Can You Name These 12 Car Dashboard Lights?
Do you know what all the different lights on your car's dashboard mean? Or do you just ignore them and hope your car doesn't break down?
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Car Dashboard Lights
When a light on your dashboard illuminates, it usually means something is wrong with your car and you should take it a mechanic. It doesn’t mean waiting a few weeks to see if it turns off on its own.
Some lights indicate much bigger problems than others. The brake warning light, for instance, is a much more urgent fix than the washer fluid reminder light. The more you know about the dashboard lights, the easier it will be for you to identify the problem and know how quickly it should be addressed.
Test your knowledge below. If a light appears on your dash that you’re not familiar with, check your owner’s manual right away.
Answer: Brake warning light
The brake warning light means your emergency brake is on or there’s an issue with the brake system — the pads, the brake fluid or the brake lights on the back of your vehicle. All are vital to your safety. So if you see this light come on and the emergency brake is off, take it to the shop ASAP.
Answer: Automatic shift lock or engine start indicator
The ASL or engine start indicator light means your car is locked in neutral or park. You need to step on the brake to release the lock and shift the vehicle into reverse or drive.
Answer: Airbag indicator
Never put off getting your car looked at if your airbag light is on. In some cars, it will be a light with the letters SRS. It means something’s faulty in the system and your airbags may not deploy during an accident. It could indicate an issue with your seat belts, the airbag, the computer or the wiring that controls the airbags.
Answer: Check engine or malfunction indicator light (MIL)
The check engine light gets ignored a lot. It can mean that your car just needs a quick fix, or something is seriously wrong with your engine. It illuminates when your car’s diagnosis system detects a problem.
You don’t need to pull over and turn off your car the second the light comes on. But if you ignore it, you could end up making the damage much worse. So take your car in to get looked at as soon as possible.
Answer: Tire pressure warning light
The tire pressure warning light indicates one of your tires needs air. Low pressure can lead to uneven wear or tire failure. Filling the tires with air usually solves the problem. Be sure to check for nails, screws or anything that might cause a leak.
Answer: Washer fluid reminder
Luckily, when this light comes on, you can fix the problem yourself. It just means the washer fluid reservoir in your car needs to be refilled. Keeping a bottle of all seasons washer fluid in your garage is always a good idea.
Answer: Engine temperature warning light
In many cars, the engine temperature warning light turns blue when you start your car, meaning the engine hasn’t fully heated up. Then when it’s been running for a few minutes, it turns off.
If it ever illuminates red, it means that your engine is overheating. If you see that, pull over, shut off your engine and wait for it to cool down.
Answer: Automatic gearbox warning
Also called the automatic transmission light, this means there’s a possible problem with your automatic transmission. Most commonly, it comes on when the transmission fluid temperature is higher than normal.
Answer: Oil pressure warning light
The oil pressure warning light means the oil pressure in your car is low and you need an oil change, pronto. If it comes on, stop driving immediately. Driving with little or no oil will damage your engine.
Answer: Anti-lock brake warning
Your car’s anti-lock braking system allows your tires to maintain contact with the road in bad driving conditions, such as rain or snow, or when you stop quickly. It keeps your tires from locking up and causing your car to skid. If the ABS light illuminates while you’re driving, it means the system isn’t working properly and might not work when you brake.
Answer: Battery charge warning light
A car battery runs everything electrical — the engine’s control computer, the radio, the headlights, the ignition system, etc. To keep it running, all cars have a built-in recharging system. If the battery charge warning light comes on, it means the system isn’t working and your battery will die soon.
Answer: Traction control light
If your traction control light comes on, it means the system is active. It should come on when driving in slick conditions.