One third of drivers risking 'catastrophic engine failure' and could see their engines 'blow up'

A man checking his engine

Drivers could face massive repair costs without carrying out regular checks

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 17/08/2023

- 11:20

Updated: 17/08/2023

- 11:34

Experts are urging drivers to regularly check their vehicles for signs which could lead to a breakdown

One third of drivers would generally ignore a red oil warning light, even though it could lead to catastrophic accidents, potentially affecting millions of motorists.

By ignoring a red warning light on their dashboard, motorists could face garage bills of more than £1,000, according to the AA.

Drivers are now being urged to familiarise themselves with the symbols that can appear on the dashboard to ensure they know how to deal with the problems when they appear.

Only three in 10 motorists admitted that they would stop immediately if the oil pressure light appeared.

A driver checking his engine levels

Motorists should check their engine oil levels regularly


A further 33 per cent said they would have driven to a place of safety before switching off the engine.

Continuing to drive a vehicle with an oil pressure light illuminated could lead to “catastrophic engine failure”, with the AA warning that drivers risk “blowing up their engines”.

If this were to happen, drivers would face a repair bill from the garage potentially worth thousands of pounds.

Tony Rich, former AA patrol of the year, said it was understandable that drivers feel daunted when driving given the amount of lights and buttons on a modern dashboard.

He added: “Learning what the main warnings lights and symbols mean before you actually need to know, can ease the strain if they come on when driving.

“Trying to access information on warning lights if you’re in a rush, or when flustered, can lead to confusion around what the warning means.

“For example, knowing the difference between a light telling you that an oil change is due rather than the engine’s oil pressure being critically low can save you waiting at the roadside for help to arrive, as much as it can save you a costly trip to the garage.”

Mr Rich also stressed the importance of drivers carrying out regular checks on their vehicles and not just at times before long trips.

Key checks include oil and coolant levels, as well as monitoring the tyre pressure to avoid any big accidents on the road.

These can also give people an indication of fault that could be developing and may be exacerbated by the constant wear and tear of driving.

By regularly checking the vehicle, drivers can make a note of issues and get them fixed before the need for a warning light to appear.

The survey found that a quarter of motorists said they would continue to drive with a coolant temperature warning light until they found a safe space to stop, based on the responses of more than 12,500 people.


A person checking a tyre

Motorists should check their tyres before any big trips


The AA has warned that a matter of seconds is the difference between an oil top-up and a badly damaged engine, which could leave them stranded on the roadside.

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