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"check gages" light in towing truck came on; can I haul my horse home safely?

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  • "check gages" light in towing truck came on; can I haul my horse home safely?

    This is kind of time sensitive:

    I have my horse at the vet today for a recheck appointment. While pulling up to the hospital, my "check gages" light came on in my 2000 Dodge Ram 2500 diesel truck. It's not flashing.

    Can I drive my horse home safely today after his appointment??

    I don't have the owner's manual (bought it used and it's too old of a truck to find one online) so I don't know what this light means. Obviously I have a clue, and I suspect it's my battery gage, as it is down to "8" (extreme far left of gage). My gas gage hasn't been accurate for years, it's on the list of things to fix when I get the cash.

    It's ~45 minutes (maybe 20 miles), almost completely side streets at 45mph.

    I'm super nervous as the last time I hauled my horse home, my brake line rusted open and we slammed into the front gate at the barn (thankfully that was all!! but still super scary nonetheless!!). So my brakes have very recently (within the last month) been completely redone.

  • #2
    Find a mechanic or an AutoZone and have them scan the truck for you. That will tell you exactly what's wrong, and how safe it is to drive.

    Comment


    • #3
      Just to give you a quick reply - I'm no mechanic but the "check engine" light (assume that's what you mean?) is usually something emissions-related, like an O2 sensor or something. I believe conventional wisdom would say you're OK esp. for a short trip like that.
      "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by retrofit View Post
        Just to give you a quick reply - I'm no mechanic but the "check engine" light (assume that's what you mean?) is usually something emissions-related, like an O2 sensor or something. I believe conventional wisdom would say you're OK esp. for a short trip like that.
        Not to worry the OP, but it can be something more serious than "just emissions." Also, a bad O2 sensor can serious f-up a trip, even a short one.

        OP, there MUST be a mechanic/auto parts store/something within 5-10 miles of your truck's current location, no? The auto parts store will scan the light for free, you might have to toss the mechanic $20.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          its NOT a "check engine" light, it's a "check gages" light.

          And I do not have the option of taking it to an Autozone before I bring the horse home, unless I pay to leave the horse at the hospital for the week until I can take the truck to a mechanic.

          Comment


          • #6
            You have opened the hood and actually checked the gages and made sure all the fluids were topped off etc, right?
            Next step is to run a quick diagnostic yourself:
            "I'm assuming you have the digital odometer as you checked for codes. In order to test the cluster, do this:

            1. With the ignition off, press and hold the trip meter button.
            2. Turn on the ignition w/o starting the engine, still holding the button.
            3. The odometer will display "chec" -- at this point release the button.
            4. The cluster will run through a self test. Watch it for any lights that don't light or gauges that are acting funny.

            Good luck!"
            http://dodgeforum.com/forum/2nd-gen-...ges-light.html


            You can get more information by doing a google search but that is one of the things that popped up.
            "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

            Comment


            • #7
              I would not drive/haul with a weak battery....or what is more likely an alternator about to kick the bucket.

              The last thing you want to find yourself without is electricity, or an alternator. Particularly if the accessory belt (if I'm thinking of the right Dodge engine) goes and you lose ALL your power stuff....steering, etc.

              There's really not ANY mechanic or auto parts store in your 20 minute drive to the clinic?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
                its NOT a "check engine" light, it's a "check gages" light.
                Apologies again for being a nitnoid.

                I sincerly doubt it says "check gages".

                It probably says "check guages".

                A "gage" is something QUITE different.
                Janet

                chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree with actually checking your gauges...

                  It really just depends...it could be something simple, or it could be a warning for a larger problem, who knows.

                  Those things usually just dont turn on for no reason...something triggered it, possibly the low battery amps.
                  Never Ride Faster Than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly
                  Way Back Texas~04/20/90-09/17/08
                  Green Alligator "Captain"

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                  • #10
                    Open/not fully closed Gaz cap! That happenend to me 3 times.
                    The light would light on and it took 2-3 km before the light would go off.
                    But it was just that.

                    ETA: check your oil/coolant gauges, and fill them up!
                    ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                    Originally posted by LauraKY
                    I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Janet View Post
                      Apologies again for being a nitnoid.

                      I sincerly doubt it says "check gages".

                      It probably says "check guages".

                      A "gage" is something QUITE different.


                      I'm not help, if it were me I'd probably baby it home with my fingers crossed, because it doesn't sound like you have a lot of other options.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Is this a trick question?

                        After driving my truck 12 years, and 208,000 miles, yesterday, on the way home, my voltage gauge had dropped down to about 12 volts. Alternators on these trucks are known to last about 100,000 miles, so I knew I had been on borrowed time.

