What is Dashboard Warning light?

What is Dashboard Warning light?

What is Dashboard Warning Light?


Warning lights are lights on the dashboard of a car that inform the driver when something goes wrong with the vehicle. Sometimes warning lights can be serious in nature, such as Brake System Alert, Engine Warning Light. At the time of ignition, it is normal for the lights to illuminate, but they should turn off as soon as the engine starts. But if they stay on, then one should pay attention to them. One should never ignore warning lights, as they may indicate serious issues with the vehicle that makes it unsafe to drive.

Different symbols are used by every car makers thus, it is quite necessary to read the car’s manual to understand these symbols. The car’s manual generally contains this information. This help owner to act accordingly whenever one sees a warning light on the dashboard. These indications are the manner by which the vehicle communicates with the owner. This is in fact a way of informing the driver that there are certain issues with the vehicle and they should be taken care of. So, here are some of the common and typical dashboard warning lights along with their meanings.

Battery charge warning light:-

Battery is what keeps the engine to move the vehicle. The battery lights should illuminate at the time of ignition start and should turn off as the engine starts. The light may continue to illuminate if there are problems with the battery charging system.

The problem may be at:-

  • Alternator drive belt, it may be either loose or broken.
  • Start terminal
  • Overall battery condition

If the drive belt of the vehicle is broken, then it should be repaired before the engine start as the coolant system relies on the belt, thus it could damage the engine, due to overheating.


Oil warning light:-

The light should illuminate at the time of ignition and should extinguish as soon the vehicle starts. If the light stays of even after the vehicle starts, then check the engine oil level. The light may indicate low oil pressure. Even after the oil level is correct, the light still illuminate, then straight away consult a professional.


Brake system alert:-

The light came into existence at the time when handbrake is engaged. Even after releasing of handbrake the light still illuminates then, it may indicate low brake fluid level. In order to bring back the brake fluid to max level, the owner should read the manual. One should check the fluid level regularly to ensure that there is no loss of fluid at rapid level.


ABS warning light:-

As soon as the vehicle starts, the Anti-lock Brake System light illuminates briefly and goes away. If the light does not go off, then it indicates some issue and the driver need to seek assistance.

The ABS light could determine:

  • Low brake fluid level
  • Faulty ABS
  • Stuck brake caliper

The light does not go off, even if the gas cap is loose, damaged or missing. If one sees a red light, then should check the brake level fluid. Never ignore a continuous flashing engine light.


Temperature warning light:-

The light indicates that either the temperature of the coolant or the transmission is above normal. The areas where problem could occur are:

  • Fan operation
  • Radiator cap
  • Level of engine coolant
  • Level of transmission fluid
  • Coolant leaks


Engine warning light:-

It is a most common warning light and is a bit confusing as it indicates the vehicle may have number of different issues. The light turn on when the ignition starts and should goes off as soon as the engine starts. But if it continues to illuminate, then there is something for you to be wary.

When the light does not extinguishes, below are the areas need replacement:

  • Oxygen sensor
  • Catalytic converter
  • Mass airflow sensor
  • Spark plugs or plug wire

Some of the other most recognized warning lights are seat belt warning light, air bag warning light, parking brake warning light. It is not that warning lights are always critical; sometimes they are just the reminder that the vehicle needs assistance soon. They are not very serious, but one should pay heed to them also. The light illuminates when the engine starts when any of the car’s door or the hood or the trunk is left open. One should not take these warnings for granted as if the vehicle is left in the state for a long period of time, then the battery drains out. So, pay attention to the open door indicator. When the tire pressure monitor system illuminates, then the tires may have low pressure or there is sensor malfunctioning.



The warning lights on the dashboard mean different things, so from the owner’s point it is good know what does those blinking lights are indicating. If there are warning lights whose meaning you don’t know then, consult your handbook as they have all the basic information. The manual help you to troubleshoot the problem whenever you encounter with any. One should always keep the handbook handy at all times.


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