A survey by Kwik-Fit shows that 31% of drivers who see a dashboard warning light come on ignore it for five days or more – with potentially expensive consequences.

Of the 13 million drivers seeing a warning light in the last year, just 29% (3.7 million) got it checked out immediately. The remaining 5.1 million motorists (39% of those who have had a light come on) took between one and four days to look into the underlying problem with their car.

The warning light that affects more motorists than any other is the 'engine system warning light' as 3.6 million (10%) have seen it come on, whilst the 'oil pressure warning light' is the second most frequent offender, affecting 2.5 million (7%) of motorists.

We can understand the temptation to keep calm and carry on (although warning lights are now an MOT failure item). However, an engine warning light or oil pressure warning light is quite a big deal. If the engine really is that short of oil, driving on is going to wreck it quite quickly. At least, stop and check the right amount of oil is in the engine. That does not mean the light is automatically faulty, but it does eliminate the most likely cause of a genuine problem.

An illuminated 'tyre pressure warning light' has been seen by one million (3%) motorists, but in reality this figure could be a lot higher because a 2011 Kwik Fit study found that only 49% knew what it meant. We actually had this light come up on our long-term Ford Focus and it did alert us to a puncture, so score one for the boffins.