We have all been there: one minute you are on the highway cruising, enjoying the views, and all of a sudden, you hear a continuous low but audible beep. You look down at your dashboard and you see a symbol glowing. Then, you start to wonder; what could be wrong. Not to worry! Like many things, cars too are not perfect. It’s only fair to assume that something might eventually break down or stop working no matter how much observation you put to it every morning before driving off your home.
While some symbols on your car’s dashboard would be more obvious than others, it’s highly important that you understand the meaning of each symbol to help you determine if the warning sign is minimal or critical that you need to pull over and call for assistance. To get you started here are the top 10 car dashboard warning lights you should know.
What are the meaning of all the light symbols on your car dashboard?
- Oil pressure light
What does it mean? When you look at your dashboard you will notice an old fashioned oil lamp symbol. This symbol signifies the oil pressure light and when it beeps, it indicates that there is an issue with your car oil pressure system.
What you should do: The reason for the oil pressure light beep could be as a result of low engine oil or a serious engine malfunction. However, the best course of action would be to pull over, off your car engine, and call your mechanic immediately. This is because it’s difficult to tell if the reason for the beep is a mild situation or a critical problem which could result in engine failure.
- Engine temperature warning
What does it mean? The glowing of this symbol means that your car coolant isn’t working properly and your engine is overheating.
What you should do: When the engine temperature warning light pops up and remains, the best decision is to quickly pull over and allow your vehicle to cool down. After your car’s temperature is down, open its hood and check the water level. Chances are your car has lost a lot of water and would need a top up. However, to avoid further damages, ensure you take your car to the mechanic.
- Anti-lock brake warning light
What does it mean? The glowing of the brake warning light might indicate that your handbrake is engaged. It could also mean that your brake fluid is low or your hand brake is faulty.
What you should do: As you know, your handbrake works to put your vehicle to a stop and in contact with the road safely. So, I would recommend you take your car for a diagnosis to figure out the issue as soon as possible. However, bear it in mind that everytime you turn on your car ignition, your vehicle does a self-check and would normally lit the brake warning light but only for a few seconds. Once that happens it means your car is working fine.
- Airbag indicator
What does it mean? The Airbag Indicator light signifies that something is wrong with your car’s airbag system.
What you should do: The purpose of your car’s airbag is to keep you safe by protecting your head and chest during accidents. So, it’s only wise that you should take your car to your mechanic immediately when you notice the airbag warning signs.
- Seatbelt indicator
What does it mean? The seat belt indicator light is simply a reminder signal rather than a warning sign.
What you should do: Seatbelts are a safety mechanism provided in your car to protect you from crash-related injuries by about 50%. So, when you notice the symbol glowing, it simply implies you put on your seat belt while driving. Remember, safety first always.
- Traction control light
What does it mean? The traction control symbol simply means your car is losing its grip due to a slippery road.
What you should do: It’s often advised not to speed on a slippery road and when you do, your vehicle reminds you of the bad road by putting on the traction control light. When you see this, I recommend you slow down your vehicle to regain traction. When you do, the light would go off. But if the light is still on, you should take it to your repair store immediately.
- Low fuel indicator
What does it mean? It means your car is low on fuel and you should refill immediately.
What you should do: Once the fuel symbol comes on it’s recommended you take a quick stop at the filling station and refill your car tank. Fuel is crucial to your vehicle and when your car fuel runs completely dry, it could affect your vehicle by distributing dirts to your car engine. So, refill your tank the next time you notice the symbol.
- Fog lamp indicator
What does it mean? The fog lamp light on the dashboard signifies that your vehicle’s fog lights are on.
What you should do: Your vehicle’s fog lights are undoubtedly vital during fog which is why it’s recommended you restore your headlights regularly. However, it should only be used if your visibility is less than 100 meters. If there isn’t any fog or if you turn them unnecessarily, the fog light warning symbol would go on till you put off the fog lights.
For more information about fog lights check out the different headlight laws in the US.
- Tire pressure warning light
What does it mean? The pressure warning light indicates that one of your tires is running low on pressure and needs to refill.
What you should do: Overtime, the pressure in your tires begins to decrease. When this happens, your tire pressure monitor system would alarm you. When that happens, head to the closest gas station or vulcanizer and fix the issue.
- Battery charge warning
What does it mean? These warning signs simply indicate that your car’s battery acid is running low.
What you should do: Once you see this warning sign, your first decision should be to turn off everything that draws direct power from the battery. But if you are driving at night, you need to make an exception on the headlights.
Knowing the above symbols is essential as a motorists and even though your car dashboard might be different from the symbols listed above, you should endeavor to check with your mechanic or contact your mechanic.
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