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What is the EPC light and what does it mean?

EPC light

When a warning light appears on the dashboard while driving a car, it certainly raises your anxiety right away.

The biggest one is usually  the check engine  and the EPC light that is on, which informs about faults related to the car's electrical system. Of course, that doesn't always mean the end of the journey. When can you continue driving and what exactly does the EPC light indicate?

In older car models, the dashboard indicators concerned the basic functions related to the functioning of the vehicle. Today, when car components are becoming more and more complex, the importance of individual controls is also increasing.

Importantly, they perform various functions - from purely informational, through warning, to alarming. Not always the lighting of a specific diode will require a visit to a mechanic. It is worth knowing when in such a case it is absolutely necessary to stop the car, and when it is possible to continue driving. Which group does the EPC ( Electronic Power Control ) indicator belong to ?

What are the lights in the car for?

The operation of the controls in the car is somewhat similar to the traffic light system. By the color you can know the function of a particular diode. It will be a signal for the driver how he should behave. What's more, the indicators, including the EPC, can be on permanently or momentarily. In newer car models, the latter often means a standard, automatic test of a specific component in the system.

Car controls can be divided into three groups:

  • blue and green  - informative function,
  • orange and yellow  - information and warning function,
  • red  - warning function.

What do the green or blue lights mean?

If a green or blue light comes on on the dashboard, you don't have to worry about a system failure. Rather, it is a sign that the car is working properly. Indicators from this group also inform about which vehicle functions are active at a given moment.

zones may apply to? Green and blue indicators most often refer to the external lighting of the car, e.g. direction indicators, high beam or fog lights. The LED in this color will also appear when the following is running:

  • cruise control,
  • hill climbing assistant,
  • parking assist system.

Thanks to these indicators, you will also know that the airbag system in your car is working properly.

What do the yellow and orange lights mean?

This is a group that includes EPC light. In this and any other case when you see a yellow light on the dashboard, you should be careful. This does not necessarily herald a serious failure, but it is worth taking a closer look at the technical condition of the car. The orange or yellow light is informative and warning.

Its task is to inform the driver that specific components in the car are not working properly, operating fluids are at the end or other changes are taking place in the vehicle that may affect its efficiency. Sometimes its ignition will force a visit to the workshop as soon as possible, and sometimes only a temporary stop. This is the case with:

  • running out of fuel  (lights up when you still have a few liters of reserve in the tank, which should be enough for easy access to the nearest petrol station),
  • improperly closed fuel filler  (e.g. after refueling; then it is best to stop the car immediately and check the protection),
  • ice on the road  (lights up when the temperature outside is low; then it is best to drive a little slower and be more careful, but you do not need to intervene in any way in the car),
  • a blown bulb or low tire pressure  (this does not require you to stop driving immediately, but it is best to stop calmly in a convenient place and replace the bulb or inflate the tire at the station).

Check-engine - why you shouldn't ignore it?

If one of the car's sensors detects an error, an orange indicator light with the engine symbol lights up on the dashboard. Next to the EPC control, it is one of the most important. If you ignore it and don't try to figure out the cause, your car's problems may escalate. It is best to go to a service center as soon as possible, where a special diagnostic device is used to check the condition of the car.

It is true that this indicator may disappear by itself when the battery power source is temporarily disconnected, but this does not mean getting rid of the technical problem, but only silencing it. Mechanics also do not recommend erasing the error and continuing driving. This may result in a serious failure on the route and problems of a logistic nature.

What do the red lights mean?

The red color of the indicator light in the car usually indicates the absolute need to stop and stop traveling. Sometimes, however, it may mean that something urgent needs to be done that is necessary for safe driving, such as lowering the handbrake lever or the need for the driver or one of the passengers to fasten their seat belts. The red color of the lamp can also inform about the functioning of the hazard lights.

What is the EPC light?

