Recognizing a problem with one of your vehicle’s components is not always an immediate process. Automotive diagnostics is a skillset that our advanced technicians have learned based on countless hours of schooling, extensive tool sets, and experience. Oftentimes, modern vehicles are equipped with a system of alert indicators that inform us when something is amiss. This can serve as a starting point for a well-trained mechanic to identify the root cause of the issue. Regardless of what vehicle make or model you own, these dashboard indicators use a mostly universal design.
Your vehicle’s onboard computer system is highly advanced to consistently check, and recheck for optimal performance, and to illuminate a light when something is wrong. While a battery light, check engine light, or ABS light may tell us part of the story, it takes a trained technician to find the actual problem
We at Sound Auto Care in SeaTac, WA, can provide that expert assistance. Our automotive specialists are equipped with advanced auto diagnostics tools to diagnose and repair your vehicle both swiftly and cost-effectively.
Auto Diagnostics: Professional Scan Tools
You may have heard that when diagnosing a car, truck, or SUV, that a technician simply plugs the vehicle into a scan tool and finds the problem. This is only part of the scenario however. Auto mechanics are equipped with scan tools that plug into the OBD2 port of your vehicle, scan the engine, and deliver the technician a set of diagnostic codes when present. These codes, like your dashboard warning lights often serve as a starting point to begin the search for the actual issue. For example, a technician may receive an alpha numeric code stating there is a problem with a specific electrical component on your vehicle. It’s then up to the technician to test the wiring, the component, and other associated parts to identify the actual problem. In short, while professional diagnostic scan tools make a technicians job much more efficient, they still need the expertise that only a human can possess to solve the actual issue.
Understanding Your Dashboard Warning Lights
While specific dashboard icons may vary depending on your vehicle's make and model, a common set of warning lights is present in most vehicles. Here is a simple guide to understanding some of the most important indicator lights on your dashboard:
Check Engine Light
Your Check Engine Light serves as a dashboard alert that illuminates when elements of your vehicle aren't functioning properly. Typically depicted as a yellow, orange, or red engine symbol, it's crucial to take note if the light stays steady or flickers intermittently. Please read more about our Check Engine Light Services here.
The battery light, also known as the battery warning light, usually signifies a malfunction in your vehicle's charging system. The origins of such an issue can be diverse and multifaceted. The issue could potentially lie within the battery itself, or with the battery cable, alternator, or accessory belt.
Moreover, there may be other electrical issues lurking within the system. These could range from blown fuses to short circuits or issues with the voltage regulator. All of these can negatively impact the smooth operation of your vehicle's charging system. Whenever your battery warning light turns on, it warrants immediate attention and a professional diagnosis to prevent further complications.
Course of Action: Reach out to Sound Auto Care at 206-246-3888 and schedule an appointment to bring your vehicle in for diagnosis. Sound Auto Care will determine what electrical issue your car, truck, or SUV is having, present you with a solution, and get you on your way..
Engine Temperature Warning Light
Usually symbolized by a red thermometer or similar icon, a flashing engine temperature warning light can indicate a serious issue—an overheating engine.
Course of Action: Should this warning appear while you’re driving, it is strongly advised to pull over as soon as possible. If you drive your vehicle with an overheating engine, it could cause major, irreversible damage. Regardless of your situation, the best course of action is to reach out to Sound Auto Care or emergency roadside assistance services.
Oil Pressure Warning Light
When this light illuminates, it indicates that the oil is not flowing adequately through your vehicle's engine. Typical reasons for reduced oil pressure can range from decreased oil levels to worn-out oil pumps or other degraded internal parts.
Course of Action: As soon as it is safe to do so, pull over to a safe location and turn off your vehicle. If your oil level is too low, topping it up may turn off the warning light. However, if your oil level is within the normal range and the engine seems to be operating normally, there are a host of issues that could be causing it, warranting a visit to Sound Auto Care . Regardless of the situation, it is vital to have your vehicle inspected by a professional as soon as possible to identify and rectify any potential problems.
Tire Pressure Warning Light
This indicator signals the presence of an underinflated or overinflated tire. Many modern vehicles have the capability to identify which specific tire is improperly inflated, thanks to the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Oftentimes temperature changes due to seasons changing can cause these lights to be illuminated
Course of Action: In such a scenario, we strongly recommend checking the air pressure in your tires, and possibly adding any needed air at a local air pupmt. However, if an inspection confirms that your tires are correctly inflated, it is likely that a faulty sensor is the culprit and may require more complex repairs or replacements. Either way, our team at Sound Auto Care is happy to help.
Traction Control Light
The primary function of your vehicle's traction control system is to minimize skidding or wheel slippage, especially when traversing rainy, snowy, or other harsh weather conditions. When your traction control light turns on, it indicates that the system is in operation and is working to prevent your vehicle from losing control. The traction control light may look like a car on a curvy road, or initials of the system (TC, or TCS), or a warning triangle around either of the previous lights
Several factors can trigger your traction control light, such as the system actively detecting wheel slippage. This often occurs when rapid acceleration is attempted on a slippery surface. Alternatively, the light may signify a malfunction within the system itself, impeding its ability to prevent traction loss.
Course of Action: If you notice your traction control light turning on, it is recommended to slow down and avoid sudden acceleration or sharp turns. If the light stays on, call us at 206-246-3888 for a system inspection.
Washer Fluid Indicator Light
Your windshield washer fluid indicator light turns on to remind you that the windshield washer fluid level is low and should be topped off as soon as possible.
Course of Action: In most cases, refilling your windshield washer fluid should help resolve the problem. However, if the light persists staying on, or if you suspect something else is wrong, your local auto service center, such as Sound Auto Care in SeaTac, would be more than happy to assist you.
Car Diagnostics in SeaTac, WA: Driving Excellence for Every Vehicle
Selecting the right auto shop is key to ensuring the optimal performance of your vehicle. Since 1998, Sound Auto Care has been the preferred choice for cutting-edge auto diagnostics,, and all-encompassing automotive services. With a blend of extensive experience, unmatched expertise, and a steadfast reputation as the leading and most dependable auto shop in SeaTac, our team is unwaveringly devoted to delivering top-notch services.
Our commitment to automotive excellence includes the safety and reliability of your vehicle. At Sound Auto Care, you can expect precise diagnostics, streamlined repairs, and timely solutions that will get your vehicle back on the road swiftly, efficiently, and affordably. Your satisfaction and trust drive us, and we're here whenever you need us.