What information can one expect to get from the dashboard of a vehicle?
In fact, the answer is many. The ability of a motorist to be able to understand information embedded in the dashboard panel, will make him a good driver indeed. Now, let us proceed on to explain what those information are.
Information available from the dashboard amongst others are:
1. The presence of a clock.
In most conventional cars, there is usually a normal clock. In some newer models of vehicles, we do sometimes get a digital clock instead.
A good driver to plan infact needs a clock to plan his journey well. Do not forget that planning one’s journey correctly can very well avoid one from getting involved in unforeseen circumstances, such as mishaps and accidents.
I had once had a close buddy, an Encik Ahmad Yusuf, a school teacher, who sold off his new Mazda car when he discovered that the clock to his almost new car was incapable of working properly. So there you are, some drivers do insist on such things as a clock functioning well, in order to be a good driver.
2. The speedometer.
What is the speedometer actually? For those of you who are not too well versed with cars, a speedometer, in reality tells you the speed at which a vehicle is actually going or travelling.
Important item of a vehicle, don’t you agree! When driving a car or riding a motorcycle, one needs to adhere to specific speed limits. Permit me to quote you a few examples.
Schools for instance, have a speed limit of 30km/j. In town areas, one should keep to a limit of 50km/j. When travelling along expressway, to Penang or Singapore for example, do not exceed a speed limit of 110km/j.
Failure to maintain the correct speed limit can cause you to be fined a sum of RM300. Before taking leave on the subject of speedometer, it should be kept in mind that speedometers of yester-years measured speeds according to miles per hour or m.p.h.
These days, most cars use kilometers per hour or km/h. that’s the only difference. Anyway, a driver who is caught speeding, is liable to be punished with a hefty RM 300 fine as I said earlier.
3. The odometer.
This instructor, although has been driving cars for many, many years, since 1970, that is nearly 40 or more years, did in reality not know what an odometer is. I therefore is quite certain that most drivers do not know what this instrument is.
In fact, I come to know the true meaning of it when making researches in preparation for my teaching of the 6 hour theory course a few years ago. What then is an odometer? If I remember correctly, an odometer records the total amount of distance a vehicle has travelled.
Important item, don’t you think so?
When you intend to change your engine oil or lubricating oil, you’ll have to keep track of how long your engine oil has actually been used. Besides this, when you want to purchase a 2nd hand vehicle, the odometer plays a major role in determining your decision to purchase a vehicle.
Knowing how to read and understand the function of an odometer in the dashboard, will go a long way to prevent you from being swindled by unscrupulous salesmen and mechanics, don’t you agree?
4. The charge (CHG) meter.
There is yet another important item appearing on the dashboard which a driver should be reminded of. In most cars, this meter is represented by the alphabets CHG. Infact, it is short form or abbreviation for the word Charge.
Conventional cars normally have a 12 volts battery which needs to be charged for it to provide efficient service. A good driver has to know to decipher or understand how to ensure whether his car battery is being fully charged or otherwise.
Should your battery charging system develop a malfunction, the alphabets, CHG. In red, will appear on your vehicle’s dashboard. Briefly, allow me to explain how the charging system of a vehicle works.
When a car battery is not being charged satisfactorily, either the alternator or the dynamo has developed some problems. In such a situation CHG will then appear on the dashboard, indicating to the driver that there is something wrong with your car’s charging system.
5. The tachometer.
Another item most cars usually possess is the tachometer. What exactly is a tachometer?
A tachometer is a meant to assist mechanics in tuning an engine. An engine in fact has to be able to idle well. With a tachometer, a good mechanic will be able to tune a carburetor perfectly, thereby ensuring that an engine runs smoothly. For a normal vehicle, the r.m.p or ‘revolution per minute needle of a tachometer, should ideally be at 0.9 or 1.0.
6. Engine or lubrication oil warning light.
There is also in the dashboard panel, a red warning light which denotes a vehicle’s engine or lubricating oil is low. This indicates danger to the engine of a vehicle. A motorist should ideally make it a point to immediately top up his engine oil to avoid causing damage to the engine.
7. The brakes warning light.
One other warning light or item in the dashboard is the brakes warning in red. When a vehicle’s brakes are low or worn out, a brakes warning light will appear on the dashboard panel.
On seeing this light illuminate, it informs a driver that there is something wrong with the brakes system. Get a mechanic to check out what is wrong with your vehicle.
When the brakes warning light lights up, it could also mean that there is insufficient brake fluid in the brake reservoir. Top up the fluid there in and your predicament would most likely be solved. For readers information, brake fluid that is normally used in our country, is the DOT 3 variety.
Avoid using the DOT 4 brake fluid here, as they are infact for colder countries or maybe it is preferably used for high performance cars, such as Porche, Lamborighini and Feraris.
8. Other important indicators on the dashboard panel include seat belt, handbrake, doors and fuel warning lights to warn drivers of impending dangers and trouble.
Motorists and drivers are advised to take the trouble to study the warning lights and gadgets on the dashboard and make full of them for your own safety and benefit.
Writing this article has taken me a lot of effort and trouble. Hopefully you’ll be to use it to make yourself a safer and better driver!