INSTRUMENTS, CONTROLS & DEVICES
The instrument panel is the panel directly in front of you as
you sit in the driver’s seat. The location of the gauges and
warning lights vary from one vehicle to another. No matter where
these gauges and lights are located, their purposes are the same.
You can make sure the warning lights are working if they light when
the ignition switch is turned to On.
Speedometer – This instrument tells you
the speed you are traveling in both miles per hour and kilometers
per hour. Some vehicles have a digital speedometer.
Tachometer – Some vehicles have a tachometer
that indicates the engine revolutions per minute. Engine damage
ay occur if the needle enters the red zone.
Odometer – The odometer indicates the total
number of miles the vehicle has been driven. Most vehicles have
a trip odometer that can be set back to zero when you want to know
the number of miles driven during a certain period of time.
Fuel Gauge – The fuel gauge shows the amount
of fuel in the tank. If you let the fuel tank fall below one-quarter
full, you risk running out of fuel. Try to keep the fuel tank at
half full in cold weather to help prevent fuel line freeze. This
can occur when moisture condenses and freezes inside the tank and
fuel line. Ice particles can then block the flow of fuel.
Temperature light or gauge – This light
or gauge warns you when the coolant in the engine is too low, warning
you that your engine is about to over-heat and break down.
Oil pressure warning light or gauge – This
warning light or gauge warns you when the oil is not circulating
at the proper pressure. However, it does not tell you the amount
of oil in the engine.
Alternator warning light or gauge – Your
vehicle’s electrical system is in trouble if this light comes
on or the gauge shows “discharge” while the engine is
running. The alternator is not generating enough electricity to
run the vehicle. When this happens, the engine must use stored electricity
from the battery. The alternator warning light or gauge warns that
the battery is being drained. The more electricity used, the sooner
the battery will be dead. Turn off as many electrical devices as
possible, and have the system checked without delay.
Brake system warning light – This warning
light serves two purposes. First, the light reminds you to release
the parking brake before moving the vehicle. Second, if the light
comes on while you are pressing the foot brake or while you are
driving, it means that part or all of the braking system is not
working properly. If this occurs, brake gradually to a stop, have
the vehicle towed, and have the problem corrected.
Antilock braking system light – This light tells you if the
antilock braking system (ABS) is functioning properly. ABS keeps
the wheels from locking if the driver brakes hard. If this light
comes on, it indicates a problem with the system.
Safety belt light – This light reminds you
to fasten your safety belt before moving your vehicle. This light
comes on when you turn the key. In some vehicles the light stays
on for a few seconds after the engine is started.
Air bag warning light – This light tells
you if the air bags are in proper working condition. When the ignition
is turned on, the air bag light comes on for a few seconds and then
goes off. If the air bags are not in proper operating condition,
the warning light will stay on.
Turn signal indicators – These indicators
tell you the direction you have signed to turn.
Each indicator is usually a small green arrow that flashes when
you signal for a turn. The arrow stops flashing after you make the
turn or when the turn signal is cancelled.
High beam indicator – The light glows when
the high bean headlights are on. This indicator usually appears
as a small light in some area of the instrument panel.