15 Most Common Warning Lights On Your Car Dashboard And What They Mean

When you turn on your vehicle, you'll notice multiple lights in a variety of colors flash up all over the dash. It can be confusing, and a little alarming but don’t worry, they only light up to let you know the systems they relate to are working, before going out. You need to worry when one of them stays on, or when it comes on while you’re driving, as they could be indicating an issue with your car.
Below are the most important of them and what they mean. The majority of warning lights are common to all makes and models of vehicles, but their locations, designs, and color may vary.
Check your owner’s manual for more information.

WARNING SYMBOLS

All warning symbols usually come in red. They indicate a problem or safety issue that should be checked only by a professional.

1. Engine temperature warning light

What it means: Your car's coolant is overheating .

What you can do: Just let your car cool down, or the heat can destroy your car's engine.

This symbol can be in blue as well which means that the coolant temperature is low than needed, but it will raise when you start up your car, and the symbol should disappear as soon as the vehicle is warmed up.

2. Oil pressure warning light

What it means: If you see this warning light, it may mean your engine has lost normal oil pressure.

What you can do: The problem can be as simple as your engine being low on oil but it can also indicate a severe engine problem. So if you are not sure what exactly the problem is, then better to call for your mechanic.

3. Battery charge warning

What it means: This warning light can indicate several things, all relating to the car’s battery and charging system.

What you can do: Turn off everything that uses power from the battery, except for the headlights if you are driving at night. This includes the air conditioning and heating system, the stereo, any interior lights, and any accessories such as heated seats or heated mirrors. Do not turn your car off until you get to somewhere safe, just in case it doesn't start again.

4. Brake warning light

What it means: This brake system warning light also requires urgent attention. It may be that you left the handbrake on so ensure it's fully released. If this doesn’t solve the problem, it may be that the brake fluid level is too low, or that a brake pad wear sensor is faulty. However, it could also be a more serious issue with the braking system.

What you can do: If the red brake light blinks or comes on and off intermittently, if the pedal feels spongy when you press it, or there is no change in the feel of the brake pedal, then have the vehicle properly diagnosed by a qualified repair shop as soon as possible.

5. Airbag indicator

What it means: Something is wrong with the airbags.

What you can do: Take your vehicle to a qualified service center or your dealer immediately to have the problem diagnosed.

6. Seatbelt indicator

What it means: This symbol lets you know if any of your passengers haven’t got their seatbelts fastened.

What you can do: Seat belt is one of the most important to save our lives and reduce injuries in crashes. Keep in mind that safety comes first and put on your seatbelt every time.

SAFETY SYMBOLS

1. Engine warning

What it means: If this is illuminated, it means there is an issue with your engine.

What you can do: It may be a minor electrical issue, although sometimes it can be a more significant mechanical issue.

These could include a lack of power, as the car has gone into ‘safe’ mode to protect itself; intermittent stuttering as you press the accelerator, caused by a misfire; or another fault which could alter the normal response from the engine. Bring your car to the mechanic when you can.

2. Traction control light

What it means: When the wheels lose grip, usually in the rain or snow.

What you can do: Slow down and allow your vehicle to regain traction. If the light stays on, there could be an underlying problem with the traction control system.

3. ABS indicator

What it means: There's something wrong with your car's Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).

What you can do: If the warning light comes on while you are driving, it means the ABS is not working correctly. Your brakes will still work, but the ABS might not engage if you need to make an emergency stop. If the light remains on, you need to have a mechanic diagnose the ABS light issue as soon as possible.

4. Tire pressure warning light

What it means: This means that at least one of your tires is running low on pressure.

What you can do: Stop at the closest petrol station and add air as necessary.

5. Glow plug indicator

What it means: Diesel-powered vehicles don’t need a spark to make the air/fuel mixture go ‘bang’ and get the whole engine running. If your car is running on diesel, this is the glow plug indicator. Instead, they use compression and temperature to induce combustion in the mixture. The glow plug is a heating element that is activated during startup when the temperature of the engine is too low.

What you can do: Normally, the glow plug indicator light will come on only when the engine is cold. Or you can hear the engine sound a bit rough and not run as smoothly or efficiently as it should. The most common reason to replace glow plugs is age. Over time, after repeated warm-up cycles, the glow plugs age and are not able to produce any heat. Replace your glow plugs to solve issues.

COMMON SYMBOLS

The following are all related to your vehicle’s lighting system and everyday needs.

1. High beam light indicator

What it means: The light is on only when the high beams are active, and they are standard in all vehicles

2. Low windshield fluid indicator

What it means: The windshield washer fluid is low. Top it off.

3. Low fuel indicator

What it means: Your car needs fuel. It’ll usually come on when you’ve got around 50-70 miles of range, and is designed to give enough warning so you can find a fuel station.

4. Service reminder

What it means: It's time for regular car maintenance.

It’s very important to take these warning lights seriously as you don’t know what will happen to your car the if you decide to ignore them.

Always consult with your mechanic or a professional.

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