What Your Car Dashboard Signs Mean And How To Correct Them

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The dashboard has a lot of attractive signs that are not just for fancy as they can provide information as to how your car is functioning. You may find that a number of lights on your dashboard flash from time to time, but do you know what they mean?

Most of these dashboard signs indicate some sort of problem with your vehicle’s operating system, which may generally require a bit more investigation to find out the extent of the issue.

However, it’s always useful to have a basic understanding of the meaning of these lights, especially if it is something that you need to rectify immediately. Not all of these lights are universal, so the only way to know for sure is to consult your owner’s manual.

The guide below however is to help you with a general synopsis of the lights most commonly used by manufacturers on dashboards and what effects they have on your car.

Check Engine
The check engine sign means that the engine computer has detected some abnormality and reported a Diagnostic Trouble Code that your dealer can scan to identify the issue. If you find out that the check engine light of your car begins flashing, the issue is a complex one and you shouldn’t attempt to drive your car till you see a car technician.

The battery sign flashing on the dashboard signals that your car’s voltage has dropped below acceptable levels and is not correctly being charged by your vehicle. You may need a professional to inspect your alternator belt, battery terminals, and battery.

Coolant Temperature
This simply tells you your engine is too hot! You will need to look at fans, your radiator cap, and to check coolant levels and for leaks.

Airbag Warning
If this warning indicator remains on, a possible airbag malfunction has been detected and logged by your vehicle’s computer. Seek the help of a professional.

Wiper Fluid
Your wiper fluid is low. Check all storage tanks as per your owner’s manual and refill as needed. Doing this proactively keeps you safer on the road.

Transmission Overheating
Your transmission is running hot. Make sure you have adequate transmission fluid and engine coolants.

Oil Pressure Alert
If the oil pressure alert remains on, your vehicle is losing oil pressure. Check both oil level and pressure immediately.

Oil Change Reminder
This means that your oil life has reached 0% and needs to be changed. This reminder is determined by your vehicle’s computer based on miles driven and other data.

Service Soon
This is an indicator of several possible electrical problems including malfunctioning exterior lights, traction control, or internal communication. It is recommended that you service your vehicle as soon as possible.

Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
This light tells you that one or more of your tyres has low air pressure or a sensor has misfired. Check tyre pressure accordingly, and visit your dealership if the light cannot be manually reset.

This light indicates the parking brake is engaged or that something is wrong with your brakes or ABS. Make sure brake fluid levels are correct and the parking brake is completely off.

Reduced Power Warning
This indicates that a broken component has caused your engine’s computer to limit engine output to safe levels to compensate for the issue. Your car’s CPU will likely need scanning.

Anti-lock Brakes
An issue with the ABS has triggered the computer and requires the diagnosis of a technician.

Gas Cap
Your vehicle’s gas cap is not attached properly. This may also trigger your check engine light.

Cruise Control
Indicates your vehicle’s cruise control is engaged.

ESP Fault
There are issues with your electronic stability system or traction control. Contact a trusted technician.

Your ignition switch is locked and your alarm code will need to be entered to re-engage it. If this indicator displays while your vehicle is running or on the move, your car security system has a problem.

Headlight/Taillight Out
An exterior light on your vehicle is not fully working or has gone out.

Traction Control/ESP
This dashboard signal indicates that traction control is enabled. This comes on mostly on slick roads.

Door Ajar
A door or the vehicle’s trunk or hood is not fully shut.

Your vehicle’s performance mode is engaged.

Glow Plug (Diesel)
Your engine’s glow plugs are engaged and heating. Do not start the engine until this indicator is off.

Exhaust Particulate Filter (Diesel)
There is an issue with your exhaust filter that requires service.

Exhaust Fluid (Diesel)
Your diesel exhaust fluid levels are low. Locate and refill your reservoir as per your owner’s manual.



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