Dashboard warning lights can tell you if there’s something wrong with your vehicle, often before a problem becomes severe or endangers life.
However, many of us are guilty of ignoring these small symbols, not knowing what they mean or how much it costs to put right. In fact, on average, it takes British drivers over 8 days to address a dashboard warning light and over 77,000 ignore them altogether according to a recent survey of motorists.
Motorists in Glasgow, Southampton, Birmingham, Nottingham and London are the slowest to respond to vehicle warning lights in the UK, all taking over 9 days to act, while drivers in Belfast, Edinburgh, Norwich, Sheffield and Manchester are the quickest – all responding to warning lights within 5 days.
In light of this shocking statistic, Hippo Leasing has analysed national garage data and manufacturer websites for popular low-end, mid-range and premium cars to find out which dashboard warning lights are the most expensive to fix if ignored.
Of all the dashboard warning lights, Hippo Leasing has found the red steering lock is by far the most expensive to fix, costing on average over £1,000 to fix or up to £1,690 in certain models.
You’ll often see this symbol coloured yellow before you start the engine as a preventative measure against theft. However, if the light is red, it may mean steering assistance is no longer available, making it almost impossible to steer safely.
Second on the list of the most expensive dashboard warning lights is the press clutch pedal which, in manual cars, shows until the gear lever is moved. If the light remains on while driving, there’s either a fault in the operating software or your clutch is faulty and will need replacing, landing motorists an average bill of £703 or up to £1,080.
In third place is the catalytic converter warning light which shows your car isn’t breaking down harmful gases coming out of the exhaust. A malfunctioning or contaminated catalytic converter will throw off the oxygen sensor readings and your engine will not run as efficiently. It could even mean you have unburned fuel igniting inside it. This is an expensive piece of equipment, so don’t delay and drive at a reduced speed to the nearest garage.
As a general rule of thumb, an amber warning light means you should seek the advice of a professional mechanic as soon as possible, whereas a red warning light warrants immediate action.
Many lights will appear momentarily when you turn on the ignition and disappear once you move off. However, if the light stays on while you’re driving – such as the press clutch or brake pedal – this could be a sign of a fault which needs checking out.
Tom Preston, Managing Director of Hippo Leasing commented on the findings:
“Dashboard warning lights are there for a reason and drivers should never ignore them.
“Motorists have a legal obligation to ensure their car is kept in a safe condition, so acting promptly when a warning light comes on could help you avoid a fine or points on your licence. Putting off visiting a mechanic could also invalidate your car insurance.
“The cost of fixing an issue may be high for certain faults but in the long run, doing so will save you more than just money.”