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Dashboard Warning Lights Explained

by Orange Auto
Guide to dashboard warning lights

The dashboard of your vehicle is like a communication hub, providing critical alerts about your car’s health through various warning lights. Understanding what each symbol means can prevent minor issues from escalating into major problems. Here’s a guide to the most common dashboard warning lights and what actions you should consider when they illuminate.

Check Engine Light

The check engine light is perhaps the most recognized and dreaded indicator on a vehicle’s dashboard. This warning light can signal a variety of issues, from something as simple as a loose gas cap to more critical engine malfunctions. When this light illuminates, it’s wise to first check simple fixes like ensuring the gas cap is tightly secured. If the light persists, it’s essential to seek professional assistance promptly. Ignoring this warning could exacerbate the problem, leading to costly repairs and potentially severe engine damage.

Oil Pressure Warning

This light appears as an oil can symbol and indicates that your engine’s oil pressure is too low. Low oil pressure can cause severe engine damage rapidly. If you see this light, you should stop driving as soon as it’s safe and check the oil level. If the oil level is adequate, the issue may be a faulty oil pump or a blockage in the oil system, which requires immediate professional attention.

Battery Charge Warning

Represented by the symbol of a battery, this light warns you that the car’s charging system is not functioning correctly. It might be due to a failing car battery, alternator, or even an issue with the car’s electrical system. It’s important to address this light immediately to avoid finding yourself with a car that won’t start.

Brake System Warning

This critical light is usually depicted as an exclamation mark inside a circle, and it can indicate several issues, including low brake fluid levels or a problem with the brake system components. If this light comes on, check the brake fluid immediately and ensure that it’s at the correct level. Driving with compromised brakes can be extremely dangerous, so seek professional help if the fluid level is not the issue.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

A light that looks like an exclamation mark inside a tire profile indicates that one or more of your tires are significantly under-inflated, which could lead to tire failure and loss of vehicle control. Modern vehicles equipped with TPMS make it easier to ensure that your tires are always at the optimal pressure for safe driving.

Coolant Temperature Warning

This light will appear when your engine is overheating, usually depicted by a thermometer symbol. Overheating can cause serious damage to your engine, so it’s important to stop driving and allow your engine to cool down. Check the coolant levels and radiator hoses once the engine has cooled. Do not attempt to open the radiator cap while the engine is hot as this can cause severe burns.

Airbag Indicator

Seeing the airbag indicator light up on your dashboard means there is an issue with one or more of your airbags or the airbag system itself. Airbags are crucial for safety in the event of an accident, so it’s important to have this system checked out as soon as possible.

Don't Ignore the Signs - Pay Attention to Your Dashboard Warning Lights

Your vehicle’s dashboard is equipped with these lights for a reason: to keep you informed and safe. Ignoring them can not only lead to expensive repairs but also put your safety at risk. If you see any of these lights and are unsure of what to do, it’s best to consult with a professional.

At Orange Auto, we understand the importance of maintaining your vehicle’s health. Our team of expert technicians is ready to assist you with any dashboard warning lights or other issues your car might be experiencing. Schedule your appointment today.

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