Drivers have racked their brains over what the various warning lights on their car’s dashboard mean.
And some drivers were shocked to learn the meaning of the red symbol which looks like two wavy lines with a thermometer sticking out.
Many drivers wouldn’t know if their car is overheating until it’s too late, potentially ending up stranded in the middle of nowhere and costing thousands of dollars in repairs.
Some cars have an illuminated dashboard symbol that will warn the driver if the car is overheating – the engine coolant warning light.
But some who have seen it light up have been confused as to what this strange symbol means.
Drivers were shocked to learn the meaning of the red dashboard light that looks like two wavy lines with a thermometer sticking out – it means your car is overheating
If your engine gets too hot it can cause costly damage to your car or even damage the engine beyond repair (stock photo)
‘What does the symbol that looks like a thermometer/tree in water in a car mean?’ asked one user on Twitter.
And another user, unfazed by their car’s warning, wrote: ‘I will continue to ignore the curvy lines that light up on my dashboard. I no longer need unexpected bills this month.
But another worried driver urged them to have it checked, replying: ‘A wavy line under a thermometer symbol, you need to check your coolant ASAP.’
The engine coolant warning light is the least recognized dashboard symbol among UK motorists, with 80% unable to identify it correctly, according to a survey by ATS Euromaster.
But the warning light tells drivers that the engine is overheating, so if you see the light come on while driving, you should stop your car as soon as it is safe to do so and turn off the engine.
You should then open the hood of the car – from the cab if possible – and leave your car turned off for at least half an hour to cool down, according to the RAC.
Halfords experts say that if your engine gets too hot it can cause costly damage to your car. You could even damage the engine beyond repair.
The warning light also usually indicates that engine coolant levels are low, so a refill is likely to be a top priority.
You should never remove the radiator cap or expansion tank cap from an overheated engine as it is pressurized and could cause severe burns from steam.
Cars use engine coolant, commonly called antifreeze because it does not freeze at low temperatures, to dissipate the heat created by the combustion of fuel in the engine and the friction of the car’s moving parts.
Vehicles usually have a coolant reservoir with marks for minimum and maximum fill levels – when the engine is cold, the level should be between the two marks.
Once the engine has cooled down, you should check the coolant levels. If it is too low, top up with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water (or pre-mixed antifreeze) by pouring it into the tank.
In a pinch, you can use clean tap water, but never cold water, if you don’t have antifreeze on hand – but it should be added as soon as possible.
Many drivers wouldn’t know if their car is overheating until it’s too late, risking being stranded in the middle of nowhere – and saving thousands of dollars on potential repairs (stock photo)
The engine coolant warning light is the least recognized dashboard symbol among UK motorists, with 80% unable to identify it correctly.
Overfilling the antifreeze tank can damage the entire cooling system.
If refilling the coolant won’t keep your car running, or it’s full, you’ll need to call recovery services to pick you and your car up, and the problem may be more serious.
The effectiveness of antifreeze fades over time as it degrades, so your engine won’t be able to stay as cool as it effectively did. If left like that, it can cause problems that cost a lot more than a bottle of coolant.
Antifreeze should be replaced every three to five years – depending on how often your car is used, how old it is, and the temperature of where you drive.
If your car is constantly overheating despite changing your antifreeze again, it’s possible that your car’s cooling system has a leak, so you should have this checked by a mechanic.
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