to what the most crucial dashboard warning lights are indicating, and the steps you should take when they become active.

Check Engine

Let’s kick off with the notorious Check Engine light – the universal signal that a migraine is imminent. Generally represented by an illuminated engine symbol, this alert is inherently disconcerting, as it could point to a myriad of potential issues. You could be facing a minor issue such as a loose fuel cap or a thornier problem, like compression loss.

If the Check Engine light appears while driving – but your car is still performing normally, making no unusual noises – any immediate danger is unlikely. Continue driving, and once you get home, reach out to our Service Center. We’ll inspect your Nissan, identify the issue, and address it swiftly and professionally.

Battery Alert

The battery alert icon on your dashboard is not to be taken lightly. It’s there to tell you that your vehicle’s battery is either losing charge or completely drained. Many people only notice this symbol when their car fails to start, accompanied by the unnerving whirring and clicking of a powerless engine. However, even if your car starts without a hitch, you should still address the battery light, as it could signal a persistent battery problem. Before a weekend trip to Six Flags in Jackson, ensure your vehicle gets a thorough check-up to detect any issues with the electrical systems or wiring. Rest assured, the certified professionals at Raceway Nissan of Freehold are thoroughly prepared to pinpoint and remedy any issues with your Nissan’s battery.

Oil Change/Oil Pressure Warnings

These dual indicators inform you about the condition of your Kia’s oil. Both are quite straightforward: the oil pressure alert typically signifies the sensor of your oil pressure sender requires a replacement (not an expensive repair), whereas the oil service light simply indicates it’s time for an oil change. Modern engines recommend oil change intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles. If the oil service light coincides with your regular maintenance cycle, bring your Nissan to Raceway and let us carry out a speedy, hassle-free oil change.

Tire Pressure Alert

Maintaining the correct PSI levels in your tires is crucial for optimal fuel economy. If your tires are under-inflated, the inefficient mileage quickly accumulates – notably during lengthy drives. Moreover, driving with under-inflated tires can cause potential tire damage. Inflate your tires to the recommended PSI levels (usually displayed on a sticker located near the foot of the driver’s door). If the warning light persists, Raceway Nissan of Freehold is here to help you procure a perfect new set of tires.

Coolant Temperature

If this light (resembling a red thermometer) flashes on your dashboard, it’s a signal that your car is facing overheating, requiring your immediate attention. Make your safety a priority and pull over at once, giving your engine the chance to cool down. While it does, evaluate your current distance from our Service Center. If you’re within 15 minutes of us – in Englishtown, say, or Marlboro – you can probably make it. But carefully consider whether your vehicle can realistically make it from as far away as Old Bridge 

Once you feel the engine has sufficiently cooled, you may attempt to restart your vehicle. However, drive slowly and keep a vigilant eye on your temperature gauge. If you notice the needle ticking towards the red, or see any traces of steam emanating from under the hood, act swiftly and pull over again. At this point, consider calling a friend for a ride, or your trusted roadside assistance provider to tow your vehicle to Raceway.

Traction Control/Stability Control

This light (denoted by a car silhouette trailing a pair of squiggly lines) signifies an issue with the wheel speed sensor. Consequently, your anti-lock brake system will be temporarily unavailable. The traction control light flashing is sometimes accompanied by a humming sound from your wheel well. Don’t fret when you see the traction control light on your vehicle’s dashboard. Its illumination doesn’t necessarily suggest a problem like other warning lights. In fact, it typically lights up when your car is striving to keep its grip on excessively wet or slippery roads. If it starts flashing, just keep your cool, maintain your grip on the steering wheel, and continue driving until you’ve regained full control. To ensure you come to a proper stop at all times, look into our brake service, which utilizes Nissan Genuine Parts.

Find Your Guiding Light at Raceway Nissan of Freehold

There are numerous warning and indicator lights found across your dashboard. Some that weren’t covered are self-explanatory – the door open and low fuel lights, for instance – while others (airbag warning, lamp out alert) are less common but still necessitate immediate attention. But amidst this bewildering array of lights and symbols, there’s a comforting takeaway to be found: the assurance that your Nissan is equipped to handle any situation.

We similarly stay ready for anything here at Raceway Nissan of Freehold. Schedule your service appointment with us today and let our certified technicians take care of your Nissan. Regardless of what you drive – whether the sleek Altima or the endearingly compact Kicks SUV – we’ll ensure you stay on track throughout the rocking Freehold summer and beyond.

Posted in Service Tips