Modern car designs come with a lot of confusing gimmicks like touchscreens, voice commands, push to start buttons, etc. Interiors are beginning to look more like futuristic aircraft cockpits with complex dashboards and way too many buttons.
However, even though your dashboard might seem like something from a sci-fi flick, there are 7 warning light symbols that always look the same, and indicate the same issue, no matter what car you’re driving.
Today, we’re going to cover those 7 car dashboard warning lights and explain what it means when each of them lights up.
1. Battery Light
One of the most common warning lights (and one you should definitely take notice of quickly) is the one that indicates that your battery power is running low. This can happen due to a faulty battery, failing alternator or leaving your stereo system on while your vehicle is parked. If the battery warning light comes on, unplug all your devices that might be draining the power, turn off your stereo system and your AC, and drive to the closest mechanic.
2. Brake Light
The brake warning light can indicate more than one issue and should always be taken seriously. The logo is almost always red-colored and features an exclamation mark for a good reason. When the brake warning light lights up, it can mean that you forgot to release the parking brake or your car is experiencing an issue with the braking system like fluid leakage or the brake pedal is sitting much lower than it’s supposed to.
3. Temperature Light
Overheating can cause severe damage to your engine, so it’s fitting that this warning light also shines in a bright red color. The liquid called coolant is responsible for regulating the temperature of your engine, so you’re either running low, or there is a potential leak. Driving your car with a hot engine for too long is a big no-no, so you’re better off calling a towing service instead.
4. Oil Light
The oil warning light indicates your engine is running low on oil. Pull over at a gas station, turn the ignition off, lift the hood of the car and use the dipstick to check your oil levels. If the dipstick indicates that the oil levels are low, use the opportunity to buy some at the gas station and slowly add it to the engine (this is where carrying a funnel comes in handy). When you’re done, don’t forget to screw the oil filler cap back on tightly.
5. Tire Pressure Light
More modern cars now come with a TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) equipped as a standard feature. The system monitors the air pressure inside the tires of your vehicle, warning you when the levels are below average, and potentially indicating a tire puncture.
High-quality tires will allow you to drive several miles even if they are severely underinflated, which does not mean you should test their limits. Pull over and grab a spare tire or drive to the nearest mechanic shop.
6. Power Steering Light (EPS)
If you see a small red or yellow steering wheel light pop up on your dashboard, it means your power steering is malfunctioning, but you’ll probably notice it anyway since making turns will feel like trying to push a rock up a hill.
There can be more than one cause of power steering failure, liquid leakage being one of them if your car relies on hydraulic power steering systems.
7. Airbag Light
If faulty, the airbag warning light will usually start flashing once you turn the ignition on. While this is not an immediate concern, we suggest you drive your car to the mechanic as soon as possible, as every minute you spend on the road with an airbag system that does not work is just calling for an accident to happen.
We hope that this car warning light guide helped you familiarize yourself with the most important warnings. If you need more advice on road safety, towing equipment, towing, and driving in general, make sure to visit our blog.