Some Not-So-Obvious Dash Lights

December 3rd, 2020 by

When it comes to playing the role of a good automobile owner – one who is always looking to keep their car, truck, or SUV in peak condition – few tools at your disposal are more helpful than the warning indicator lights that eventually appear on the dashboard of nearly every vehicle. These lights can come on for all sorts of reasons – some remind us of things like oil changes and other routine maintenance. Some are as simple as a reminder to refill your window-washer fluid – and others, like a check engine light (CEL) may require a trip to a mechanic shop like Liberty Bay Auto, so our local team of expert technicians can diagnose and resolve the issue. In this article, we’ll show you a few of the not-so-obvious warning lights, and what they mean for your second most important investment.


TPMS Warning Light

TPMS Warning Light

In older cars, our best bet for determining the presence of a low/flat tire was simple – just have a look at it! If it showed that tell-tale bulge (which this warning light takes its design from) then you knew it was time to fill! Giving a firm press of the thumb to the side-wall gave an idea of the air pressure inside as well – but here’s the thing – the human eye can’t “eyeball” the exact pressure in the tire, and your thumb isn’t much better at it either. It’s important that your tires are filled to the recommended pressure, and that they are all filled equally. That’s why a system in your car called the Tire Pressure Monitor System is extremely important to your safety, and even helps with peak gas mileage! When one of your tires is low, a sensor inside your tire sends a radio signal to a receiver connected to your car’s “brain” – this in turn tells the computer to light up the indicator light, letting you know your tire is low, well before your thumb or eye could even hope to.


Brake Fluid Low

Brake Fluid Low Light

Your vehicle’s brake system uses a pressurized fluid to assist with stopping – it’s called brake fluid! It’s pumped from the master cylinder when you press the brake pedal, and is forced along the brake lines to the slave cylinders at the wheels. Of course, in order for this system to function properly, there has to be a precise amount of fluid, free of air, in the brake master cylinder’s reservoir. If you develop a leak in your brake system, this fluid level will drop, air-bubbles can develop, and you may see the “Brake Fluid Low” indicator come on. It is important to address this warning light immediately, for your safety and the safety of others on the road. Simply topping off the brake fluid may get you by for a short time, but getting your vehicle’s brake system back up to snuff with a full brake service is important. Our expertly trained technicians are certified and equipped to handle any brake service and repair on any make or model of vehicle, be it a Mercedes Benz, Infiniti, Ford, Toyota, or any other! One stop to Liberty Bay Auto’s Service & Repair team will have your issue resolved in no time!


Catalytic Converter (CAT)

Catalytic Converter (CAT)

When you think of your car’s exhaust system in its most basic form you might picture a metal tube coming from the engine, coming out of the back of the car. But that exhaust pipe isn’t normally just a straight tube. Most people are familiar with the large canister at the back of this pipe, that’s the muffler – which helps to baffle sound coming from the engine, but there’s another device in this pipe, about halfway down typically, that serves another purpose. The Catalytic Converter (or CAT for short) pulls toxic particulates from the exhaust of your car, and helps reduce emissions into the air. Vehicles manufactured after 1975 are required to have a CAT built into their exhaust system. The average lifespan of a Catalytic Converter is between 70,000 to 100,000 miles. When the CAT becomes too clogged by soot and other exhaust particulates, it can negatively impact the fuel economy and available power of your vehicle. When the Catalytic Converter light comes on, it’s likely time to replace this part.


Dirty Air Filter

Dirty Air Filter Indicator

At the opposite end of your engine, a large volume of air is sucked into your engine’s intake, which it will mix with fuel vapor to produce the combustion needed for propulsion. But if the air coming into your engine is dirty – filled with particles from the air, road, and environment – then those contaminants would certainly make their way into your engine’s inner components. This is where the engine air filter comes in. Depending on where you drive and how much you drive, manufacturers such as Toyota, Ford, Honda, and Chevy recommend having this filter changed routinely, about every 15,000 miles. This is a task that Liberty Bay can take care of easily as part of your next oil change! We can also change out the cabin air filter, which ensures the air your breathing inside your car is as clean as possible!


High Temperature Warning

Temperature High Warning

For your vehicle to function properly and live a long life, it is important that the engine stays within an optimal operating temperature range. If this indicator has come up on your dash, it means your vehicle is outside of that range, and potentially about to overheat. It is important to address a cooling system issue quickly, even if your vehicle isn’t immediately overheating. This can be caused by a number of things; including a cooling system leak, faulty radiator fan, broken water pump, or clogged coolant hose. Operating at too-high temperatures on a regular basis will cause severe engine damage, including warping things like the cylinder head and even potentially cracking the engine block. Our technicians are ASE certified and have the tools and knowledge to resolve any cooling issues your vehicle may have.