Driving along on the highway, blaring some great music, windows down, enjoying life when… a dashboard warning sign comes on! Oh no! Do I stop and pull over immediately? Keep going and pray I make it to a mechanic? Or ignore that bright red sign until it (hopefully) goes away? Well, folks, I am here to help you answer all those questions.
Your dashboard warning signs are obviously activated for a reason. But did you know some are more serious than others? Below I will break down the top 14 dashboard warning signs you should know. Remember, the color of the dashboard warning signs mean a lot. Red is obviously worse than green!
14 Dashboard Warning Signs You Should Know!
The brake warning indicator is usually yellow or orange when illuminated even though it should probably be red. This light comes on when your brake pads are low or not working properly. You can still drive with this light on, but make sure to have your brake pads checked during your next inspection. And a little advice, if you hear a screeching sound when you brake, that means your pads are low and your brakes need to be replaced! You can also check your brake fluid because if that is low, your brakes will feel mushy. Refer to my article on Brake Fluid Information.
The engine coolant/engine temp indicator is usually red when illuminated. This warns you that your car is hot and could be over-heating. Since this light usually comes on during emergencies, you might notice smoke coming from your car after this light illuminates. Pull over and call roadside assistance. You probably have a leak in your coolant container and need to refill the coolant.
The tire pressure indicator is telling you that you have low air in your tires. This light is usually yellow when illuminated because it is not a serious situation. In fact, this icon malfunctions a lot so make sure to check your tire pressure frequently! You can refer to my article on checking tire pressure if you are unsure on what to do!
This battery indicator only comes on when your battery is low or dead. It is usually red when illuminated because it is a more serious problem. You might have left an interior light on which caused your battery to die. No worries! Simply jump your battery– and here is my article teaching you how! If you try jumping your battery with no luck, then your battery is completely dead and needs to be replaced. You can’t get much further with a dead battery!
The oil pressure indicator comes on when your oil is low. This icon is usually red when illuminated because it can turn into a serious situation. If this turns on, you need to check your oil and probably add some oil to your car- or it is time for an oil change! You should go in for an oil change every 3,000-5,000 miles depending on what oil your car uses. Refer to my article on Motor Oil Information for more help.
Ahh, the infamous check engine light. This indicator is usually yellow when illuminated. Your check engine light can turn on for various reasons and can become serious if you do not know what is wrong. It could be as simple as you forgetting to put your gas cap on, to something more serious like an actual engine malfunction or leak. Refer to my article called Check Engine Light On! What Does It Mean? to determine whether your car should be looked at or not.
The ABS indicator is usually yellow when illuminated. This indicator almost never turns on so when it does, you need to take your car in for inspection. When it is on, it means there is an issue with your anti-lock brake system; Which you probably want for safe driving… unless you plan on drifting around on your way to work.
The fog lights are usually yellow or green when illuminated. This is telling you, you have turned your fog lights on or they have come on automatically. No worries here!
The low fuel indicator is usually yellow when illuminated. We all obviously know what this means, but did you know that tiny arrow pointing either left or right is telling you which side of the car your gas tank is on?! A little trick of the trade! Also, don’t freak out when your fuel indicator comes on. Your car has a reserve tank which means you can drive for about 30 minutes or more before you have to refill.
This is usually red when illuminated for obvious reasons. Seat belts save lives and you can get pulled over if you don’t have it on.. click it or ticket folks!
The airbag indicator is usually red when illuminated because it shouldn’t come on. If it does, you have a problem with your airbag system and need to take it in for inspection.
The traction control indicator is usually yellow when illuminated. This indicator is telling you that your traction control is engaged and it is not a serious matter. This light will come on when you slip and slide around in heavy snow or rain. In fact, some people turn their traction control off to have a little bit more fun 😉
The high beams indicator is usually green or blue when illuminated. This is telling you that your high beams are on and are super bright! So make sure to use them properly!!
The washer fluid indicator is usually yellow or orange when illuminated. This is just warning you that your washer fluid is low and needs to be refilled. You can refer to my article called 3-In-3: 3 Things To Check In 3 Minutes so you are never low on washer fluid or tire pressure!