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We’ve all experienced that moment of panic when a car dashboard light signals a problem. But the most important thing to remember is not to panic. If the car is in real mechanical failure, turn on your hazards and safely pull over as soon as possible. If not, stay on the road until you can reach a safe place to pull into, like a gas station, a mechanic’s garage or parking lot.
It’s pretty common to fear that a warning light equals an expensive fix and some people chose to ignore it for a while, but that can sometimes turn a small issue into a major problem. Getting stranded on the side of the road could be far worse, so it’s best not to take the risk and get an estimate and advice from your mechanic. Plus, sometimes the warning light is just a little heads up that some fluids may be low. Newer cars usually give specific information, like “coolant low” “rear break light out” and such, but if it’s a general engine light it’s best to take it to your mechanic as soon as possible.
While it’s getting looked over is also be a good time to get a little checkup so that you don’t just end up back there again in a few weeks. Let them run a diagnostic, which will pick up any other anomalies, and they will often check your fluids, filters, and tire pressure for free if you ask.
We all depend on our cars so we have to take good care of them. A warning light is just that, so don’t ignore it, for your safety and your piece of mind.