Dashboard Lights on a Car; Various Types & Indications (With PDF & FAQs)

A car dashboard is the interior part of the car that is attached to the center console. Initially, the dashboard had various simple buttons and gauges that displayed information such as speed, fuel level, and oil pressure. Displays and controls, information, climate control, and entertainment systems are found on the latest models. In addition, there are various warning lights on the car’s dashboard to warn the driver when one of the many systems is malfunctioning.

If any of these lights stay on while driving, it may indicate a problem with your vehicle. You may have noticed that car dashboards come in many different shades, such as red, amber, green, and blue. Most automotive dashboard lights can be customized for all vehicle makes and models, but placement on the dashboard may vary. Let’s take a look at the most typical warning lights on car dashboards and what they mean.

Dashboard Lights on a Car
Dashboard Lights on a Car

In this article, learn about different types of car dashboard lights and gauges, what they do, and what they’re meant to tell you.

Types of Car Dashboard Lights

Before we delve into the different types of car dashboard lights, we need to understand what red, yellow, and blue lights mean.

Red Light

If the light is red, there is either a problem with your car or a safety issue. In this case, you should pull over to the side of the road, turn off the engine and contact a garage to determine if the vehicle is safe to drive or if it needs service.

Yellow Light

If the illuminated lamp is yellow, the oil change needs to be resolved quickly. This is not an emergency, but the issue should be addressed as soon as possible.

Blue Light

If the light is green or blue, it means the system is working normally or has power.

Below are the different types of car dashboard lights you should probably know about.

Traction control alert light

The dashboard lights on cars usually indicate that the vehicle is in good condition while maintaining traction on slippery roads. However, it can also indicate damaged sensors or wires in your car. The traction control warning light illuminates when the system detects a loss of traction, such as snow or rain. If your car’s traction control lights up, make sure the traction control is not turned off.

If your vehicle’s traction control lights come on while you’re driving, don’t worry. Find a safe place, stop the engine and restart it.

Anti-lock brake system warning light

The ABS warning light is a car dashboard light that warns the driver of potential ABS (anti-lock braking system) problems. The ABS system prevents the wheels from locking if the driver presses the brake pedal in an emergency or on slippery roads.

Common causes for this signal to illuminate are ABS module failure, low fluid reservoir level, wheel speed sensor failure, or system shutdown. The ABS warning light on and off is very typical and usually lasts about 2-4 seconds.

Check Engine Light

The Check Engine Light is a vehicle dashboard light that indicates problems with the powertrain (engine, transmission, and other components) that can lead to increased emissions. The instrument panel is usually where you find it. When lit, it turns yellow or red. A Check Engine Light can be caused by something as simple as a loose or broken gas cap. Stop when the Check Engine Light flashes as this can cause the engine to misfire. In this case, stop and ask for a tow, or try tightening the gas cap yourself.

Battery alert light

The purpose of the low battery warning light is to report when the battery is no longer being charged by the alternator and must rely on its own charging. In other words, the car is powered solely by the battery and will eventually wear out and stall. A defective or loose battery cable can cause the battery light to come on. Even if your car’s battery warning light comes on while driving, you can continue driving for a while. You can prevent this by inspecting or testing your battery and checking your alternator.

Low fuel indicator light

These are dash lights that indicate how much gas is left in the tank. It also warns the driver of how many kilometers are left when the petrol tank is almost empty. The latest version also shows how much fuel is left in the tank and the remaining mileage. As the fuel level drops, deposits begin to collect from the bottom of the tank, damaging both the fuel filter and fuel pump. Getting gas/fuel is the quickest and easiest way to turn off the low fuel indicator light. If it stays on, the fuel level sensor may not be working properly.

Washer fluid indicator light

The purpose of the washer fluid indicator is to warn the driver that the windshield washer fluid level is low and remind them to top up. It is important to keep the washer fluid in a container so that it does not dry out. This indicator is usually orange and has a windshield icon on the vehicle’s dashboard. To extinguish this warning light, check your washer fluid and top up if necessary. The light turns off as soon as you add liquid to the container.

Brake warning light

This car’s dashboard is a deadly red, indicating a failure of the braking system. A dangerous shade of red indicates an imminent danger that may endanger the overall safety of the vehicle. Most mechanics advise against driving with the brake warning light on as it is dangerous. The brake warning light usually comes on when the parking brake is applied or when the brake pads are worn. If you step on the parking brake even slightly, the brake warning light will come on. To fix the problem, fully release the parking brake.

Oil Pressure warning light

All vehicles have an oil pressure warning light on the dashboard that comes on when oil pressure is low. It could be caused by a clogged oil pump, intake manifold, oil filter, or an internal oil leak. If the oil warning light comes on while driving, please be aware that you may not be able to drive safely. If the warning light comes on, stop and turn off the engine. The best thing to do is find a safe place to park your car and check the oil level.

Tire pressure warning light

The main purpose of the low tire pressure warning light is to warn the driver when the tire pressure is too low and can lead to a dangerous driving situation. If the lights are flashing, your car’s tires may not be properly inflated, which can lead to uneven tire wear and tire failure. Once the lights come on, you’ll need to find your way to the workshop or air pump. However, it is not safe to continue driving with the lights on. If this pattern continues, the vehicle’s tires can wear out prematurely.

