Topic: What's on the Dash? - Dash Warning Lights
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Start by turning on your ignition key (but without starting the car). Note all of the warning lights that come on. You may have to do this several times to see them all because some of them will go out after a couple of seconds.

Get the owners manual out and go over each light thoroughly. There will be a list of each light and what it means (lower photo). Learn what the light means and what action to take if it comes on. The displays in front of you give you most of the information you need to immediately determine the health of your car.

Pay particular attention to the brake warning light. Start the engine and it should go out in a few seconds. Then put on the emergency brake. The light should come on again. It is common to set the emergency brake when off the road in rough terrain and it is just as common to start up again WITHOUT taking the emergency brake off.

Get used to looking in the area where the brake warning light is located every time you start up to assure the emergency brake is not on. In four-wheel drive, particularly in low-range, it is easy for the power of the engine and low gearing of the transmission to pull the car along as if the brake were not on at all. You may never notice until you have driven many miles that you have been driving with the emergency brake on! Your SUV's brakes won't like this one bit.
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