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Warning Lights - Fault Diagnosis and Repair

Nearly all the modern cars today have a massive bank of warning lights on the dash when you switch your ignition on and start your car. As the engine begins to pick up after a few seconds the warning lights will have cleared. Modern technology and on-board computers have enabled car manufacturers to connect almost every part of the modern car to some kind of warning lights. This is for increased fuel efficiency and to enhance the cars safety. The car dash looks more like an aeroplanes cockpit these days, but thankfully we have clever mechanics with computer soft-wear that can diagnose what these problems are should they arise. We at Pellon Auto-centre use a car diagnostic computer made by SUN Systems and find it is a great machine for sorting out warning light problems and re-setting the warning lights, or telling us what the underlying problem may be.

Brake warning lights

The brake warning lights symbol looks the same in most car models , but yours could be slightly different. Its purpose is to tell you that something is wrong with the braking system somewhere on the car. If this light comes on, check your owner’s manual to find out its meaning, as I say some cars have a different meaning. It could be used for many purposes. For example, the same light may be used to show that the hand brake is left on. If that’s the case and you’re still driving, you would notice the smell of burning brake pads. The light can also indicate that the fluid in your brake master cylinder is getting low. Each manufacturer has a different use and standard for this light. In all cases if the light remains on you should take the car at once to your local auto-centre and have the brakes checked out. For further information click the link bellow.

ABS warning lights

Not all cars have ABS braking systems but they are becoming more common as the new cars are starting to come out. If you car has an ABS braking system, you will have a second type of brake warning light. If you see this light on you should seek immediate help from your garage or Auto-centre. This light is controlled by a computer and means that the computer has picked up a problem with the braking system. It could just be a simple thing such as dirty contacts on your brake components and sensors, or it could be that your ABS unit needs replacing, either way if this light comes on please take notice and have your car checked out as soon as possible. The may stay on, flash or blink but whatever it does seek attention, you may end up with no brakes at all.

 This week we had a phone call from a distressed customer who just thought that his car had just stopped on his way back from Manchester. When the car was towed in we found that the timing belt had broke. After inspection by our Andy Mawdsley he discovered that the timing belt breaking had caused further damage to the engine. The valves were all bent and the cylinder head needed skimming, at a specialist engine company. We also have to supply all new gaskets (we only use Unipart gaskets) and complete timing belt kit and the whole job can be quit expensive. The moral of this story is that you must change your timing belt when recommended by your service centre. Also when you buy a car with no service history you should get the timing belt changed to be on the safe side, then you are not facing a much larger bill in the future.

For further information on timing belts see How Stuff Works.