What exactly does the yellow EPC light mean? It is an abbreviation of the English name  Electronic Power Control . In Polish, it is simply a system that controls the electrical components in the car. The EPC comes on each time the ignition is switched on and goes out when the power unit is started.

In new car models, the EPC indicator indicates a failure of one of the components of the electrical system, which significantly affects both driving comfort and safety.

Elements of the electrical system in the car

Before you find out what exactly the faults are signaled by the EPC indicator, let's remind you what the electrical system in the vehicle consists of. The basic elements include:

  • power sources - battery and alternator, receivers (e.g. starter, lighting, ignition system and many others),
  • wires grouped into bundles,
  • installation elements (connectors, fuses, etc.).

The EPC indicator will light up when any of them malfunction or even fail.

What does EPC inflammation mean? The indicator light indicates a malfunction!

In modern cars, electrical systems consist of many components that have a direct impact on the safety and comfort of travel. This is why so many problems can cause the yellow EPC light to appear.

This is a message that may indicate a failure:

  • fuel supply system,
  • engine control,
  • throttle,
  • injection system,
  • coolant temperature sensor,
  • shaft position sensor,
  • cooling system,
  • light sensor or brake light only. 

Should you always be concerned about the EPC light? Faults in the electrical system can cause both minor and major, widespread failures. It often happens that one malfunctioning system directly affects another. A message about an error in the operation of one component may cause the others to stop functioning in a short time. This is the most important reason why EPC should not be underestimated.

It is worth taking advantage of professional knowledge and making an appointment with a mechanic. It will connect the vehicle to special equipment, thanks to which it will be possible to accurately diagnose the problem and its urgency, regardless of whether it concerns the throttle, engine fault, or it is a failure of the brake lights or the crankshaft position sensor.

What to do if the yellow EPC light comes on?

Self-diagnosis of a breakdown can be difficult, especially on the road. It is worth noting that EPC will not directly immobilize the vehicle.  While you will receive a clear message of the problem, you can continue to drive the car and visit the mechanic when possible. Of course, if after the EPC light symbol appears, the condition of your car starts to make it difficult for other drivers to drive, you should act much sooner.

Faults that trigger EPC may be responsible for, among others: error in the operation of the light sensor, but also the engine. Diagnosis can help verify the error, its location, as well as the possible cost of repair. Connecting the car to the diagnostic interface costs  PLN 50-100 on average . Note that simply clearing the error will not solve the problem. However, you will find out what failure or fault could have occurred.

It's worth listening to how the engine works. If not normally, for your own safety, stop the vehicle in a safe place and inspect it thoroughly. Self-identification of the problem can be complicated due to the complexity of the electrical system.

What can you do right after the EPC lights up?

  1. Stop in a safe place.
  2. Try to find the fault yourself , starting with checking the lights - in order: parking, passing, driving, fog, direction indicators.
  3. Check the operation of the brake lights by asking another person for help - they should stand behind the vehicle and assess whether all three mandatory lamps light up. To check them yourself, place the car perpendicular to a wall, gate or other bright surface. When you press the brake pedal, you should see the reflection of the brake lamps glowing in the mirrors.
  4. If the lighting is working properly, go to a workshop to identify the problem   (it is unlikely to be possible to evaluate complex components yourself).

Does every car have an EPC light?

It should be noted that EPC is not available in every vehicle. You will certainly find it in VAG (Volkswagen Group) cars, i.e. all models of the following brands:

  • Volkswagen,
  • Seat,
  • Audi,
  • Skoda.

Unlike the check engine light, which is mandatory for every car manufactured after 2001, the check engine light may or may not be on the dash. This does not mean that if it is missing, the vehicle is not equipped with any warning system.

What alternative solutions do manufacturers use? Most modern cars have built-in advanced on-board computers that inform drivers of possible irregularities.  You can encounter, for example, an indicator indicating a failure of the injection, light bulbs, but also verbal messages appearing on the computer display.

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