Your Honda has a series of lights on the dashboard to warn you of problems you need to address before they turn into catastrophic failure. Here are the five warning lights you should handle right away if they illuminate your dash.
When your engine detects a significant loss of oil pressure, it will warn you thorough a low oil pressure light or picture of an oil can. It's tell you that the pressure is too low for the engine to operate. You need to find a safe place to pull over and turn you Honda off -- immediately!
First, check the dipstick for your oil level -- this can cause low oil pressure, but that's usually not the problem. Best case scenario is that your oil is low, you can add more, and be on your way. However, most of the time, there's an issue with a clogged or bad oil pump.
Should you see this light come on, pull over, stop and turn off the car immediately. If you do not, you run the risk of doing extensive damage to your engine involving the pistons, head gasket or cylinder heads. When the engine is cool -- and this is going to take quite a while, open the hood and look at the hoses that are connected to the radiator and the heater for leaks. Check the coolant level in the reservoir when it's safe. Never open a radiator cap on a hot engine or risk scalding yourself. The steam alone can scald can seriously injure you -- never open the cap unless you're completely sure that the engine is cooled.
Common causes of overheating include:
- Low coolant levels
- Stuck/faulty thermostat
- Bad water pump
- Broken cooling fan
- Warn or broken serpentine belt
- Clogged radiator
A lit battery light, GEN or ALT light can indicate that there is a problem with the voltage in your vehicle. You will only have about 20 minutes or less left of driving time before the system goes down, so get to a place where you can work on your vehicle. If you have your lights on, you have even less time. This warning light can be a sign that the serpentine belt is slipping, an alternator is bad, there is a charging control problem or a bad battery cable.
Open the hood and look to see if the belt is turning the alternator. If the problem is not immediately noticeable, you may need to get additional help.
A brake light is an indicator of low brake fluid or a hydraulic power loss in the brake system. It can also mean that the parking brake is still on. Check the brakes to ensure that they are working, and if they are, then find a place to pull over where you can check the fluid levels in the master cylinder. If the level is low, you may have a leak in the master cylinder, calipers, lines, hoses or the wheel cylinders. A soft brake pedal means you may be able to pump it up to get it to stop, but you need to stop the car as it is unsafe to drive.
This warning light comes on if your tire pressure has dropped 25% or more, which can be due to a leak, puncture, valve stem or a failing TPMS sensor. You run the risk of a tire blowout if you try to continue to drive on it if it is leaking. Also, you will have reduced stopping power, uneven traction and bad fuel economy. Take your vehicle to the nearest gas station equipped with an air pump. Use a gauge to check the tire pressure and fill accordingly. Your owner’s manual or tire paperwork will have the proper inflation noted. Normal passenger car pressure is between 32 and 34 PSI.
Make sure you check your tires when they are once a month when they are cold and keep them properly inflated.
Ignoring a warning light is never a good idea! They give you an early warning of problem, that you can fix, most of the time. When you do determine the issue, use only genuine Honda parts to repair the issue to prevent premature wear or failure of parts related to these systems.