Blue light on dashboard — what you should know
Understand the hidden risks associated with blue dashboard lights in your car.
One thing you notice right away when you turn on a car is colored lights that glow on the dashboard, giving you information about different parts of the vehicle.
For most cars, lights on the dashboard may also indicate a problem, and the color of the light shows how intensive the issue is. For example, the red color usually means danger and severe component failure.
Amber lights and yellow usually denote a less severe problem or hazard. Green and white lights indicate a feature such as a cruise control or headlights is engaged.
On the other hand, the blue light on the dashboard often indicates that your vehicle is not at the operational driving temperature yet, and it is not a cause for worry. The blue light can also be your high beam headlight indicator. This article will explain why the blue light glows on the dashboard and when it should be a cause of concern.
Can you drive with a blue coolant light on?
The blue coolant light does not affect your car’s movement. However, it would be best to wait for it to disappear before moving the vehicle.
Your coolant light displaying blue means your vehicle is not at the right temperature for operations like movement. Waiting for the car to warm up first, causing the blue light to disappear, is the best action.
In some cases, your engine may freeze, making your car unable to start. For this scenario, the blue display from the coolant icon on your dashboard means that your antifreeze (coolant) is too cold. The low temperature of the coolant can cause your radiator to be too cold, resulting in your car being unable to start.
Suppose your car starts anyway, with the coolant icon displaying blue for too long; first, switch off the vehicle. Then, wait for the engine to get cold before checking your antifreeze levels. The coolant icon looks like a flag floating on water.
It is essential to be patient while waiting for your engine to cool before checking your antifreeze levels. Checking these levels at the wrong time after switching off a car can lead to a shower of scalding hot water on the face.
The blue coolant light (when prolonged) indicates low levels of coolant in the engine. If you do not address the situation, your engine will either overheat or seize up. The long-term consequence is permanent damage to the engine from overheating.
Therefore, if your blue coolant light stays on for too long while driving, it would be best to locate the nearest car repair shop to have an auto mechanic look into the case.
What can cause low levels of coolant?
Coolants are vital because they keep the engine from overheating. When you see a blue light on your dashboard, it indicates that you have low levels of coolant in your engine. There are various symptoms of low coolant, but only a few reasons behind them.
These are two major causes of low levels of coolant in an engine:
Leaks in the coolant system
The gradual dropping of coolant levels can happen due to leaks in the system. Leaks can occur on the hoses, radiator, or radiator cap.
Asides from the blue color on the dashboard serving as a warning sign, you can also tell if your cooling system is leaking through smell. Coolant oil has a sweet odor. Perceiving this sweet odor, plus an increase in the amount of gas you buy, should tell you that you have coolant leaking.
If you experience this, take your car to the auto mechanic for repairs to avoid spending more money on situations aggravated by this one.
Insufficient coolant top-up
Sometimes, low coolant levels are not because of leakage. Most drivers are ignorant about coolant top-ups and tend not to do it until something happens. An insufficient coolant level in your car will steady the blue light on your dashboard.
The time it takes for coolant levels to drop to the point that they are too low for use depends on the car manufacturer and your driving habits. Naturally, if you often drive long distances, you should have regular maintenance checks than the average worker who only takes a few miles to work and back every day. It is best to check your coolant levels twice a year – just before winter and summer.
These two season picks are because you need sufficient coolant to take you through the summer heat, while the winter cold may come off as misleading sometimes. It is easy to assume you do not have enough coolant in the winter because temperatures drop, and the car will need more warming up than usual. Therefore, ensuring you have the right amount of coolant before the winter hits will ensure you do not worry about the blue light on your dashboard.
It helps to have comprehensive maintenance checks at regular intervals if you are too busy to understand the technicalities of your car. Your auto mechanic will notice when you need a refill on time.
What other light can the coolant indicator show?
Asides from blue, the coolant indicator can also glow red. Red color indicators often infer that there is a problem somewhere.
When your coolant indicator gives off a red colored light, your engine is overheating at that point. Overheating can happen for many reasons and should be addressed as soon as possible.
If, when starting your car, the coolant light glows blue and then progresses to red after you have driven for some time, it is a sign that your coolant levels are too low. They are so low that they cannot function properly, leaving the engine to heat up without sufficient coolants to reduce its temperature.
You should stop driving when the coolant indicator turns red and wait for the engine to cool down. The next place your vehicle should be after that is the mechanic’s workshop. Continuous usage of a car that is overheating will induce and increase damage to the engine.
Damages from overheating vary, and repairs can cost more than they should if you do not arrest the situation on time. Overheating can even cost you your entire engine. So, if you see your coolant indicator showing blue and then red lights later, have it checked immediately and save yourself money and stress.
Another blue light you may see on the dashboard
Another blue light you will see on the dashboard is the headlight indicator. Most old cars do not have this feature, but all modern cars have it. It is a safety feature that most drivers are surprisingly not aware of.
Relying on high beam headlights alone is not advisable. They are very bright over long ranges, and using them puts you at risk of blinding other drivers, which can cause a minor accident. You also risk endangering yourself in adverse weather conditions as the high beams can cause a glare.
If the headlight indicator is blue, the high beam headlights are on, while green indicates that the low beam headlights are on. The high beam symbol has five horizontal lines vertically stacked to the left of a shape resembling headlights.
When should I use my headlights?
It would help if you only use your high beam headlights when you are more than twenty feet behind another vehicle, and no heavy rain, fog, or snow is present. In case you aren’t familiar with the low-beam vs high-beam discussion, activating high beams triggers a blue light on the dash.
They are best used at night when the weather is fair, and the roads are clear. In an urban area with many cars around, your high beam headlights may inconvenience other drivers. The low beam headlights will still enable you to see where you are going (though not as far as the high beam headlights would).
Some new models have a technology that moderates your headlights for you. The technology uses your environment and the weather to control the intensity of your beam, taking it high or low when needed. However, it is a relatively new technology, and until most production cars have it installed, it would be best if you are conscious of how you use your headlights.
The blue light on the dashboard is usually nothing to worry about, and you commonly see it on two icons – coolant and high beam indicators. Blue light from the coolant indicator shows that the coolant levels are low due to leaks or extended usage, while blue light from the high beam indicator shows that the high beam headlights are on.
While the blue color of high beam headlights is for your safety in bad weather and the safety of other drivers plying the road parallel to your direction, the blue coolant light concerns the car engine. In cold weather, blue light from the coolant indicator is not something to worry about. A persistent blue coolant light indicates a possible deficiency of coolant in the cooling system.
If a red one follows the blue light, your coolant level is too low, and your engine is overheating. If you experience this, you should take your vehicle to the auto mechanic at once to prevent damage to your engine from overheating.