3.1 Battery Indicator – When you turn the ignition on you will see an icon/picture of battery getting displayed for a few seconds and goes away. If it does not, then, you have a problem with the battery. Please get the battery checked. You can also check the battery yourself. Nowadays, most of the batteries come with an indicator. If the battery is healthy there will be a light glowing inside the battery (it usually is on the side of the negative terminal where you connect the black wire). If the light is not glowing, you have a dead battery. A good battery is very critical for your car to start. The function of the battery is primarily to start the car and once the engine is running, the alternator takes over.
3.2 Temperature Gauge – Some vehicles come with meters with temperature readings, some vehicles come with just icons/pictures for cold and hot engines. When the gauge shows high temperature or the red light comes on, there is a problem with the cooling system of the vehicle.
Turn off air conditioner if your vehicle is equipped with one (that is additional load on the cooling system of an already struggling vehicle). Immediately park the vehicle on to the side of the road and switch off the vehicle. An abnormally hot engine can blow (not in literal sense) and can be very expensive to repair.
If you can get help from the service center or your known mechanic get them to come and attend to the vehicle. If that is not possible, wait till the engine cools off for a while. Start the car, move at a moderate speed and reach the nearest location where you can park the car or to the garage, preferably.
Things that could go wrong in the cooling system;
a) As simple as there is no coolant in the reservior
b) Radiator fans not working (can be a connection problem or fan gone bad)
c) radiator blocked (dirt and grime has got in)
d) radiator leakage (may have to replace radiator)
e) radiator hose pipes have leak/s
3.3 Engine oil indicator – This normally is an icon resembling an oil can. When you turn the ignition on, this light comes on for a few seconds and goes off. It continues to stay on, please check the engine oil level – normally, it would have gone low, or gone bad or drained out. If it has drained out, don’t use the vehicle, if you do, it is an expensive rebuild of the engine. Without lubrication, your engine will be destroyed.
3.4 Fuel Level Gauge/Meter – This can be analog or digital. It has readings from Empty to Full (E=empty, F=Full). Do not drive the vehicle with very low fuel (that is close to E or less than that). There is usually a reserve of 4-5 litres (check your vehicle’s manual) of fuel even after E indication but then the fuel pump is working hard to pump the fuel into the fuel lines and chances are when the fuel level is very low, the fuel pump can fail. Older vehicles, the fuel pump used to be outside the fuel tank, modern vehicles have the fuel pump inside the fuel tank. If it fails, it is a time consuming and expensive affair to replace a not so expensive fuel pump.
Many vehicles do have an indicator that lights up when the fuel gets into the reserve mode, better fill the fuel at the nearest fuel station and save yourself being stranded in the middle of the road and also the possibility of expensive fuel pump replacement.