With all the warning lights and symbols in cars these days, it’s hard to know what each one means.
Because of advanced control systems, an automobile has many control units. The control units need a way to inform the driver of any potential problems, so they use different warning symbols.
But what do all these symbols mean, and what should I do when one appears on my dashboard? Don’t worry; in this article, you will learn the meaning of the most common warning lights.
If you cannot find your warning light in this list, I suggest you consult your repair/service manual for more information.
5 Most Important Dashboard Warning Symbols & Lights
Different cars may have slightly different-looking symbols. This list covers the general warning lights on the most common car models.
#1. Engine / Check Engine Warning Light
The Engine / Check engine light means there is a problem with your engine. This light appears when a fault code is stored in the engine control unit. You can find this sign in many forms, such as “Check Engine” and other informational text.
To repair this problem, you must find out what problem is causing the check engine light. You can do this by reading the trouble codes.
To read the trouble code memory, you must use an OBD2 scanner. You can do this at home or let an auto shop check your trouble code memory. If you want to read the trouble codes at home, you need an OBD2 scanner.
Some easy solutions are checking all the fuses, checking for vacuum leaks around the intake, and making sure the gas cap is tight.
How bad is the check engine light? The check engine light is often an indication of a problem with your engine. If the problem is not serious, you can continue driving with it, but be aware that your engine may shut down essential functions such as diesel particulate cleanup when the check engine light is on.
Always check the fault codes to make sure you can continue to drive with it or not. There could be a serious problem that could damage your engine if you sometimes ignore it.
#2. Service Engine Soon Warning Light
This warning light can have many different meanings depending on the model of the car you have. On most car models, it says there is a minor problem with the engine. It’s just a warning light on some cars that tells you it’s time according to the vehicle’s mileage or kilometer maintenance chart (such as oil replacement, changing the spark plugs, etc.).
Start by checking all fluids in the engine compartment. Check the oil level, transmission fluid level, brake fluid level, washer level, etc. Always check that all lights on the vehicle are working properly.
If everything is OK, you should check when the last service was performed and if it is time for a new service. If this is all correct, you should read the fault code memory to troubleshoot the problem. To learn more about what this warning light means, visit Youramazingcar.com.
How serious is the service engine soon light? The service engine soon light often comes on due to minor safe driving problems.
However, you should read the fault codes and fix them as quickly as possible, but driving as close to a repair shop as possible will not harm your engine.
#3. Battery/Alternator Charge Warning Signal
This light indicates that low voltage is detected. This light should be ON when the ignition is on, but the engine is off, but if this light appears when you are idling or driving, it means that the alternator is not charging your car’s battery properly, and your vehicle may stop suddenly.
To fix this problem, you must measure the voltage at which the alternator is charging the battery idle. To measure the voltage, you need a multimeter.
You can try a quick and easy trick to reach your alternator by giving it a small tap with a hammer when the car is idling to see if the light disappears.
If the light goes out while you are driving, it means that the alternator carbons are worn out and need to be replaced. In most cases, you will have to replace the entire alternator.
How bad is the battery light? The battery light is red, and when this light is on, there is a possibility that your alternator is not charging and your car’s battery is dead.
If your car’s battery is running low, the car will stop and will not restart without external power. If the light comes on, drive the shortest route to a safe place to have your vehicle towed.
#4. Brake Control Warning Light / ABS
This light means a problem with the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System). When this light is on, the ABS function is disabled. ABS control units use a wheel sensor on each wheel to check the speed of each wheel.
ABS is made not to lock up the brakes completely when you panic brake your vehicle. If you lock all four wheels due to hard braking, you will not be able to drive your vehicle.
The easiest way to get rid of the ABS light is to read the trouble code memory. Most of the time, there is a problem with a ring, sensor, or ABS wiring. But to find the correct troubleshooting wheel, you must read the fault codes with an OBD2 scanner. You can also check the fuses in the ABS control unit.
How bad is the ABS light? When the light is on, the entire ABS function is turned off, and it is unsafe to drive with it if you are unfamiliar with it. The light will likely not damage any other parts, but it is a road safety issue.
#5. Airbag / SRS Dashboard Warning Light
This light means a problem with your Airbag / SRS control system. When this light is ON, the airbag control system is completely disabled, and you will have no airbag to save you in an accident. That is why Iowalum always recommends fixing this problem as quickly as possible.
The airbag / SRS light comes on when the airbag control module has stored a trouble code. The quickest way to fix the problem is by reading and finding the trouble code in the memory.
You must use an OBD2 scanner to read the airbag control system. Note: Cheaper obd2 scanners can only read the engine control unit; if you want to read the airbag control unit, you may need a more advanced one or have a shop read it.
A common cause of the airbag light is the connector plug under the driver or passenger seat. If you noticed that the airbag light appeared when you moved the seat, it is most likely a bad connection at the connector under the seat. Disassemble it, clean it and clear the fault code memory.
How bad is the airbag light? When the light is on, your airbag system is not working, and the airbags will not activate in the event of an accident. Experts at Raceonthebase recommend getting it repaired as soon as possible, but it won’t hurt if you keep driving with it.