Skip to Content
Back

Common Dashboard Warning Lights Explained

Whether it’s telling us “check your engine” or “change your oil” or anything in between, dashboard warning symbols are an invaluable clue to the well-being of our vehicles.

Are you familiar with the most common dashboard warning symbols and their meanings? Take a look at the following breakdown of vehicle warning lights and their meanings.

Engine Warning

What it Looks Like:

What it Means:

The engine warning light indicates a malfunction in your vehicle’s ignition, emissions, or fuel systems. From minor issues – such as a loose gas cap – to sever car problems, such as a faulty catalytic converter, this light can indicate a variety of issues.

What to Do:

Make your way to the auto repair shop so your engine issue can be diagnosed and resolved by a professional.

Battery Alert

What it Looks Like:

What it Means:

Just as the name suggests, this common dashboard symbol indicates an issue with your vehicle’s battery. This could suggest that your battery’s charging system is malfunctioning, and the battery voltage level is too low.

This symbol usually indicates a problem with your alternator, and means your vehicle is running solely on battery.

What to Do:

Safely make your way to the side of the road, then check the condition of your car’s battery, paying special attention to your alternator belt and your battery terminals.

No matter the cause of your battery alert warning, your safest option once more is to leave this issue to a professional mechanic. Turn off your radio and air conditioning, then safely drive to your auto repair shop.

Airbag Warning Light

What it Looks Like:

This warning symbol indicates that there is a malfunction with one or more of your vehicle’s airbags, or your vehicle’s airbag system in general. This light could also indicate an issue with your seat belts.

What to Do:

It’s strongly suggested that, when your airbag warning symbol lights up, you take immediate action. If you ignore this warning symbol, you put your own safety – and the safety of everyone in your vehicle – at risk. Make your way to a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

Engine Temperature Warning Light

What it Looks Like:

What it Means:

This dashboard warning symbol is an indication that the temperature of your engine has reached critical levels. Simply put, your engine may be overheating.

What to Do:

Set your cabin heater to its highest setting, and turn off your radio, air conditioning, and any other non-essential systems. This will help alleviate unnecessary load from your engine and help distribute your vehicle’s remaining coolant.

Pull over when it is safe to do so, letting the engine cool down as much as possible. Do not open the hood of your vehicle for 20 to 30 minutes. It’s not recommended that you drive very far with this warning light – if there is no repair shop within close distance, your safest option is to call a tow truck and have your vehicle transported to the nearest auto shop.

Oil Pressure Warning

What it Looks Like:

The oil pressure warning symbol indicates a loss of oil pressure with your vehicle. This could indicate a problem with your vehicle’s oil pressure system, or a lack of oil in your engine.

What to Do:

Check your oil level immediately. If the warning light remains lit after you’ve topped off your oil, drive over to your local repair shop so that your mechanic can check your vehicle’s oil pressure.

Whether it’s a simple reminder to “buckle up!” or an engine issue that’s best left to the professionals, dashboard warning symbols should not be ignored. Regular vehicle maintenance is the best way to keep those warning lights on your dashboard from making frequent appearances.

Common Dashboard Warning Lights Explained

When there’s an issue with our vehicles, the warning lights on our dashboard provide us with insights into the problem at hand.