Engine temperature warning light

The purpose of the overheating engine warning light is to inform the driver that the temperature of the car’s engine is too high. In other words, the engine overheats. If the light comes on, it could be due to overheating, lack of coolant, or a problem with the cooling system. Driving with the temperature light on can result in serious engine damage or failure. Initially, the engine may make a knocking noise. This indicates that the head gasket, rings, and piston are worn out. If the temperature light remains on, come to a complete stop on a safe, traffic-free area of ​​the road.

Transmission temperature warning light

These are also dashboard lights to let you know when the temperature inside the transmission is above average. This could indicate a lack of transmission fluid in the car, which can cause the transmission to overheat. You can drive the car until it reaches a temperature of 270 degrees Fahrenheit. When the transmission reaches this point, it stops working. Driving with the lights on can lead to accidents, damage to your vehicle, and costly repairs.

Types of Indicator Lights

The followings are the various types of indicator lights

High beam indicator light

This is the light on your car’s dashboard that indicates your high beams are on. A blue high beam system appears on the dashboard when switching from low beam to high beam. When switching from a high beam to a low beam, the dashboard lights are automatically turned off. If you are using high beams, remember to dim them when approaching other vehicles.

Low beam indicator light

Car dashboard lights also include low-beam indicator lights. This usually appears on your car’s dashboard as a green shield with a line pointing downwards from your headlights. Its main purpose is to reduce the glare of oncoming traffic. Most manufacturers recommend that drivers use low beams between sunset and morning, or when visibility is poor.

Fog lamp indicator light

The fog lamp indicator light will illuminate when the fog lamps are on. Fog lights are built into some vehicle models. These lights were originally placed lower than standard driving lights to prevent reflected light from returning. Some vehicles also have rear fog lights. Fog lights are used when the headlights are set to low beam. These are similar to headlights in that they contain dashboard gauges that alert you when they are on.

Hood open indicator light

The hood of a car has sensors that act as basic electrical switches. The switch is open when the hood is down. Lifting the hood also switches off and a warning light illuminates the dashboard. When the light comes on, make sure the hood is properly closed.

Seat belt reminder light

This is a safety light that lets you know if your seat belt is properly fastened, and an empty seat indicates that your seat belt is still fastened. The seat belt lights come on when the vehicle is moving over 15 mph (24 km/h) without wearing a seat belt. It consists of a reed switch placed inside the seat belt buckle to detect whether the passenger is wearing a seat belt. As soon as you fasten your seatbelt, the seatbelt light will turn off. If your seatbelt light remains on after you fasten your seatbelt, you may need to contact a technician to fix the problem.

Security indicator light

These types of automotive dashboard lights indicate whether the security system is working properly or if there is a problem with the system. Simply put, this means that the key you use to start your car is not recognized by your car. This is because the immobilizer protection system can be triggered by an attempted theft, but it could also be a battery issue. To avoid this, put the key in the ignition to the ON position. Leave the key alone for about 10-15 minutes.

Powertrain light

A powertrain warning light indicates that a problem has been found with the automatic transmission or transaxle. This light can also indicate a problem with the electronic shift control system. If the powertrain lights come on while driving, you can continue driving if desired. The most common causes of powertrain failure are slowing, odd handling, and noise under the hood. The easiest way to turn off the powertrain lights is to turn the ignition on and off.

Conclusion

All these dashboard warning lights have a reason. They are designed to warn you that something is not working properly inside your vehicle. As a car owner, it’s important to resolve car issues as quickly as possible. Ignoring such warning lights can lead to serious vehicle problems and expensive repairs. That’s all for this article explaining the different types of dashboard warnings or indicator lights. I hope you can read and learn a lot. If so, please share it with other students.

Thanks for reading, see you soon with the next article.

Further Readings: Related Articles

Click on the below links to read relatable articles.

Lights On a Car

Interior Parts of a Car

Exterior Parts of a Car

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a car dashboard?

A car dashboard is the part of the car interior that is attached to the car’s center console. The dashboard originally contained a series of simple controls and gauges showing speed, fuel level, oil pressure, and more. Modern types may have gauges and controls, as well as information, climate control, and entertainment systems.

What does the light at no charge mean on my dashboard?

This dashboard icon is shown with the battery, the issue that triggers this alert could be related to the vehicle’s entire electrical system in addition to battery issues. If this light comes on, pay close attention to your vehicle’s electrical system. For example, if your headlights seem dim, you may need a new battery.

What does the Check Engine light mean on a car?

The Check Engine Light, or CEL for short, is one of the most common dashboard warning lights, but also one of the least specific. This is because the Check Engine Light warns of engine-related problems.

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Atul Singla

Hi ! I 'm Atul. I am PMP certified Mechanical (Piping) Engineer with more than 17 Years of experience. Worked in the field of Plant design for various industries such as refinery, petrochemical & chemical, Fertilizer, gas Processing industries. Developed passion about Piping while working with national & international engineering consultants on diverse projects involving international clients. Developed courses on Piping Engineering to share the knowledge gained after working with many industry experts, through out these years.

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