What is My Dash Trying to Tell Me?
Your dashboard is designed to keep the driver informed of vehicle health. Decode the dash lights and understand what your car is trying to tell you! The illustrations below are representations of warning lights, each vehicle may display a slight variation based on make and model.
ABS/ANTI-LOCK BRAKE SYSTEM LIGHT
The ABS light indicates a malfunction with the anti-lock brake system. Your onboard computer system will log an OBD2 code readable with a diagnostic tool. Triggers can range from a dirty wheel sensor to a loss of voltage. When the ABS light is on, your anti-lock brakes disengage and won't turn back on until your vehicle is serviced, but you should still have a normal brake pedal with stopping capabilities.
If the brake light is lit, make sure the parking brake is not engaged. Other reasons for this light could mean lack of hydraulic pressure or low brake fluid, both of which need immediate service attention. Brake fluid leaks are dangerous because your brakes could fail or brake components could get contaminated. Make sure your brakes are still stopping the vehicle, and get to a safe place to stop driving to call a tow.
CHECK ENGINE LIGHT
A Check Engine light is triggered by an abnormality detected by the vehicle's onboard computer system. This light can activate for a number of reasons with varying severity. It could be for something simple like a loose gas cap or something serious as an engine misfire. An OBD2 code, detailing the issue is logged and stored to be retrieved by diagnostic equipment. If your check engine light is on, please have your vehicle serviced as soon as possible. If the light is flashing, a potentially dangerous problem is ongoing, and the vehicle should not be driven.
An electrical system issue will trigger a vehicle's battery light. A loose wire, a weak alternator, or something else electrical could be going on with the vehicle. If this light comes on while driving, try to keep the engine running - if you turn off the car, it may not start otherwise.
TEMPERATURE WARNING LIGHT
As the vehicle's temperature is gauged, the Temperature Warning Light illuminates to indicate the engine is overheating. Overheating can be due to low coolant level or a more serious engine problem. If this light engages while you are driving, pull over immediately and turn the car off. Do NOT open the radiator cap without letting the vehicle cool down for 10 minutes because the pressure behind hot coolant will spray and burn.
TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEM (TPMS) LIGHT
The TPMS light is a warning to notify of a drop in air pressure in one or more tires. Add air to the tire(s) as soon as possible. If the tire(s) continues to lose air, a puncture may have occurred to the tire, and a patch or replacement may be warranted. Faulty sensors in the tire can also cause the TPMS light to come on. Proper service equipment is needed to replace a TPMS sensor.
FOG LAMP INDICATOR LIGHT
This light confirms your fog lights are on.
HEADLIGHT INDICATOR LIGHT
The Headlight Indicator serves as an affirmation that the headlamps are illuminated.
LOW FUEL LIGHT
Time to refuel! This light comes on when the vehicle senses the fuel is below a specified amount.
OIL PRESSURE LIGHT
The Oil Pressure Light means either the sensor has failed or your engine has low oil pressure. A leak or an engine burning oil could be the answer to a low oil pressure light. Check the vehicle's oil with the dipstick and add engine oil if needed.
TRACTION CONTROL SYSTEM LIGHT
Also known as Anti-Slip Regulation, Traction Control engages when slippery driving conditions make the wheels spin out of synch. The ABS system is triggered to apply brake friction to even out and stabilize the vehicle. If the Traction Control System Light activates, the ABS is disabled and cannot improve the slip while driving. If for an extended period the light stays on, the OBD2 code needs to be pulled for diagnosis.
Hazard Lights signal caution and this light on the dash indicates the hazard flashers are on.
The Airbag Light illuminates when there may be an issue with airbag deployment. Don't risk the airbags not working in an unforeseen accident, have your vehicle diagnosed as quickly as possible for everyone's safety.
DOOR AJAR LIGHT
The trunk or a door is not closed/latched properly if the Door Ajar Light is on. Check all the doors and trunk to verify they are closed properly. If the light stays on and every door/trunk is latched correctly, the vehicle's computer needs reset.
If your vehicle has a light on the dash that needs attention or cleared, please contact us. Dowell Automotive would be happy to check the OBD2 code and diagnosis any issues with your vehicle. We offer honest recommendations and quality repairs, at a fair price.
To make an appointment give us a call at 765-477-0333 or visit us.