View Full Version : What does this red light mean?

Rallye Driver
22nd Nov 2001, 22:44
A friend of mine runs a garage which services Mercedes cars. He recently had one in for an engine rebuild, which was successfully completed and tested – the owner went away happy. :D

About a week later he had a phone call from the owner’s wife saying that one of the warning lights had come on and the car wouldn’t start. Being understandably reluctant to commit himself over the phone or admit that the problem might be down to him, my friend went round to have a look at the car for himself. :confused:

The wife said that she had seen a warning light, looked it up in the owner’s manual and had deduced it was caused by a lack of coolant. She had then undone the oil filler cap and poured four kettles full of water into the engine and replaced the filler cap. :(

On trying to start the engine, there had been a loud bang, then silence! The engine had suffered from the dreaded hydraulic lock – well known to pilots of radial-engined aircraft – and all the pistons, con rods and crankshaft were terminally bent. :eek:

My friend checked the radiator to see why the warning light had come on. It was full of coolant. :rolleyes:

He then asked the wife to point out which light had come on. She showed him. It was the warning light to say that the windscreen washer bottle was empty.

There is no record of what was said when the owner came home ( :mad: ), but my friend senses there may be some more business in it for him. ;)


23rd Nov 2001, 04:06
Well if it had happened in the USA, I think she may well have had a valid claim, did it say in the manual that "in the event of the windscreen washer warning light illuminating, DO NOT POUR WATER INTO THE OIL FILLER"? if not, the American courts may well award punative damages :D

23rd Nov 2001, 12:26
Yup, hafta be worth a few millions at least.
Mercedes, those inconsiderate b'stards .... :)

24th Nov 2001, 16:28
on the topic of lights
i heard that an orange traffic light means speed up coz its gonna turn red.
i do not drive, can anyone verify this for me? :p :D

tony draper
24th Nov 2001, 16:34
How come new cars don't have those, (Running in please pass)signs on them now, like they used to have when Draper was a nipper?.

24th Nov 2001, 17:49
Modern technology, draper - the engines don't need to be "run in" the same way old ones did.

I did, on the other hand, overtake one on the A69 the other day that had a sign saying "Running out - please pass"! :D

24th Nov 2001, 21:51
Many moons ago, my car sported a "Running out, please push" sign! If you were anywhere near Hexham, maybe some poor sod is still driving it :eek:

[ 24 November 2001: Message edited by: sanjosebaz ]

24th Nov 2001, 22:51
I remember being issued a brand new (and new model) Ford LTD when I was doing ... er what I used to do with the government.

This thing was pretty flash with lots more features than the previous model - lots more toys to play with, lots more controls, dials, switches, levers, electronic gizmos and an onboard computer that would do everything but make me a cup of coffee.

It could tell me that a door was not properly shut, that it was 27 degrees outside the car, that it was thirsty and would die in 50Km if I didn't give it a drink. It let me know when I was exceeding the speed limit or sound barrier and could run self-diagnostics on its own systems.

It was equipped with more blinking lights, beeps, squawks and warning devices than a 747 and after two weeks study of the manual I could recognise about half of them.

There was one little symbol though that had me completely fooled. It appeared several days after I took delivery of this vehicle and instead of appearing in a place where one would expect a warning light to be, this one popped up right in the middle of the speedo.

It was so tiny that I couldn't quite tell what it was. It sort of looked like a capital I on a 45 degree angle. After staring at it for a couple of days and finding no explanation for it in the manual, I decided to ignore it and hope it would just go away. All systems were operating normally, the car ran as it should and I just couldn't figure this damn thing out.

Eventually,I borrowed a magnifying glass and examined the thing more closely. It now looked like a picture of a bone - one of those long ones with lumpy rounded ends. For the life of me I couldn't think of any logical reason why Ford would install a warning light shaped like a bone.

Clearly it was time for last resort tactics. I went to see our mechanics and asked what the red bone was for. All conversation stopped as eight highly trained technicians turned and stared at me.

I stared back ... "Well, what's it for???"

"What are you bloody talking about?"

"The symbol like a bone in the middle of the speedo."

They stared at each other, they stared at me, I stared back then we ALL got into the car. I switched on the ignition, up popped the red bone and I pointed to it.

"There, that one."

After the hysterical laughter has died down and the mechanics had regained some measure of self control it was very carefully explained to me that the "bone" was a little spanner and the little spanner was telling me that the car was overdue for its 1,000K check service.

:o :rolleyes: :confused:

Mister Gash
24th Nov 2001, 23:22

25th Nov 2001, 01:33
My sister in law was at college. When she came home for Christmas, her father asked her if she had put anti-freeze in the cooling system of her little Fiat 850. She hadn't so he went to great pains to explain the importance of topping up the system before the winter came, took her along to the garage, bought some anti-freeze and showed her where to put it.

The following year, she proudly rang home to tell her father that she had just remembered to do just what he showed her the previous year.

Unfortunately, she had sold the Fiat, bought a VW Beetle .......and topped up the oil with glycol!

If anyone bought a green VW Beetle in 1974 and wondered why the oil was blue and the engine knocking, now you know! :eek:

25th Nov 2001, 08:07
Had a friend in high school whose father owned a radiator shop. This kid wasn't the brightest bulb in the bunch, so we drove him nuts for a week when we asked him if he could get a radiator cap for a 1960 Corvair.

25th Nov 2001, 16:31
I always remember Spike Milligan's instruction from an Army Vehicle Instructor early in WW2...

"This h'is h'ay three ton truck. H'it runs on h'oil, water h'and pet-e-rol. H'if you put them h'in the wrong 'oles, h'it will cease to function."

25th Nov 2001, 20:32
Hugmonster, I think that about covers it! :D

Mirkin About
26th Nov 2001, 03:37
My car has green light to tell me when it needs more oil . Trouble is when it comes on the car needs a good 6 litres to get back to full on the dipstick which goes from full to refil in 2 litres.
Thanks to Mrs Mirkin for the detailed research into these figures carried out during the period she was without her company car. A vehicle which like Blue Diamond's has a little 'bone ' to tell her it needed work.
Of course despite the fact the light was labelled 'oil' the fact that it was green meant it was good not bad so she didn't tell me for a couple of days that a light was shinning brightly from the dashboard.
Luckily no damage done but a pox on those whoe decided to put a green light in the car for low oil.

26th Nov 2001, 22:31
Get a Land Rover.
If it ain't leaking oil all over your drive, then you know its empty. ;)

27th Nov 2001, 03:36
Its not an oil leal its called a Chassis lubrication systen