What Those Lights on Your Dashboard Mean

Find out all of the reasons why your dashboard lights come on.
Find out all of the reasons why your dashboard lights come on.

Those little lights on your dashboard aren’t there just to look pretty–they are actually trying to tell you something! Although the appearance of these lights can vary by make and model of the car you drive, they all have the same meaning in common: there’s an issue with your car that needs to be addressed. If you aren’t sure what these warning lights on your dashboard mean, it’s always best to consult your owner’s manual! Or you can check below for some of the most common symbols and what they’re trying to tell you.

Some Common Warning Lights

If you see your dashboard lit up with a yellow, red or blinking light, your car is at risk for a serious malfunction. Some of the most common warning lights that you will see on your dashboard include:

  • Service engine. This light will either say service engine or have a picture of an engine illuminated. The light means that there is an issue with your engine that needs to be addressed quickly. The warning light could indicate that you need to fix something as simple as replacing your gas cap or as complex as repairing a cylinder that is misfiring. A mechanic can run a diagnostic check to see what’s going on with your engine.
  • Check oil. This light will look like an oil can when illuminated. This light indicates that there is an issue with your oil pressure or quality. You can usually pull over, let your engine cool and check your oil levels. You can also get your car to a mechanic to diagnose the issue with your oil. If the problem is untreated for too long, it could cause engine failure.
  • Battery level. This light usually consists of an illuminated battery with a + and – sign. This most commonly means that your battery is running low and should be checked or replaced soon or there could be trouble with your alternator. Failure to replace your battery before it runs out will result in your car being unable to start.
  • ABS malfunction. This light usually says ABS when illuminated. An ABS warning light indicates a malfunction of the anti-lock braking system. An ABS malfunction will not cause problems with normal braking, but could be potentially life-threatening if the ABS is required. Take your car to a mechanic as quickly as possible to have your ABS repaired.
  • Temperature warning. This symbol, when illuminated, usually looks like a thermometer immersed partially in liquid. The warning indicates that your car might be at risk of or currently overheating. When this symbol is illuminated, it’s imperative to pull over immediately when safe in order to prevent engine failure. You can check your coolant once your engine has cooled off and get your car towed to a mechanic as quickly as possible.

When you see a yellow warning sign, take your car to a mechanic as quickly as possible. You don’t need to get the issue fixed immediately, but it will require attention from a professional within a few hours to a few days. If the light is blinking or red, you should safely pull over immediately and have a truck tow your vehicle to a mechanic.

Pay Attention to the Warning

Any serious issue with your vehicle has the potential to be dangerous. That’s why it’s so important to get any issue with your vehicle fixed as quickly as possible. Pay attention to the warning and bring your car in to Quanz Advanced Auto Body. We can diagnose and repair any problem with your engine or brakes so you’ll be safe on the road. Bring your car in anytime–no appointment is necessary!