We already miss Meatloaf. But what you shouldn’t miss is what all those little lights and symbols on your dashboard mean. Sure, most of us know our Seatbelt light or our Low Fuel light. But maybe we don’t know what our Traction Control light looks like, or even what it means. To take out some of the guesswork, we’ve put together a small list of some of the dashboard lights you may see from time to time.
A quick note: this is not a comprehensive list, these are just a few of the more common warning lights. For a more exhaustive list click here. It’s also important to note that some company’s icons may not look exactly like these, but for the most part, these are generally universal. For a complete list of your vehicle’s lights and icons, consult your vehicle’s manual. Or give Eustis Body Shop a call and we can help!
One of the most common, and possibly least understood, of all the dashboard indicators. In truth, the Check Engine light could mean several things from a loose gas cap to a serious problem. Generally, a flashing light indicates a serious problem, and you should pull over immediately. Otherwise, when you see the Check Engine light, it’s a good idea to check your gas cap first, then make sure all other major systems are working properly.
This old-fashioned oil can is telling you that there is an issue with your oil pressure system. Whether it’s not enough oil or a malfunctioning oil pump, an Oil Pressure indicator means a very real problem. If you see this light, it’s a good idea to have someone check out your vehicle as soon as possible. A note: this is NOT an indicator that you need to change your oil. Some newer cars will have a light specifically to tell you when it’s time for an oil change.
One of the more serious alerts on the list, this indicator means that your engine is running too hot. This could come from a leaking radiator, low coolant levels, a broken water pump, or a number of other issues. If you’re consistently seeing this light, check your coolant levels first. Then see a mechanic if it persists.
The Tire Pressure light means that one or more of your tires has air pressure that is either too low or too high. Generally, tire pressure should sit between 30-35 psi. Please note that each manufacturer sets their own ideal pressure amounts, so you can adjust accordingly. It’s also important to remember that the number listed on the outside of the tire itself is a maximum pressure number, not necessarily what your tires should be filled to. Too much or too little air pressure could cause expensive damage to your tires or even your wheels in severe cases. If you see this light, it’s a good idea to adjust your tire pressure accordingly.
This light can be a little tricky as the icon doesn’t explicitly show what the issue is like on some of the other lights. This light means one of three things: your parking brake is on, your brake fluid is low, or you’re having a problem with your Automatic Braking System (ABS). If you see this light, check your parking brake first. If the light remains after that, have somebody take a look at your brake system, if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.
Since 2012 traction control has become a standard feature on all cars and light trucks. And generally, it operates without most of us knowing it. However, the Traction Control light will come on when the traction control system is in use. This will mostly mean when driving conditions are slick or icy. So if you see your traction control light, it’s important to take note of the driving conditions and use extra care.
While the battery indicator seems pretty straightforward, it may not always just be a fading battery or problems with the connectors. In some cases, the battery light means an issue with your alternator. So, if you don’t notice fading headlights or other dashboard lights (like a clock, for example), you may have a problem with your alternator.
Automatic Shift Lock
This light simply means that you are trying to either shift your vehicle out of Park or start your car without pressing the brake pedal. This has become increasingly important with the rise of keyless or push-button starts in newer vehicles.
This indicator tells you that you have a light out somewhere. Be it a headlight, taillight, or turn signal. When you see this light, do a little investigation to find out what the problem is. A little time spent here may save you from a costly ticket later on. It is also interesting to note that the icon for a light out is a lit lightbulb!
Again, this is not a complete list. Some new cars may have dozens of indicator lights, and some vehicle makers might even have their own specific indicators. And as always, if you have questions about the lights, check your vehicle’s manual or give Eustis Body Shop a shout.
Don’t ignore your dash lights! And if you need collision repair or just some good automotive advice, stop into any of the six Eustis Body Shop locations across Nebraska. Or contact us at eustisbodyshop.com if you have any automotive questions.