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What do I do if the check engine light comes on?

check-engine-lightThe check engine lights come in orange, yellow or amber, depending on the manufacturer.

More formally known as the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) — it is a signal from the car’s engine computer that something is wrong.

If the check engine light is steady, it can mean many different things, from a loose gas cap to a seriously misfiring engine. This means you should get the car checked as soon as possible. If you choose to ignore this light, you could end up damaging expensive components.

If the check engine light is flashing, it indicates a more serious problem and the driver should park the car and shut off the vehicle immediately and give West End Auto a call at 641-628-9294.

What do I do if the tire pressure warning light comes on?
low-tire-pressureIf a tire’s pressure falls below 25 percent of the pressure specified by the vehicle manufacturer, the tire pressure warning light will illuminate. Some systems will illuminate the tire warning light if the tire pressure is too high also.

If the tire warning light comes on while driving—especially on the highway—then it is best to find a safe place to stop and pull the vehicle off the road. If it is possible to do so in a safe manner, get out and observe the condition of all four tires. If any of the tires show signs of sagging due to improper tire pressure, then call for service—driving an under-inflated tire will destroy the sidewalls and make the tire unsafe. A tire with a damaged sidewall can fail without warning and be catastrophic.

In some systems, the tire warning light will steadily flash whenever there’s a problem within the warning system itself. If this is the case, pull the vehicle to the side of the road in an area where it is safe to walk around and inspect all four tires. If you are sure that all of the tires look like they’re at normal tire pressure, then have the vehicle tire pressure warning system inspected and diagnosed at a qualified repair shop. If you find that one or more of the tires is sagging and looks low, or you are not sure, then call for service.

I have a crack in my windshield; do I need to replace the windshield?

cracked-windshieldWhen faced with replacing a windshield, many car owners default to the lowest-price option. But if you take this route and are in a serious accident, this decision could cost you your life.

An incorrectly installed windshield could pop out in an accident, allowing the roof to cave in and crush the car’s occupants. When the front airbags deploy, they exert a tremendous force on the windshield and will blow out one that is not firmly glued in place.

The windshield is the No. 1 safety restraint in your vehicle. The windshield is two sheets of glass held together by an inner layer of strong vinyl. When the windshield breaks, the vinyl holds the glass in place rather than allowing the shards to fall into the car and cut the occupants.

The windshield is a layer of protection that “keeps you inside the car and debris out of the car. This is not the place to cut corners and go with the lowest-price option.

A loss of structural integrity in a front-end collision – when a windshield is intact, it helps transfer the force of a front-end impact down to the chassis. This lessens the effect felt inside the car and helps protect the passengers. If you car’s windshield is cracked and it shatters during a collision, you and any other occupants are at a greater risk of sustaining injuries.

A greater likelihood of injury during a roll-over accident – An undamaged windshield adds vital structural support that can keep a car’s roof from caving in if the vehicle flips over. A crack in the glass can weaken the windshield, and if it breaks and the roof is crushed, the occupants may be seriously injured.

Ineffective airbag deployment – In many cars, the windshield is an essential ingredient in the proper deployment of the passenger side airbag. When a collision triggers deployment, the windshield is the backstop that makes the airbag inflate toward the passenger. The force of an airbag deployment can shatter a cracked windshield. If that happens, the bag may inflate out through the opening, and the passenger won’t have the protection of the bag or an intact windshield.