Car Dashboard Indicators: A Complete Guide
The warning light flashing on your dashboard should always make you stop, check your car, and possibly refer to a manual. However, it is now vital that you sort it out quickly, because if any of the lights on the dashboard come on while driving, your car could be damaged.
However, from time to time, an indicator comes on that you may not recognize, and you need to know if you can figure it out on your own or if you need to rush to the mechanic.
Use the list below to find out what each indicator means and how to diagnose the problem yourself.
- Emission indicator
- Brake indicator
- Airbag indicator
- Engine indicator
- Power steering / EPAS indicator
- Temperature indicator
- Oil level indicator
- Tire pressure indicator
- Battery charge indicator
- Washer indicator
While this will not pose a hazard to your health or cause damage, it is important to keep an eye on this indicator. Emissions are becoming more and more important for car owners, and if this indicator is on while passing a MOT, then you will not be issued a MOT certificate.
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Brakes are one of the most important functions of any car, so if the brake indicator lights up while driving, you should take it seriously. This could mean that you have a brake fluid leak or damaged brake pads.
In any case, if the brake icon lights up on the dashboard, you need to pull out of the road. Find a safe place to stop and assess the problem. Check the brake fluid level; If everything is in order, then most likely this is a malfunction in the sensor itself.
If the airbag light is on, your vehicle’s airbags may be defective. This could mean that they could turn incorrectly in the event of an accident, or they could operate unexpectedly, resulting in an accident or injury.
If the engine light comes on while driving, do not ignore it. This is how the electronics in your car are trying to tell you that your engine is not working properly. It might just be a minor malfunction, but watch out for associated symptoms such as loss of power, engine stalling, misfiring, or knocking. Anything that appears out of the ordinary could indicate a more serious mechanical problem. Stop and open the hood; driving in this condition can cause serious damage to the vehicle.
Power steering indicator
If the power steering indicator comes on, the problem is probably in the steering system. If the steering becomes heavy or you are having trouble turning the wheel, your power steering may be out of order. While this is not such a problem, if you are driving in a city or on a motorway in fast moving traffic, it can seriously affect your ability to react in difficult situations. Pull to the side of the road as soon as it is safe, and if you are driving an older model with a hydraulic system, check the power steering fluid level; you may have a leak.
If the temperature light comes on, it could mean that you have a low coolant level and there may be a leak.
Stop as carefully as possible and open the hood. Check the coolant level in the expansion tank. If it’s below the minimum mark, you almost certainly have a leak. At this point, it may be best to call a tow truck and have your car repaired as quickly as possible.
Oil level indicator
Oil plays a key role in the smooth running of your vehicle. It lubricates the engine, absorbs heat and keeps the entire mechanism running smoothly. Therefore, if the oil level indicator comes on while driving, it could mean that the oil pressure has dropped and further driving could cause serious damage.
Instead, stop when you can and check the dipstick. Add oil as needed. If the warning light is on and the oil level is normal, it is likely that the oil is not circulating properly. you may have a problem with the oil filter.
Tire pressure indicator
More and more vehicles are rolling off the assembly line with a tire pressure monitoring system. If you see this warning light flashing while driving, it usually means that one or more of your tires are not sufficiently inflated. This is easy to figure out, but operating the car with low tire pressure can cause unnecessary wear, so call your service and check the pressure.
Battery charge indicator
The battery powers every electrical component in your car, from the engine control unit to the ignition system, so when this icon lights up on your dashboard, you’d better pay attention to it.
If the battery indicator comes on and stays on, turn off anything that might drain the battery – air conditioning, heated seats, etc. Driving a short distance can still be safe, but keep an eye on the temperature; If your car starts to overheat, it’s best to stop as soon as possible to avoid damaging the engine.
Some modern cars have a washer indicator that glows when the washer fluid runs out in the reservoir. While not the most important of the indicators, you shouldn’t ignore the low washer fluid warning as you never know when you might need to clean your windshield.
The next time you see this warning light, add fluid to the drums right away to make sure your vehicle remains safe and roadworthy.