Ok lets talk about WARNING LIGHTS and Traffic
A Red Traffic light means STOP, right? An
Amber Traffic lights means Caution, Right? (Except to some people
that seem to think that Amber lights means that they are to
stomp on the gas pedal and rush into the intersection.) The
warning lights in the instrument panel of vehicles were made
red and amber for the same reason.
A red warning light means that something is
wrong with the system that light is meant to monitor and you
should STOP THE VEHICLE to determine what is wrong. An amber
warning light also means that there is something wrong in the
system that the light monitors and is a CAUTION to the operator.
The reason that all of the warning lights come on when the ignition
is just turned to the ON position was designed as a SYSTEMS
CHECK, to let the operator know that the lights are working.
(The idea being that a person would see if any of the lights
were not working and get them repaired or replaced. BUT??????)
All the warning lights are explained in the owner's manual of
each specific vehicle but many times, older vehicles have had
these manuals lost or removed. I will give some GENERAL explanations
about these lights.
The red oil, or in some cases a red light
showing a drop shape or other illustration, comes on when the
engine has a loss of OIL PRESSURE. Oil is pumped through vital
areas of the engine by a pump and that pump will generate pressures
as high as 70-80 pounds per square inch. If the oil pressure
drops below what has been determined as a safe level, the red
oil light will be lit up on the dash. This light does not just
mean that you should; (a) Drive on down the road thinking that
there is something wrong with the light. (b) Pull over to pull
out the dipstick just to check the oil level and then continue
down the road because the engine has lots of oil in it, so there
MUST be something wrong with the light.
IF THE VEHICLE IS OPERATED WITH NO OR LOW
OIL PRESSURE, MAJOR DAMAGED WILL BE DONE TO THE ENGINE! And
that is why they make the light RED, meaning DANGER!!! The Red
temperature light is just as dangerous as the oil light. The
red light is turned on when the engine in the vehicle has EXCEEDED
safe operating temperature and again the vehicle should be stopped
IMMEDIATELY or major damage will result. DO NOT ATTEMT TO TAKE
THE CAP OFF OF THE RADIATOR TO CHECK FOR COOLANT. HOT ENGINE
COOLANT WILL GIVE 2ND OR 3RD DEGREE BURNS TO SKIN. But, the
coolant level is on of the first things that should be checked
but you will have to wait for quite awhile for the system to
cool down enough to open the Radiator.
DO NOT JUST LOOK INSIDE THE PLASTIC RESERVOIR
BOTTLE AND ASSUME THAT THERE MUST BE COOLANT IN THE RAD BECAUSE
THE BOTTLE IS NEARLY FULL. The system was designed to push coolant
into the reservoir as it expanded from being heated and there
is a valve in the system that IS SUPPOSED TO allow the coolant
to return to the rad as it cools and shrinks. If the valve is
not working properly, the reservoir bottle can be full but the
rad can be very low.
Again, DO NOT JUST THINK THERE IS SOMETHING
WRONG WITH THE LIGHT.
Continued next week.
"TOOT" Rick "The Wrench" - June 14th,1999
Copyright of Rick The Wrench, 1999