7 Warning Lights on Your Car’s Dashboard

Desert Oasis Auto Repair Car Maintenance

The dashboard on your vehicle is the information center where you can see the vehicle’s performance.  Indicator lights provide you with warnings when there is a problem and are triggered by the central computer on your vehicle. Most of the indicator lights are illuminated briefly when you start the vehicle but go out within seconds.

Regardless of you car’s make or model, many warning lights are relatively universal, so a Check Engine light is going to look the same on a Buick as an Audi.

The following are some of the most common warning lights and what they mean.

AirbagAir Bag Warning Symbol

The airbag indicator lights up when the car is started and goes out a few seconds later. Should this light come on or stay on, it could mean that there is a fault in the airbag system, and vehicle’s computer has issued a code that will determine the fix. A faulty clock spring is a common problem that triggers an airbag light.

Car Battery SymbolBattery

The battery light lets you know that you are running on the battery and have a problem in the charging system. A bad alternator or a loose connection can cause the system to stop charging. If you ignore the warning, eventually you will find yourself powerless and stuck beside the road. Mercedes Benz adds the words “visit workshop” to their battery light.


The brake system on your vehicle consists of two indicator lights. One is the brake system itself and the other is the ABS light. A single brake light can indicate something simple like a set parking brake or something much more significant like a fault in the brake system. When it is illuminated in conjunction with the ABS light, you need professional help to determine the cause and repair.

purpose of Engine Lights


Check Engine SymbolThe Engine light illuminates when you first start the vehicle. It should turn off within seconds, but if it does not, it could be a problem within the engine or one of the many sensors within the exhaust or emissions system.

In most cases when there is a Check Engine light, you will need a repair technician to read the diagnostic code in order to fix the problem. A common cause of a check engine light is a loose gas cap. You may be able to turn the light off by tightening the cap.


Fuel Warning Symbol

The low fuel indicator means that you have very little fuel left.


OilCheck Oil warning symbol

The oil pressure indicator light lets you know you have a problem. It can be that you havea leak or other pressure problem. If you see this light while driving, pull over and check your oil level. If it is low, add oil until you get to the full line on your dipstick. If there is no problem with the oil level, you may need to consult with a technician as soon as possible. A loss of oil in the engine can be a serious problem, so do not ignore this light.

Seat Belt SymbolSeat Belt

When you forget to fasten your seat belt, there will be a reminder light that will stay lit until you fasten it.


TemperatureCar Temperature

If this light comes on, you need to pay close attention to your engine. This is an indication there is overheating going on, and that can lead to serious and catastrophic engine problems. Stop and check for leaks in your radiator or hoses after your engine has cooled down. A stuck thermostat, a leak or a faulty water pump can cause overheating.

Tire PressureTire Pressure Symbol

This indicator lamp lets you know when a tire is running at below optimum pressure. Stop your car and check the tire pressures. Improper tire pressure can result in poor performance and handling.

Atypical Warning Lights

In addition to these common symbols, manufacturers have warnings that are specific to them. The rear spoiler warning light on the Porsche 911 that lets the driver know there is a spoiler problem is an example. The Peugeot 107 diesel has a glow plug warning light, and the Fiat Stilo has an electronic power steering warning lamp. Mercedes Benz will even tell you there is “no magazine” if you try to use the CD player while there are no CDs in it.

Got a warning light on your dashboard?  Schedule an appointment at Desert Oasis Auto Repair before you drive that car into the ground.