Car Problems – What Do the Different Dashboard Lights Mean?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 74,291
    John Linden, Master ASE Certified Technician, and North America Training Manager for Midas, discusses what some of the different dashboard lights mean.

    John Linden: Hi! I'm John Linden, Master ASE Certified Technician and North America Training Manager for Midas International Corporation. Today I'd like to talk to talk to you about some of the common dashboard lights and what they mean. The oil light icon looks like an oil bottle with oil dripping out of it it. If the oil light comes on, it is an indication of low to no oil pressure. Oil should not leak out of an engine normally. Driving with the oil light on could cause major damage and lead to expensive repairs. The Check engine light icon looks like an engine, if this light comes on it usually indicates a problem with the emission control system. If this happened you should take your vehicle to a qualified shop that has the proper tools to diagnose and repair emission problems. The car's computer sets a code so the technician has a starting point to enable him to diagnose the problem. The red Brake warning light icon it looks like a circle with an exclamation point (!

    ) inside of it. All vehicles manufactured since 1966 they've had a red brake warning light that indicates to the driver that there is a problem in the hydraulic system of the brakes. Red means danger, so if the light is on you need to have the brakes checked immediately. Some vehicles use the red brake warning light for the parking brake. So before you get too concerned check to make sure the parking brake is off. The ABS or Antilock Brake System light icon is a circle with a letters ABS inside of it. ABS monitors the speed of each wheel when the brakes are applied. If one or more wheels were going faster than the other, it applies or releases that specific brake electronically even out the braking. When you're in a hard or an emergency stop it electronically pumps the brakes to prevent the wheels from locking up and skidding. This is a great safety feature, to know that if the ABS light is on the ABS system is not working properly. Although pedal may feel alright the ABS system needs to be checked as soon as possible. The windshield washer fluid level indicator icon looks like a windshield with two lines going through the top. It let's you know that you're low on windshield washer fluid. Some people use water instead of windshield washer fluid. All it'll work it is not a good idea, windshield washer fluid is formulated with a cleaning agent, and it also lowers the freeze point so it won't freeze in the winter months. Now that you know what these common dashboard lights represent you'll be more prepared to handle each one.