If you’re a motorist looking for a superior auto repair shop in Northeast Columbia, SC, check out the Brown Motor Works blog! Brown Motor Works is the go-to auto repair shop for the Northeast Columbia region, as well as the surrounding communities of Pontiac, Elgin, Blythewood, Forest Acres, Fort Jackson, and Camden. Our blog features informative articles about auto repair and maintenance as well as handy tips to get the best possible mileage and performance out of your vehicle. Check it out today!

How To Decode and Respond to Dashboard Warning Lights

Hey, fellow Columbia, SC drivers! 

Have you ever been cruising down one of your favorite streets, windows down, jamming to some classic sound, when suddenly your dashboard lights up like a disco ball on overdrive?

Don't worry—you haven't triggered a UFO landing. Those flashing lights are your car's way of communicating, and we're here to translate it at Brown Motor Works!

Think of your dashboard warning lights as your car's personal health report. Let's examine the most common warning lights and decipher their cryptic messages.

1. Check Engine Light

This one's the granddaddy of them all. While it can sometimes indicate a severe issue, it could also be a minor glitch. It could mean anything from a loose gas cap to a more serious engine issue. When this light comes on, it's best to diagnose your vehicle by a professional technician like Brown MotorWorks to pinpoint the exact cause. 

2. Oil Pressure Light

This red hottie means your engine needs lubrication. Pull over safely as soon as possible and shut off your engine! Running your car without oil is like asking your dog to run a marathon without water—not cool. Top up your oil if it is safe, but head straight to Brown Motor Works for a complete diagnosis. We'll check your oil pressure system and ensure your engine isn't on the verge of a meltdown.

3. Temperature Gauge

This one's pretty straightforward. If the needle creeps toward the red zone, your engine is overheating. Pull over, turn off the engine, and let it cool down before attempting to restart. This could be a sign of a coolant leak, a faulty thermostat, or a clogged radiator.

4. Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) Light

This light popping on means your ABS, which helps prevent wheel lockup during hard braking, might not be functioning properly. While you still have regular brakes, stopping distances may be increased. Schedule an appointment with Brown Motor Works to have your ABS checked – safety first, friends! 

5. Traction Control Light (TCS)

This light indicates that your TCS (sometimes called Electronic Stability Control—ESC), which helps maintain traction in slippery conditions, might be disabled or malfunctioning. Proceed with caution, especially in rain or snow, and have your TCS system checked at Brown Motor Works for peace of mind.

6. Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

This one's pretty self-explanatory. If a tire is underinflated, this light will illuminate. Don't be a hero—pull over safely and check your tire pressure. If you don't have a tire gauge, most gas stations offer air pumps (and sometimes even friendly attendants who can help!). If the light stays on after inflating the tire, it could indicate a sensor issue. Brown Motor Works can diagnose and fix any TPMS problems so you can drive with confidence.

Key Takeaways

This list is not exhaustive, and every car has a unique set of warning lights. For specific information about your vehicle, consult your owner's manual. 

And when these lights start flashing, don't panic! Most importantly, stay calm and assess the situation. If the light is red and accompanied by strange noises or vibrations, pull over safely as soon as possible and shut off your engine. If it's a yellow light and you don't notice immediate performance issues, you can cautiously drive to Brown Motor Works for a diagnosis.

We are located at 520 Clemson Rd., Columbia, SC 29229. For added convenience, you can also schedule an appointment online. Please stay connected with us on Facebook for the latest news and updates.


Brown Motor Works is committed to ensuring effective communication and digital accessibility to all users. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone, and apply the relevant accessibility standards to achieve these goals. We welcome your feedback. Please call Brown Motor Works (803) 788-7028 if you have any issues in accessing any area of our website.