Dashboard Warning Lights: What Do They Mean?

dashboard warning lightsWhen a dashboard warning light comes on, this is a signal from your car to let you know that something might be wrong. While this can be frustrating or nerve-wracking for some drivers, it is important to know what to do depending on the specific warning light you see. While some warning lights may be dangerous, others simply let you know when there is a minor problem.

According to AutoZone, many lights are divided into three categories based on color.

  • Green or Blue – a normal system is operating (cruise, high beams, etc.) or off.
  • Yellow – there may be an issue down the road. Service when possible.
  • Orange or Red – take extreme caution, and have your car inspected ASAP.

These are general guidelines for dash warning lights; nevertheless, you should always follow the instructions found in your owner’s manual.

The most common light you may see is the Check Engine or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL). This is set off when the engine computer sets a Diagnostic Trouble Code—often related to emissions or general engine problems. The most common causes can be a loose gas cap, faulty O2 sensor, a bad catalytic convertor, or engine misfire among other things.

A Coolant Temp Warning light appears when the engine temperature exceeds normal operating ranges. This can be caused by a coolant leak or clog, bad fan, loose radiator cap, faulty water pump, or bad temperature gauge.

The Oil Pressure Warning usually indicates a loss of oil pressure, which is due to leaks or low oil levels. This can lead to serious issues if left unattended.

If you see the Brake System or ABS Warning Light, you may need to pull over. This could indicate that your parking brake is still on, or you may have brake failure. The brake fluid could also be low. Be sure to have your car inspected by a certified tech as soon as possible.

The Battery Charge Alert lets you know that there is an electrical issue. This can be caused by a dead battery, bad alternator, corroded wiring, or a range of other issues. Electricity is needed for basic operations, as well as engine combustion, making this a serious issue.

These are just some of the many warning lights you may see. If you need assistance with vehicle repair or diagnostics, bring your car into Gossett Kia for reliable service and affordable prices.

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