What Are Those Warning Lights on Your Car’s Dashboard Telling You?

April 7, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Manufacturers thoughtfully design vehicles with warning lights to let them know when trouble arises. The warning light system works similarly to a traffic light system in some newer cars. Here’s some information about those lights if you come across one sometime soon. 

Types of Dashboard Warning Lights

There are numerous warning lights on the dashboard to let you know if something needs your immediate attention. Some indicators let you know your vehicle’s temperature and if you should be concerned about that. Other lights warn you about oil pressure, battery condition, tire pressure, etc. Then some lights point to your safety features and accessories, such as traction control or antilock braking. Seeing lights indicates that something is off in the system, and you may need to stop operating the vehicle, depending on which light is on. 

What You Should Do If a Warning Light Comes on in Your Car

Don’t panic and say, "Oh no! My car warning light is on." Take a deep breath, relax, and pay close attention to the light’s color first. A green light is like a green traffic light, and it generally means that you can go ahead and keep using that feature with no problem. An amber or yellow light means that you have to pay attention to that feature or aspect of your vehicle and do something to fix it soon. However, it’s most likely not an emergency if you see one of those colors. 

On the other hand, a red light is an emergency you need to tend to right away. For example, if you see a red light on your temperature gauge indicator, your vehicle is overheating. You must pull over right away to avoid irreversible engine damage. You could be out of antifreeze, or something may be wrong with your cooling system. In the worst case, you may have a blown head gasket. 

A red light on the seatbelt logo means that someone’s seatbelt isn’t on, or one of the seatbelts is malfunctioning. If your oil pressure light is red, you may have an oil leak. In some cases, the light indicates trouble with the engine. 

Your battery light may turn red because of a drain. You may also have a mechanical issue with the alternator. The exclamation point with the horseshoe under it is a tire pressure indicator. If you see that light turn red, one or all of your tires have suddenly lost pressure. This can occur because of a temperature change, but it means you have a leak in most cases. 

Your airbags are not working properly, or one has engaged if you see a red light. You’ll know if an airbag engages long before the red light appears most of the time. 

Another light you might notice is the ABS light. It means your antilock braking system is no longer working. Most cars will continue to run fine with that issue, but they have the protection that stops the brakes from locking from a hard and sudden stop. 

Those are just a few lights you might see on your dash. Remember not to panic. Think of what the lights indicate, and then take your car to a mechanic or correct it at home. 

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