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About Indicators

You probably have seen the array of colourful lights on the car dashboard and wondered what they are doing there. Most of us do not seem to know what they mean either. But these car indicators serve some important purposes.

Indicators are vital to both the safety and health of the car. How come? While some indicators on the car are to let other drivers know whether you are turning or stopping the car, there are also indicators that let you know what’s going on inside the car as well. You should make sure that all of these indicators are working fine and dandy. Also, a faulty turn indicator can get you into trouble with the police. Whenever the indicator lights fail, don’t wait long before fixing them. The money you spend on maintaining the car indicators in proper condition is an investment worth making. This guide will help you learn about the basics of different types of indicators before you make the purchase.

The nitty-gritty of car indicators

Most of the indicators on a car function automatically. Apart from the turn lights, you don’t have to do anything about other indicators. They are wired to turn on when they are supposed to, given that all of them are working properly. Among these are also the dashboard indicators. When you look at the history of indicators, it was 1996 when the car manufacturers decided to standardise the dashboard indicators so that people don’t have to relearn them for every new car that comes out. These indicators make use of standard halogen or LED bulbs that are controlled automatically by the Onboard Diagnostic tools in the vehicle.

Turn lights

Turn lights are one of the most important safety features in a vehicle. They communicate with other drivers to slow down or change the lane because you will be slowing down and either you’re turning into another road or a parking lot. These lights are of amber colour. You can either use an amber coloured bulb with a transparent cover or a standard white bulb with amber coloured cover. Turn lights have to flash when they work. For this reason, LED bulbs are more suitable for this purpose as they can sustain many more on and off cycles than a halogen bulb.

Dashboard indicator lights

We have seen the array of warning lights on our car dashboards. Although one might not know what each of them indicates, it is intuitive that having a warning light go off on the dashboard is a bad signal. Knowing what each of them means might save you from running out of the battery in the middle of your trip or overheating the engine and whatnot. In older cars, small incandescent bulbs, similar to license plate bulbs, are used on the dashboard. There will be one for each warning light on the dashboard.

Engine warning light

This is probably the most dreaded of all the warning lights. The engine is the most important and the most expensive part of a car. Apart from the engine, everything else is a mere convenience, aren’t they? When the engine warning light illuminates, it could be an indication of a minor engine problem like a worn-out engine gasket or a malfunctioning spark plug, or it could be something very serious too. But regardless of that, you know that the car is going to be in the repair shop for at least a few days. So, it is important to ensure that this indicator light is working when you use the car. When the engine starts, all of the dashboard indicators light up for a few seconds. This is to let you know if they are working or not.

Car indicators for coolant

This one lights up if the coolant level in the radiator is lower than it should be. If the coolant or antifreeze level drops below the minimum, it will cause the engine to overheat and, eventually, fail. Because ignoring this warning light can cause a whole bunch of other lights to turn on, you should not ignore a low coolant level warning ever. It is also relatively easy to refill the coolant. But if you always do the scheduled maintenance, you are less likely to see this happen unless there is a leakage in the coolant tank or the radiator fan.

Tips on how to buy Car Indicator Lights

Different types of indicators feature different types of bulbs. They vary mostly in size and colour. So, when you decide to buy a new set of lights to replace the old ones, you have to ensure that you are getting the right kind of lights for each of them. Following these tips when you purchase will help you choose the appropriate lights for every use.

  • Colour of the light – Different indicators use different colours. In the case of the brake lights and turn lights, there are strict guidelines on which colour you should use for each of them whereas, for car dashboard indicators, the manufacturers choose other appropriate colours. You can use either yellow or amber for turn lights.
  • The brightness of the bulbs – The brightness level of the bulbs is more important for the indicators outside the car. If the bulbs are not bright enough, the indicators fail to meet the purpose. Unlike the tail lamps that are meant to be used when it is dark, turn lights should be bright enough to be noticed even in broad daylight.
  • Type of the bulb – There are only two types of bulbs available in the market for the indicators. You can either use a halogen bulb or an LED. LEDs have several advantages over the former but are a bit costlier. Even though you can replace a halogen bulb with LED without much issue, using a halogen bulb in place of an LED will result in reduced brightness.
  • Type of the socket – When you purchase new bulbs to replace the old ones, you have to ensure that the socket and bulb do match. This is not an issue if you are replacing it with the same type of bulb. But if you want to switch halogen bulbs for LEDs, you can either get an LED that is compatible with the sockets, or you can replace the socket itself.

After installing the bulb, you have to make sure that it is working well. You can do this by turning on the car without turning on the engine. When you do that, all of the dashboard lights should come alive. You can check those that do not turn on for fuse or wiring damage using a circuit continuity tester. Finally, don’t forget to check out all the other amazing products from the car supplies category.

Question & Answer

What do car dashboard indicators mean?

There are quite a few warning lights on the dashboard. But apart from the handbrake, the ajar door signs, low fuel indicator and the seatbelt sign, rarely do anything else turn on. And you wish you never see any of the others. Other most important dashboard signs are the engine malfunction warning, low battery alert, coolant temperature warning, oil change reminder, etc. All these warnings indicate that you take your car to a shop immediately. But there are also some less significant warning lights like the low washer fluid lights.

What causes car indicators to flash fast?

This is a common problem when people switch the halogen bulbs from the indicators for LED bulbs. LEDs consume much less power than halogen bulbs. Therefore, you can choose from a wider range of colours with more brightness. And because they are of less power rating, LEDs offer little resistance in the circuit. This affects the flashing time of the indicators. So, the bulbs will flash much faster than before. Even Though that is not an issue in and of itself, this will cause the drivers to panic. You can avoid this by connecting an extra resistance in series while replacing a halogen bulb with an LED bulb.

When to use car turn lights?

Forgetting to use the turn lights or improperly using them on busy roads is a serious safety hazard. Using the turn light is not an act of courtesy either. It is a legal requirement in most places. The turn lights let you communicate your intentions to other drivers on the road. The controls to turn signals are on the steering wheel. All you have to do is to flick the switch in the direction you intend to turn the car. So, if you want to turn left, flick the switch towards your left and vice versa. There is also another mode of working for the turn lights called a hazard light.

Where to buy car indicator lights?

Indicator bulbs are easy to find in any car accessory shop in your neighbourhood. But you can buy car indicators online, and there are many benefits to it. That way, you will be able to find car indicators for sale and might come across some high quality yet cheap car indicators. You can also use a product comparison site to compare them against each other and select the one that is better and more affordable among them. Here on, you can access a wide selection of car lights in the UAE. Explore more than 500 shops offering them on including car light brands like Honda, Lexus, Nissan, BMW, and Wrangler. You can use our shopping search engine to find them all.