Don’t Ignore These Dashboard Warning Lights


    Modern vehicles feature all kinds of bells and whistles, from safety sensors to 360-degree view cameras and automatic parking assistance. Amidst all the advancements in vehicle technologies, most dashboard warning lights remain the same.

    Dashboard warning lights signal when there’s a problem with your vehicle or certain functions are in use. Learn more about these lights and which ones you should never ignore.

    Dashboard Warning Lights

    What Do Dashboard Warning Lights Do?

    You see your dashboard warning lights every time you start your vehicle. They illuminate for a moment, and as long as there are no issues, they turn off. A light that remains illuminated signals something is wrong. 

    A light that doesn’t illuminate when you turn on the vehicle may also be malfunctioning. This is a critical repair to make, as the warning light isn’t able to signal problems if it doesn’t illuminate. 

    Dashboard warning lights illuminate in red, yellow, green, blue or white. A red light indicates a significant problem that requires you to pull to the side of the road when you find a safe place. Yellow lights indicate that a function, such as the anti-lock braking system (ABS), is active. An amber or yellow light may also serve as a warning for low tire pressure, low fuel or other non-emergency issues.

    Green, blue or white lights inform you that features like your headlights are in use. All dashboard warning lights are in place to protect you, your vehicle and your passengers.

    Essential Dashboard Warning Lights

    The following are four dashboard warning lights you should never ignore. Overlooking them can cause severe damage to your vehicle and compromise your safety.

    Infographic provided by Goodwill Car Donations, donating a car in Florida

    → Check Engine Light

    The check engine light is one of the most common and ambiguous warning symbols on the dashboard. It’s in the shape of an engine and typically lights up in yellow. A blinking check engine light signals a more severe issue that requires you to pull over as soon as possible.

    A minor issue such as a loose gas cap can also trigger the check engine light, as well as various other issues ranging from slight to severe. A qualified mechanic can perform a diagnostic test to determine why the check engine light is illuminated.

     Coolant Temperature Light

    A vehicle running too hot can result in serious engine issues. This thermometer-shaped light warns you that your car engine is too hot, and you should pull over as soon as it's safe. The vehicle may be low on coolant or have a broken water pump, leaky coolant hose or another issue.

     Oil Pressure Light

    The oil pressure light is in the shape of an old-fashioned oil can with an oil drop coming out. This warning light is another critical symbol that may indicate your vehicle is low on oil or that there’s a damaged part in the engine. 

    The oil pressure warning light may signal that you need to top off the oil. If that is the issue, the light will turn off after you add oil. An oil light not caused by low oil is likely a more serious issue best analyzed by a mechanic.

     Brake System Warning Light

    Your vehicle's braking system is essential to keeping you safe. The brake system warning light is an exclamation point inside a circle with half circles on the sides (they look like parentheses). This light may simply mean that your parking brake is engaged, or it can signal a more dangerous issue such as low brake fluid or insufficient brake pads. 

    Vehicles also have numerous other dashboard warning lights, including those indicating that a headlight or tail light is out, a door is open, or a passenger is not wearing his or her seatbelt. All are in place to protect you, your passengers and the vehicle. Learn more about your car or truck's warning lights in the accompanying infographic.

    Author bio: Goodwill Car Donations is a national organization that accepts vehicle donations. It is committed to providing disadvantaged individuals with job training, employment services and critical community-building support.

    Post a Comment