Check gages is actually a message from the computerized monitoring system that alerts drivers when one or more gauges in the car aren’t working correctly. This means that any of your car’s important sensors could be malfunctioning, including the oil pressure gauge, transmission temperature gauge and engine temperature gauge. That’s why it’s so important to check out your car as soon as you see a check gages message—the longer you wait, the more likely it is that there will be some damage to your vehicle.
So if you are asking yourself “what do I do when my car says check gages?” then we have three important tips to answer your question.
Check your oil levels.
As a car owner, you can never be too careful. You might be paranoid about the brakes, but at the same time, you might not be concerned with your oil levels. It’s a double-edged sword: on one hand, being conscious of your car is good. On the other hand, sometimes it’s hard to tell when something needs to be fixed. While there are some obvious things like loose wheels and blown head gaskets that require immediate attention, there are also some things like worn-down tires that can wait a little longer until your next oil change. While we’re on the topic of vehicle maintenance, here are a few checklists for those times when you need to know what needs doing before it gets too late…
Check your coolant levels.
- Open the coolant reservoir.
- Check your coolant level against the markings.
If you’re low on coolant, add some more of the appropriate kind.
If you’re overfilled with coolant, check for any leaks (your car may be leaking in one spot but not another). If there are no leaks, drive it to a mechanic for an inspection ASAP.
Check the gas or fuel level.
Your first step should be to check the gas or fuel gauge. You can do this by simply switching on the ignition and looking at the gauge. Assuming it’s not empty, you can go ahead and top off your tank to make sure there isn’t a problem with your vehicle’s fuel pump. A faulty fuel pump would generate a reading for one of the four gauges mentioned above. If you don’t see anything out of place, go ahead and add some gas until the last light goes off.
Check your battery to make sure it’s not dead.
A multimeter is a device that can test the electrical charge in your car’s battery. You can use your battery terminals to test the current using a multimeter by turning it on, then switch to “DC” mode, and connect the red probe of your multimeter to the positive terminal and black probe of your multimeter to the negative terminal. If you receive a reading of less than 10 volts, your battery needs charging or replacing. If you receive a reading between 12 and 13 volts, this indicates that it is functioning properly.
If you determine that there isn’t enough juice in your battery, you may be able to recharge it with an automobile jump starter charger (you may need assistance from another person who owns one). However if this doesn’t work or if you don’t have access to an auto charger for some reason, then you’ll likely need to replace your car’s alternator as well as its battery.
Check that the alternator belt is working properly.
If the issue is with your alternator belt, it’s important to know that the belt is what generates power for the car. It should be tight but not loose, and it shouldn’t be broken. In fact, if the belt is broken, you can’t drive your car at all until it is fixed.
The belt may be loose because its teeth have gotten worn down due to friction between them and the gears on the crank. If this is the case, you’ll need a new alternator belt before you can continue driving your vehicle.
This solution may also work if you have a battery warning light on your dashboard that illuminates when starting up – as long as there’s no problem with your battery or terminal connections.
Check your brake fluid.
When your car says “check level—check brake fluid”, what do you do? Our solution: We had recently replaced our brakes with Wilwood calipers and rotors, which may have contributed to the brake fluid low and leaking. So, we added more from the reservoir (our Wilwood calipers and rotors don’t use DOT 4 fluid). Then we checked the level again. Still low. Again, we added some from the reservoir. Then, as a precautionary measure, we also topped off all of our fluids in the engine.
While doing that maintenance check up on our car’s fluids, we came across an odd note on an otherwise routine maintenance record: “Check for leaks.” It was something about checking for leaks when there were none…or maybe it was about checking for leaks when there was none…either way—it led us down a path of confusion.
Well, turns out that this ‘leak’ thing is more than just head scratching after all. While searching around on forums and in books (there are a lot of them out there), we found some useful information about checking for leaks in cars that actually answers what ‘leak’ means and whether you should be checking them at all based on your vehicle type/year/miles. Here’s a summary of what people say:
Check for overheating, which may be a separate message and could lead to massive engine damage if you don’t see to it immediately.
First, you should check to see if your vehicle is overheating. Don’t let it go unnoticed—overheating can cause massive damage to the engine of your car and is the most common cause of engine failure. If you are experiencing this problem, pull over and turn off your engine right away. Wait for a few minutes before opening the hood to allow the car to cool down, as smoke could come out when you do so. After a few moments, open the hood gently and check for coolant leaks or water pumps that have failed.
You need to figure out what your check gages warning means so you can fix the problem
If you’re the kind of person who’s always been a bit skeptical, if not outright critical, about how much warning your car gives before it needs fixing, this article is for you. The first and most obvious thing to check is the check gages warning light on your dashboard.
This alert system tells you that there is something wrong with the electrical systems in your car. The chances are good that if this light is flashing, it means one of your batteries has prematurely run down its charge or that one of the alternator’s electrical connections has come loose.