What every driver should know about dash warning lights
Check engine light – The check engine light is usually amber in color and indicates a fault in the vehicle’s on-board system. The on-board computer monitors and controls all engine functions; Engine, emissions, fuel, exhaust, transmission and more. When the computer detects a fault, it will turn on the light to alert the driver.
Flashing check engine light – A flashing check engine light indicates a severe malfunction in the engine that’s affecting correct engine function, resulting in loss of power and increased emissions. Under this condition, the vehicle must not be operated for any extended period.
Antilock brake (ABS) and/ or brake light – This ABS light indicates a malfunction in the antilock brake system. When the light is on, the ABS system is disabled until the fault is repaired. Because this is an important safety feature repairs should be made as soon as possible. A brake light illumination indicates a failure within the conventional brakes system or in the parking brake system. Low brake fluid level in the master cylinder will also turn on the brake warning light. On some vehicles, an antilock failure will turn on both the ABS light and the brake light.
Traction control light – With this light on, a computer will disable the traction control feature. The car can be driven until repairs are made. Traction control helps the vehicle drive through slippery road conditions.
Oil light – The oil light is an indication of low oil pressure or low oil level. Low oil pressure or lack of the proper amount of oil can cause irreversible engine damage. Check the oil level and refill if low. If the level is correct the vehicle should not be driven until tested by a qualified technician. If the level was found low, the vehicle still needs to be checked. You may have an engine leak.
Tire Pressure monitoring system (TPMS) – All new cars are required to be equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system. Some vehicles will shine a dash light; other models will actually indicate which tire is low on pressure.
Battery light or GEN light, or Alt – This light indicates a failure in the battery or in the battery recharging system. With this light on you have only a limited amount of time (maybe an hour or so) until the engine will stall.
Coolant light or temperature light (or gauge) – This light is an indication that the engine is exceeding normal operating temperature. Driving for extended periods with this light on may cause severe internal engine damage. Some vehicles may use a gauge.