Monday, February 11, 2008

Is my car going to blow up? That red light on the dash is flashing at me.

Does your typical day have you running to pick up your daughter from school, drop your son off at soccer practice and race home to make a meeting? Half way through your own version of NASCAR racing the red light on the dash starts flashing at you.

In the back of your mind you hear Scotty from Star Trek telling you “Captain, she’s about to blow! You have to shut her down! We’re losing power and we have lost our warp drive!

No-can-do Scotty. You need to make your meeting. So, you floor the gas pedal, as if the whole Klingon fleet was chasing you.

Why is that light flashing at you anyways? This is one of the most frequently asked questions at my auto repair shop.

The average late model car has more warning lights and buzzers than the 1967 version of the Enterprise.
Even Scotty, with all his genius, would have to update his diagnostic equipment and get additional technical training to work on these highly complex vehicles.

The most important light from a mechanical stand point is the oil pressure light. Heed Scotty’s warning. If this light goes on, you have about 15 seconds before you’re calling a tow truck, and then I am telling you that your car needs a new motor. Pull the car over immediately and SHUT IT OFF! (I have seen more then a couple of cars that needed new motors because the driver refused to pull it over on the freeway and tried to get to an exit). Check the oil level and add as necessary until the dipstick shows the proper level.

After the oil level is restored, start the vehicle and the light should go out within 10 seconds. At this point it is safe to drive. The vehicle should still be inspected by a repair shop to determine where the oil went. Did the oil leak out or has it not been serviced in a long…long time?

If the light is still on after adding oil, shut off the motor and have it towed to a repair shop to have diagnosed why your vehicle has no oil pressure.

Next week we will tell you what to do when your Flux Capacitor stops fluxing.

I hope this article helps you. I am Ken Levine the owner of Kens Quality Auto Repair in Thousand Oaks were we specialize in Lexus and Toyota vehicles. If you have any car questions please e-mail me at, visit or call 805-494-4344

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