                        I knew I would pass a NAPA store on my way home, so I called them, they had one in stock, so I stopped and bought it without turning the truck off. Sure enough, when I tried to restart the truck after I got home, it wouldn't crank. I put the charger on the batteries, and readied the heater in the shop for the next morning.

                        We put the new alternator in this morning, and it's back charging and everything operated fine all day on the road.

                        Indicator lights are commonly called "idiot lights". A check gauges light means exactly what it says. I admit I had never heard of this light before, but laughed out loud when I saw this. One of the gauges is trying to tell you something.
                        www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Janet View Post
                          Apologies again for being a nitnoid.

                          I sincerly doubt it says "check gages".

                          It probably says "check guages".

                          A "gage" is something QUITE different.
                          And "guages" is still quite far off from "gauges," actually.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Well, went back out to check all the things everyone had mentioned and the light was off.

                            Originally posted by GoForAGallop View Post
                            I would not drive/haul with a weak battery....or what is more likely an alternator about to kick the bucket.

                            The last thing you want to find yourself without is electricity, or an alternator. Particularly if the accessory belt (if I'm thinking of the right Dodge engine) goes and you lose ALL your power stuff....steering, etc.
                            A mechanic friend that I ended up calling said the same thing, it was probably the battery(ies). However, it started right up, and as I mentioned above, the light was off and stayed off.

                            But, as I understand, diesels don't need a battery to keep running once it's started.... isn't that right?

                            Anyway, truck started just fine, the light was off, and stayed off for a trip to the barn, turned off to drop off horse, started right up again, and made it home without incident.

                            I need to take it in for other reasons soon, but I don't know what the mechanic can do if the light is off...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As others have alluded to, the Check Gauges light in a late model Dodge/Ram truck means exactly what it says. One of your "gauges" (meters is the correct technical term) is showing a condition that is outside of the normal operating range.

                              There is no OBD code to read, there is no mystery engine illness to have diagnosed, there is no loose gas cap.

                              Just look down at your "dashboard" (instrument panel) while the engine is operating warm and under load and look at each gauge to see which one has a pointer outside its clearly marked normal operating range.

                              Then either fix the issue yourself or have some one fix it for you. BTW, being low on gas will not trigger the check gauge warning.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Even though the light is off tell the mechanic you have concerns about the charging system and they can easily do a system test that will test the batteries, alternator, and starter. Once you have the truck started when/if it has a low battery it will run fine...it's just when you shut it off and go to start it again

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
                                  Well, went back out to check all the things everyone had mentioned and the light was off.

                                  But, as I understand, diesels don't need a battery to keep running once it's started.... isn't that right?
                                  Isn't that how it always goes?

                                  Doesn't matter whether it's gas or diesel, no vehicle needs the battery to "stay running," it's just for starting. The reason I mentioned not wanting to drive with a gauge reading low electricity is (I'm not familiar with the Dodge gauges) in my vehicles the gauge with the electric symbol is measuring the alternator output, not the battery....and you don't want to drive without an alternator (at least at night, as it runs the lights/electrical) and sometimes the alternator can be acting weird because of an issue with the serp belt, which you DEFINITELY don't want to try driving without.

                                  Glad you made it home safe and sound!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by caballero View Post

                                    Just look down at your "dashboard" (instrument panel) while the engine is operating warm and under load and look at each gauge to see which one has a pointer outside its clearly marked normal operating range.
                                    Ok, I'm glad I'm not the only one who was about to write, well, check your gauges. Mine came on on a previous vehicle when the temp spiked (radiator died). All it is saying is "hey, look at your dashboard." If everything looks fine, continue and investigate more thoroughly later.
                                    Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                                    Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                                    We Are Flying Solo

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      ou most certainly do need an operating electrical system to operate a modern truck, whether gas or diesel.

                                      First, for a gas truck, you have those little things called spark plugs and they use electricity.

                                      You also have computers, electric fuel pumps on some models, etc.

                                      Eventually they will use up what little battery you will have after a low battery start.

                                      As for the new diesels, same thing.

                                      Computers, fuel pumps, sensors all over the place, fuel heaters, DEF pumps, etc.

                                      It is true that the very old trucks before all of the EPA rules would run without electricity once started, but the day of that is long gone.

                                      I forgot.

                                      Electric door locks, power windows, .......

                                      And lots of other stuff I forget.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by cssutton View Post
                                        ou most certainly do need an operating electrical system to operate a modern truck, whether gas or diesel.
                                        Yeah but the alternator will take care of that stuff, no?

                                        Comment

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