We’ve all been there. You’re driving along, ABBA’s greatest hits blaring from your stereo, without a care in the world, and then all the sudden, one of the Vehicle Warning Indicators lights up on your dash.
Now you have a couple of options. You could place a small square electrical tape over the icon. Out of sight, out of mind. But then you’d be ignoring a really great preventative maintenance tool from workings its magic. Instead, why not learn what all they mean?
- Service Engine – This light indicates that a routine maintenance task is due. It could also indicate an urgent issue with your engine.
- Tire Pressure – One or more of your tires are low. Find a safe place to pull over and check the tires.
- Battery – This light means that your battery may be dead or your alternator might be faulty. Take your vehicle to a car parts store. Most will check your battery for free.
- Coolant Temperature Warning – If your coolant temperature is rising, it might mean a faulty thermostat. It likely means a coolant leak, like from a ruptured hose.
- Oil Pressure Warning – Your engine has low oil pressure. This is likely due to the fact that you’ve burnt off a significant amount of oil or there is a leak. Check the oil level immediately.
Brake maintenance is one of the most important aspects of vehicle ownership. Not only will replacing the pads make other brake components—including rotors—last longer, but it also reduces stress on your car. In the long run, regular maintenance can actually increase resale value, especially if documented by a site like CARFAX.
Changing your brakes can be easily performed by any mechanic; however, knowing when to take the vehicle in is vital. According to Cars.com, the life of your brakes varies depending on usage and where you are located. In urban areas, stop and go traffic means a shorter life. In town, 8,000 miles is a rough estimate of when to replace brakes, and in rural areas, you may go up to 25,000 miles. Unfortunately, there is no clear rule of thumb; however, a mechanic can check the thickness of brake pads and for wear or warping.
Many brakes have built-in sensors that scrape against the disc when they need replaced. This sounds like an annoying screeching sound. You should also listen for grinding and other squeaks that indicate your brakes are bad. Also, if your brake pedal pulses when you apply the brakes, it may be a sign that your rotors are warped.
What happens if you don’t replace your brakes? Aside from the obvious dangers that go along with greater stopping distance, taking care of your brakes early can prevent catastrophic damage. For example, letting your pads go too long will ruin rotors. Let rotors go, and shoes and linings can be easily damaged as well.
If you need brake work done on your car, bring it to Gossett VW!