I was driving today and suddenly several of the dash lights (the door open, seatbelt, oil and battery lights) came on together. The brakes became much stiffer, like the car was not running, and there was no additional power to the wheels when I hit the gas. However, the air conditioning and lights still worked.
The temperature gauge was at 50% of max, which is exactly normal for this vehicle on a hot day after driving a decent distance.
After 10 minutes or so with the vehicle off, I tried starting the car again. It turned on, but the indicators were still on. I turned it off again, then tried starting it a second time and the engine turned over repeatedly but the car did not start.
A friend who has been working on the vehicle occasionally said that the oil and antifreeze were 'low' (he won't clarify what that meant) and that the car overheated. However, there wasn't any steam coming off the engine when this happened.
Is it possible for the car to overheat when the temperature gauge is at 50% if the sensor isn't broken? Also, if the oil was low, shouldn't the oil light have turned on at some point before the immediate incident happened?
If someone had been right in front of me I would have hit them, so I'm hesitant to believe my friend in case this happens again. I'm also a little bit aggravated that he is accusing me of being a 'dumb girl who doesn't check her fluids' when I was actively monitoring the temp gauge and dashboard indicators. I carry oil and antifreeze in the trunk so I would have filled them if there had been an indication that I needed to.
Any theories as to what might have caused this issue? Or how the car could have overheated/stopped running despite the indicators not showing any issues?
Any insight is much appreciated! Thanks in advance.