What Does A Car With A Spanner Mean On Your Dashboard?

For something so consequential, the dashboard of a car gets little credit. It holds some of the most important metrics and alert systems of any automobile, basically acting as a default control panel. The speedometer tells the speed, the fuel gauge tells you when you have a full tank or whether you are running on fumes, and the odometer measures your mileage.

While those mentioned above have been basic dashboards features since the advent of cars, many more features have been added as automobile technology gets more and more innovative. In this article, we will be exploring one of such features: the little car symbol with a spanner through it.

Here Is What a Car With a Wrench Warning Light Indicates

While metrics like distance, speed, and time are valuable and indispensable to any driver, others are just as important to the well-being of both driver and car. The car spanner light is one of these.

car service light

It is indicative of a condition in which the car is required to be serviced, i.e., this light comes on when the vehicle is due for a maintenance service, not necessarily when engine failure or something similarly cataclysmic is probable. It is simply a warning light that keeps drivers aware of when their vehicles go past optimal utility. It comes on when error codes are in the ECU (Electronic Control Unit).

How Long Can You Drive With the Service Light ON?

It has been said that a service light is more like a guide than a warning alert. In most cars, one would notice that the service light is yellow or orange, as opposed to green (which means a particular function is in use) or red (an indication of a more urgent factor to look at).

This means that you can drive for quite a while after it has come on. You can turn it off through reset, but it is ideal to take your car for servicing as soon as possible to reduce the risk of maintenance problems arising in the near future.

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What Can Cause the Service Light to Come ON?

The service light indicates that it is time to take the car for servicing. Every mechanical contraption needs servicing every once in a while to maintain efficiency and optimize utility. Cars are no different. When a vehicle is new, all parts are more or less in prime condition.

As time goes on, however, parts of the vehicle start to deteriorate. For car owners, it can be hard to know when exactly the car needs servicing; servicing a lot of times within a short time frame wastes money, while going on for too long without servicing can be bad. That’s why the service light is there.

The manufacturers of most cars program the light to come on after the vehicle has traveled a reasonable mileage or time frame through which the car is expected to have undergone wear of expected sort.

The service light pertains to faults or conditions in the chassis network, places like the brake hydraulic, the traction control, the suspension, and the ABS (anti-lock brake system). It can also indicate the need for an oil or filter change.

Is It Safe to Drive With the Maintenance Light ON?

Your maintenance light is a failsafe that helps you understand when to work on your car. It is programmed that way by the manufacturers so that drivers do not wear down their cars till it breaks down finally.

From both the manufacturers and the car itself, this is a tacit demand that the car is taken for servicing immediately after the light is seen. There have been reports of some people that ignored the lights and eventually had no engine issues. However, this is not ideal, and it’s far from being the safest option. Ignoring the warning light could increase your vehicle’s predisposition to failures, spoilage, and wear and tear.

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Is There a Difference Between a Service Light And a Service Engine Light?

Yes, there is a difference. Although they were both used interchangeably before 1996, they are now different. The service light comes in the form of a car and a spanner, while the service engine light takes the form of the shape of an engine. The service engine light is also known as the check engine light or malfunction indicator lamp.

They also differ in functionality. Both the service engine light and service light come on when the car is ignited but go off after a while when there are no problems. Both remain on when the issues they serve as indicators are on hand.

What Does the Service Engine Light Mean?

The service engine light remains lit when a car’s diagnostic systems root out a specific engine malfunction that requires further examination. Problems that cause the service engine light to come on can be as small as a loose gas cap that makes fuel evaporate or something serious like oil pressure problems, knock to the engine, and overheating.

It is important to know that when the problem is severe, the light blinks instead of just staying on. The service engine light tells the driver to check the engine for malfunctions.

What Should You Do When the Service Light Comes ON?

Most people prioritize getting the light to stay off when it comes on. This is not advisable. It lulls one into a false sense of calm, the opposite of what the service engine light indicates. In that scenario, the best thing to do is to take the car for proper servicing, which includes oil and filter changes, tire rotations, etc.

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It is important to know all the warning symbols that come with your dashboard so that you can at least be familiar with them when the time comes to act on them appropriately.

Honoring the calls of the service engine light could be the difference between having a vehicle that runs efficiently for a long time and having one whose longevity is cut short because of under-servicing. Remember to take your car out for servicing as soon as possible after seeing the service light come on.