23 Warning Lights on Your Vehicle's Dashboard You Shouldn’t Ignore

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Modern day cars are filled with electronic sensors, the sole purpose of which is to make your life easier. 

The warning lights on your dashboard, powered by these sensors, have premonitions that you can rely on.

Seriously! They can predict a car breakdown or a full system failure. 

But all of this will work only if you understand them. 

There are about 23 types of warning lights, and to help yourself, you must know what they indicate. 

What Do Different Warning Lights Indicate?

1. Check Engine Light

This is the indicator of one of the most serious issues in your vehicle.

It’ll either blink or be steady.

A steady check engine light indicates a problem, but not an emergent one. 

However, you must take your vehicle for a checkup as soon as possible.

If it’s blinking, it indicates a serious engine fault. The engine could be misfiring, causing more damage to the car’s system as you continue driving. 

The mechanical issue needs immediate attention. 

The light turns on due to issues like:

  1. Faulty Oxygen Sensor - It will  reduce upto 40% of the fuel economy, and can cause further damage to the catalytic converter and the spark plugs. 
  2. Faulty Gas Cap - A faulty gas cap can cause loss of fuel, requiring refuelling of the vehicle quite often. 
  3. Faulty Catalytic Converter - It gets damaged mostly due to neglect and reduces the fuel economy and performance of your vehicle. It also makes it run at higher temperatures than usual.
  4. Faulty Mass Air Flow Sensor - Apart from the usual reduction in fuel economy and performance, a fault in this sensor can cause damage to the catalytic converter, spark plugs and the oxygen sensor.
  5. Faulty Spark Plugs - Same as others, it will reduce the performance of the vehicle and can cause damage to the other sensors. 

These are top five issues that may turn on the check engine light but there could be some even more serious issues that need a good auto repair service for checkup. 

2. Coolant Warning Light

Coolant is the fluid that keeps your engine cooled down for proper functioning of your vehicle. 

Without coolant, your engine will literally melt, slightly but it will.

The coolant warning light indicates low coolant levels. 

The first step is to pull over and let your car cool down for a bit.

Thankfully, it’s an issue you can check on your own by opening up your bonnet and checking the gauge near the coolant tank. 

Pay attention to the area as it may be scalding hot if your car is seriously overheated. 

If the coolant level is low, you’ll just need to take it to a service centre and get the coolant levels replenished. An easy fix that is! 

Other things that may need to be checked are the fan operation, leaks and the radiator cap. 

However, if the coolant warning light is accompanied by high level on the temperature gauge, it means your vehicle is overheating. 

A sign of big trouble!

It could be because of the head gasket failure or a leak (if you’re very lucky). 

You must rush to the auto repair centre and get this checked. 

Find out more about auto repair in Holland here. 

3. Oil Pressure Warning Light

It could indicate either of these four:

  1. High oil temperature
  2. Low oil level
  3. Low oil pressure 
  4. Engine problem

The oil lubricates the engine and the oil warning light indicates that the functioning of the oil is disrupted. 

If unchecked, it will cause damage to the engine.

4. Service Vehicle Soon

This light indicates an electrical, lighting or communication problem between different modules, typically controlled by body control module.

The first step is to find out what’s causing this by checking the various lights - hazard, head and brake and also the turn signals. 

If these are working fine, then you need to take your vehicle to an auto repair station for a checkup.

5. Battery Change Warning Light

When you turn on the power on, you see this warning light. It should go away within a few seconds after starting the engine.

If it doesn’t, it could be because of battery failure, a bad alternator, or damaged cabling in the engine bay.

The warning light indicates that your car doesn’t have sufficient electrical power and it can come to a halt anytime due to that.

First, turn off everything that’s dependent on battery power - lights (keep them on if you’re driving in dark), AC and heating system, interior lights, stereo, and heated seats or mirrors. 

Don’t turn off your car immediately, in case it won’t start again.

