Dashboard lights.

Car doesn’t start? Dashboard lights on?

In Car Safety, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Your vehicle’s dashboard contains a number of tools that share important information with you – are there any problems or is everything running smoothly?

It also houses an array of dashboard lights that have various meanings. These alerts can warn you if something is malfunctioning and the vehicle needs to be checked by a mechanic.

You may not be able to determine what a warning means at a glance, especially if it’s your first time seeing it or it doesn’t appear often.

Below is a guide for what each of the symbols indicate and any steps you should take.

Dashboard Lights

What the different car dashboard lights mean

Check Engine Light: The check engine light turning on can be an indicator of numerous problems. If the vehicle has a flashing check engine light, it shouldn’t be driven and needs to be brought to a mechanic or car repair shop as soon as possible. A check engine light that is remaining solid doesn’t require immediate attention, but we suggest you schedule an appointment for the near future.

Battery Alert Light: Has your battery alert light illuminated? It could be that enough power isn’t making it to the battery. This can happen if you need a new battery or alternator, or there are electrical issues.

Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) Warning Light: The purpose of the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) is to make sure that a vehicle’s brakes don’t lock up during emergencies. The Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) Warning Light can clue you in when the system isn’t working correctly.

Oil Pressure Alert Light: If your oil pressure alert light appears, it’s a good idea to check your oil. (You can read about and see our video on how to check your oil in this blog post. This symbol lets you know that the engine is experiencing a decrease in oil pressure. 

Tire Pressure Monitoring Light: A problem with tire pressure or a tire sensor can cause the tire pressure monitoring light to come on. Check to see where the pressure of each tire is at. (This article and video we produced explains when and how to check the tire pressure.) If you notice that all of them are lower than they should be, it may be the result of the temperature. Having one with less tire pressure could be a sign that you have a flat.

Keep in mind that there are all kinds of vehicles on the road today, which means that there can be even more alerts than the ones listed here. The dashboard lights may also look differently.

If you notice a warning light is on and you don’t recognize it, take a look at the owner’s manual. That should help you narrow it down. If you still aren’t sure what the alert means or if you need to have it addressed right away, reach out to a car repair shop near you. 

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.