What Do Your Dashboard Warning Lights Mean?

November 30th, 2018 by

What do your dashboard warning lights mean?
It is inevitable that a light will pop up on your dashboard sooner than later. Some of them are more common than others. When a new one comes up, it is very possible to have no idea what it is trying to indicate to you. Use this guide to understand what your car is trying to tell you. Fixing the issue upfront will keep you dealing with less maintenance going forward.

Some easier to figure out dashboard warning lights
Fuel light: This one looks like… a pretty standard fuel station, if you’re looking at it from the side. It is is probably the easiest to understand and depending on your style of driving, might be the most frequent to show up. Simply put, when you see this you really need to make your way to the gas station quickly. A bonus on this is that with these lights, there is usually an arrow on one side of the icon. This is telling you what side the hatch is, which will keep you from doing some unnecessary circles in the gas station before you become more familiarized with your car.

Airbag indicator: This icon has a few variations, but the standard is that there will be a large ball involved. That ball is the airbag and this light on means that you have a problem of some sort within your airbag system. It might be something going on with a specific airbag or the entire general system. With these keeping you safe during your worst case scenarios, it is definitely important to get this fixed as soon as you see it.

Tire pressure alert: You will see an exclamation mark hiding within a tire, though the tire usually doesn’t have a top. Exclamation mark is key. It means that one or multiple of your tires is low on air. It might not be completely flat yet, but fixing this quickly will save you trouble in the near future. Most gas stations have air pumps, so make a stop there and check all of your tires to make this light go off.

Dashboard lights that are a bit more confusing to figure out
Traction control: The light will show a car leaving swerve marks of some kind behind it. This light is going to go on when the car’s traction control has been engaged. Roads probably aren’t in great conditions, often due to weather, when this light go on. Pay attention and be mindful of what is around you when you are in these conditions. It’s a good feature to have, even though you don’t necessarily want to see it.

Brake control: In some way or form, the all caps letter ABS will be in this indicator. It stands for your anti-lock braking system, which is what is engaged when you slam on the brakes. When the light comes on, it means something within this system is working in error. Make your way to a mechanic and get this diagnosed to get back on the road safely.

Some dashboard lights that are like puzzles to figure out
Fog lamp indicator: There will be three horizontal lines, with one squiggly line going through it. To the left of this will be a rounded triangle, meant to be a car light. If this one comes on, your car is letting you know that you’ve engaged your fog lights. Your visibility is increased if you use these when in fog, so make sure you get your settings right and see this light when you’re in the midst of fog.

Washer fluid indicator: Any number of shapes could be used for your windshield, imagine a rectangle or semi circle, but the giveaway with this icon is that it will always have dotted lines going in at least two directions. Those lines are washer fluid. When this icon is up, it means that you don’t have any fluid left. It’s an easy thing to fill up and you will be happy to have it around when something dirty ends up on your windshield in the middle of a drive.

As you can see, there are many different dashboard lights and discovering which is which is the hardest part to the problem. With this guide, you should be set with some of the most common lights your car will hand you. A complete guide will be in the user’s manual of your vehicle, if you want to brush up on everything.

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