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Common Warning Lights and What They Mean

You use your car all of the time, and you expect it to perform. However, frequent use can lead to potential repairs, especially if you ignore the warning signs that your car gives you. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert to notice when something is wrong. Your car is equipped with warning lights that can let you know when you need to go to a service center as quickly as possible. Here are some of the most common dashboard warning lights that you’re likely to encounter and what you should do when you see them.

Check Engine

The check engine light, or malfunction indicator light, looks like a miniature engine. When it lights up, it typically indicates that your car’s computer has detected a problem. Most often, this light comes on if there is a part that needs replacement, such as spark plugs or the catalytic converter. The best way to find out is to take your car to the service center where they can use a diagnostic tool to determine the exact concern.

Oil Pressure

This light will come on if your car’s computer notices that your oil pressure is low. If you see this light, you should immediately check your vehicle’s oil level. You may not need an oil change, but you may be running low on oil. If the light flashes, your oil level may be seriously low. If your oil levels are just fine, it is wise to let a professional take a look to see if there is another problem.

Brake System

This light is a circle with an exclamation point in the middle. It indicates one of several issues with your brake system, including low brake fluid, an anti-lock brake problem, or that you have left your parking brake engaged. Check to see that you have enough brake fluid and that you’ve released the parking brake fully. If the light doesn’t turn off, you’ll need to have the problem diagnosed by a professional.


When your battery light illuminates, it may be warning you that the voltage is low and that you need to recharge or replace your battery. You may want to schedule an appointment at your service center to make sure that the battery’s charging system is working correctly.

Coolant Temperature Warning

If your engine’s temperature gets too high, the coolant temperature warning light may light up. Check to see if your coolant levels are high enough. If they are not, refill it to ensure that you don’t have a leak somewhere in the system.

Understanding what these dashboard lights mean ahead of time can save you a lot of worry and prepare you to take care of the issue head-on.