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Dashboard Warning Light And What Does It Mean? ( 2017-09-06 )

Do not be surprised if warning lights appear on your dashboard. Knowing the meaning of each and every symbol could warn you of your current car situation and prevent the worse to happen. MyCarsearch has put together a handy list of some warning lights and what they mean in order to help you understand what problem your car is facing.

Some symbols will illumate in different colors and appear in different forms, it is as simple as understanding the color of traffic lights.

Red – Signals a potential serious problem

Orange – Signals a part of engine component that needs your attention

Green – Signal a system is turned on and in operation

Flashing light – Signal urgency and indicate a component of the vehicle may needed to be replaced


1. Check Engine or Malfunction Indicator Light

Indicates there is a malfunction in your car engine parts. It might probably be the most frustrated indicator as it does not indicate any reasoning, consider sending your car back to workshop for proper guidance.

Action: You should send your car to the workshop for proper check-ups.

2. Low Fuel Level Light

Indicates fuel tank is nearly empty. The low fuel warning light will briefly turn on when starting up the engine.

Action: You need to refuel your car.

3. Check Battery or Low Voltage Output Light

Indicates voltage level is below normal level and the vehicle's charging system is not functioning properly.

Action: Consider restarting your car after 5 minutes as it may be a temporary trigger. If the problem persist, you need to send your car to workshop for proper check-up.  

4. Coolant Temperature Warning Light

Indicates the engine temperature has exceeded normal limits. It might caused by coolant leakage, cooling fan malfunction, water pump faulty and more

Action: If you are driving, stop your car immediately to avoid overheating. Wait until the engine cool off and the indicator shut off, drive cautiously if possible to the nearest workshop for inspection.

5. Transmission Temperature Light

Your car transmission is operating at higher temperature, the transmission fluid is hotter than normal. Consider checking transmission fluid level and coolant level in order to prevent overheat.

Action: When the transmission light is being ignited, it usually comes with bad odor, pull over to let the transmission to cool down and head to the nearest workshop to prevent any further damage to the car transmission.

6. Oil Pressure Warning Light

The light will come on when starting the car, if this light stays lit, it indicates low oil pressure, it can also means high oil temperature.

Action: Stop the vehicle and check for the dipstick under the engine cover. The dipstick will indicate your car oil level. Refill engine oil if the level is low. If the light stays lit, there might be problem with the fuel pump and oil pressure gauge, you need to seek mechanic for proper check up.

7. Brake System Light

There are 3 possible conditions, parking brake is on; problems with the brake system or the brake fluid is low; ABS problem.

Action: 1) Make sure the parking brake is fully released. 2) Check the brake fluid level and brake light bulbs. 3) ABS malfunction and you need to send to workshop for proper inspection

8. ABS Light

The light will briefly come on and indicates that the Anti-lock Brake is self-test. If the warning stays on, it means the ABS is not working properly and needs professional diagnosis. If the ABS light and brake system light (6) come on at the same time, it means there is a serious problem with the braking system.

Action: If the ABS light is lit, it means your car may not handle like it is designed to cope with heavy braking, in emergency event, your might put you and your car in hazardous situation. Send your car to workshop for proper inspection.

9. Traction Control or Electronic Stability Control (ESP) Light

The ESP is a computerized technology that improves a vehicle's stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction. The light will come on briefly when the ESP is switched on. The indicator will blink when the system is activated according to driving condition. 

Action: If the ESP indicator is constantly illuminated, there is a malfunction with the ESP system and required immediate attention.

10. Overdrive Light

This symbol indicates that the vehicle's overdrive system has been manually turned off. Overdrive improves fuel economy, and makes for less wear and tear on the vehicle when you are driving at highway speeds.

11. Airbag Faulty Light

If this light stays illuminated after starting, it indicates that the vehicle has found a fault in the airbag system. When the light is on, the airbags will disable and will not deploy when accident occurs.

Action: There might be malfunction with the airbag sensor or the airbag itself, consider send your car to mechanic for preper check up.

12. High Beam Indicator

Indicates the high beam is turned on, bring the lever to the middle to switch this off. 

Action: Do not use high beam when there are other vehicles around as this will obstruct the other driver’s vision.

13. Rear Fog Light Indicator

Indicates the rear fog light is turned on. Fog lights are used to provide improved visibility under conditions of seriously reduced visibility.

Action: Only turn on the rear fog light when the weather gets foggy, always remember to turn it off when the weather cleared off.

14. ECO Indicator

Indicates ECO mode is activated, active ECO helps improve fuel efficiency by controlling engine and transaxle on automatic transaxle vehicles. The acceleration may be slightly reduced to optimize fuel efficiency.

Many warning lights indicate that there is a fault occurred inside the vehicle’s system while some lights are briefly turned on for system checking. It is always better to recognize what are the warning light means and send to the professionals in order to keep your vehicle running in perfect condition.

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