Go to an auto repair shop to figure out what caused the battery drainage and whether it’s just battery issue or an indicator of a more serious problem.

6. Oil Change Reminder

The light indicates that the oil in your vehicle has expired and needs a change. 

You may need specific tools to reset the light once the problem is fixed.

7. Transmission Temperature

It indicates that the temperature of the transmission fuel is higher than it should be. 

It could be because of low coolant level or low transmission fuel level. 

8. Tire Pressure Monitoring System Light

Earlier present in super expensive cars, nowadays more and more cars have TPMS sensor that indicate low pressure in the tires or a puncture. 

9. Brake System

The light indicates an issue with the braking system of your car. Easiest to fix issue could be that you left the handbrake on.

Else, it could be the brakes or the brake fluids that may need to be looked at by a mechanic.

10. Reduced Power Warning Light

It indicates that the engine output power is lower than usual. 

It could be because of many reasons and needs professional tools to find the actual cause. 

11. ABS Indicator Light

ABS is an anti-lock braking system and the safety light indicates problem with this system. 

If it goes on, your brakes may work but during an emergency, the ABS will not work properly.

If it stays on, get a mechanic to check it out. 

12. Gas Cap

It indicates that you need to fasten your gas cap properly. 

If you don’t fix this issue, it will also cause the check engine light to turn on.

13. Security Alert

It could light up in two situations.

  1. If the ignition switch is locked. 
  2. If there’s a malfunction in the vehicle’s security system.

14. Lamp Out

It indicates the failure of an exterior light of your vehicle. 

15. Door Ajar

It lights up when one of the doors of the vehicle, including the trunk and hood, isn’t shut properly. 

It’s easy to fix. 

Just open all doors and shut them. If you don’t cater to the issue, then it will drain out the battery.

16. Traction Control or ESP

It indicates that your vehicle is losing its grip. Slow down, and let your vehicle gain traction again. 

The light should go off then. If it doesn’t, drive very slowly and take it to a repair shop.

17. Air Bag Warning Light

Air bags are meant for your safety. 

If the airbag warning light is on, it means they are at fault. 

They would probably not go off in case of a car crash, compromising your safety or could go off unexpectedly, causing you either shock or injury or both. 

18. Washer Fluid Reminder

It reminds you that the washer fluid is low. Again a very easy fix, you just need to fill the washer reservoir. 

19.  Fog Lamp

It’s not much of a warning light. It just tells you that the fog lights of the vehicle are on.

20. Glow Plug

It’s present in diesel vehicles. 

Do not start the engine of your car if this light is glowing. 

It turns on when the glow plug of the engine are warming up.

21. DPF Warning Light

DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) light is present in diesel cars as they’re fitted with a DPF filter that helps to reduce emissions from the vehicle by filtering the soot from the exhaust gases. 

The light could mean that the filter is faulty, causing harmful emissions out of your car and making it an environmental hazard. 

But environmental concerns aren’t the only thing in question here. 

A DPF warning light, went unchecked for long, could damage the car’s engine and we all know how expensive they’re to fix, don’t we?

22. DEF Light

Again present only in diesel powered vehicles, it lights up when diesel exhaust fluid levels are low. 

23. Power Steering Warning Light 

It indicates a fault in the steering system, which usually makes it heavy causing problems in changing directions, especially while you’re driving at  slow speed.

It will also affect the ability of your vehicle to change directions at high speed. 

Various Colors of Warning Lights

The warning lights are of three colors -

  1. Red: It indicates a serious problem or safety hazard that requires immediate professional help. In some cases, it may just be a reminder for service maintenance.
  2. Yellow or Orange: It indicates that there’s a faulty component that need repair or replacement.
  3. Green or Blue: You need not worry about these, as they just indicate that a particular system is active. 

The various warning light are for your safety, to let you know that there could be something wrong with the machine and your safety may be compromised. 

Ao never ignore them. 

Keep these warning indicators in mind and contact a good auto repair shop in Holland if any of the serious warning lights are on.