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Understanding Car Dashboard Lights and Indicators

A car dashboard is a portion of the vehicle’s interior that is installed in the central console. Originally, the dashboard had a variety of simple buttons and indicators that displayed information such as speed, fuel level, and oil pressure. Gauges and controls, as well as information, climate control, and entertainment systems, may be found in modern models. Furthermore, car dashboards have a variety of warning lights that tell the driver when one of the many systems is malfunctioning.

If one of these lights remains illuminated while driving, it may indicate that something is wrong with your vehicle. You’ve probably noticed that the car dashboard lights come in a variety of hues, including red, amber, green, and blue. The majority of automobile dashboard lights are adaptable to all makes and models of vehicles, however, their placement on the dashboard may differ. Let’s look at some of the most typical warning lights on a car dashboard and what they indicate.


In this article, you’ll learn the various types of car dashboard lights and indicators, you’ll get to know their functions and what they try to signal you.


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Types of Car Dashboard Lights

Before we dive into the various types of vehicle dashboard lights, you need to know the meaning of the red, yellow, and blue lights.

Red Light

If the lighted light is red, something is wrong with your car or there is a safety hazard. In this instance, you should pull over to the side of the road, turn off the engine, and contact a repair agency or shop to determine whether your car is safe to drive or requires service.


Yellow Light

If the lighted light is yellow, it means that something, such as an oil change, has to be resolved quickly. Although it is not an emergency, you should address the issue as soon as feasible.


Blue Light

If the light is green or blue, it means a system is working well or is turned on, such as when your high beam headlights are turned on.


The following are the various types of car dashboard lights you should probably know: 

Traction control alert light

These automobile dashboard lights normally indicate that your vehicle is in good working order while retaining traction on a slick road. However, it could also indicate that your car’s sensors or cables are damaged. When the system detects a loss of traction, such as in snowy or rainy weather, the traction control warning light illuminates. If your car’s traction control light comes on, double-check that the traction control isn’t turned off. If your vehicle’s traction control light comes on while you’re driving, don’t worry; find a safe spot, turn off the engine, and restart it.

Anti-lock brake system warning light

ABS warning lights are automotive dashboard lights that alert the driver of a potential ABS problem (Anti-Lock Braking System). When a motorist presses the brake pedal in an emergency or on a slick surface, the ABS system prevents the wheels from locking. A bad ABS module, a low fluid reservoir level, a broken wheel speed sensor, or a system shutdown are all common causes for this signal to illuminate. With the ABS light on, the driver can still drive the automobile because regular braking is unaffected. The ABS warning light turning on and off like this is very typical, and it normally lasts approximately 2-4 seconds.

Check Engine Light

The check engine light is one of the dashboard lights on an automobile that indicates a problem with the powertrain (engine, transmission, and other components) that could result in increased exhaust emissions. The instrument panel is usually where you’ll find it. It turns amber or red when lighted. The check engine light might be caused by something as simple as a loose or malfunctioning gas cap. Stop driving if the check engine light flashes, as this can result in an engine misfire. In this instance, you can either pull over and ask for a tow or try to tighten the gas cap yourself.


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Battery alert light

The Battery Alert Light’s purpose is to notify when a battery is no longer being charged by the alternator and must rely on its own charge. In other words, the car is solely powered by its battery, which will ultimately run out, leading it to stall. A faulty or loose battery cable can result in an illuminated battery light. Even if your car’s battery light comes on while driving, you can keep driving for a brief time before it quits. You can prevent this by inspecting or testing the battery and inspecting the alternator.

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Low fuel indicator light

These are car dashboard lights that show how much petrol is left in the tank. It also warns the driver when the gasoline tank is nearly empty and how many miles remain. The latest versions also show the amount of gas left in the tank and the remaining mileage. As the gasoline level drops, debris from the bottom of the tank will begin to accumulate, causing damage to both the fuel filter and the fuel pump. Getting some gas/fuel is the quickest and easiest way to turn off the low fuel indicator light. If it continues to turn on, the fuel level sensor may malfunction.

Washer fluid indicator light

The washer fluid indicator light’s purpose is to alert the motorist that the windshield washer fluid level is low and to remind them to refill it. It’s critical to keep washer fluid in the reservoir to prevent it from drying out. This indicator is normally yellow and has a windshield icon on the dashboard of the vehicle. Simply check your windshield washer fluid and refill the tank if necessary to turn off this alert light. The light goes out as soon as you fill the reservoir with fluid.

Brake warning light

This car dashboard light is a deadly red color that signifies a brake system failure. The dangerous hue red denotes impending danger, potentially jeopardizing the vehicle’s overall safety. The majority of mechanics advise against driving a car with the brake warning light illuminated since it is risky. The brake warning light is usually illuminated when the parking brake is engaged or the brake pads are worn out. The brake warning light will illuminate if your parking brakes are even marginally engaged. Simply release the parking brake completely to resolve the issue.

Oil Pressure warning light

Every vehicle has an oil pressure warning light on the dashboard that illuminates when the oil pressure is too low. A defective oil pump, pickup tube, blocked oil filter, or an internal oil leak can potentially be the cause. If your oil warning light comes on while you’re driving, take it carefully because it means your car is potentially unsafe to drive. Stop driving and turn off the engine if the warning light comes on. Finding a safe area to park your car and checking the oil level is the best course of action.

Tire pressure warning light

The Tire Pressure Warning Light’s main purpose is to warn the driver when the tire pressure is too low, which can lead to dangerous driving conditions. If the light flashes, your car’s tires may not be properly inflated, resulting in uneven tire wear and possible tire failure. When the air pressure in one or more of your tires falls below 25%, the TPMS light illuminates. You must find your way to the mechanic shop or the air pump after the light has turned on. Continuing to drive your automobile with the lights on, however, is not safe. If this pattern persists, your vehicle’s tires may prematurely wear out.

Engine temperature warning light

The Engine Temperature Warning Light’s purpose is to notify the driver when the car engine is running at too high a temperature. To put it another way, the engine is overheating. When the light comes on, it could be due to overheating, a lack of cooling water, or a problem with the cooling system. Driving with the temperature lights on might result in serious engine damage and failure. Initially, the engine may make a knocking noise, indicating that the head gasket, rings, and pistons have been squandered. If the temperature light continues to illuminate, come to a complete stop in a safe, traffic-free area of the road.

Lane Departure warning light

Lane departure warning lights assist you in avoiding collisions caused by lane drifting or departure. The LDW light blinks with a beep sound when your vehicle moves out of its current lane without signaling. As a result, it aids in keeping you in your lane. This illumination will last for most of your journey. If you see the light is on, slowly return your car to the center of the lane. Press the LDW switch on the steering wheel to turn the system on or off to turn the LDW light off on its own.


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Transmission temperature warning light

These are also car dashboard lights that signal a higher-than-normal temperature in the transmission. This could indicate a lack of transmission fluid in your car, causing your transmission to overheat. You can drive your car until it reaches a temperature of 270 degrees Fahrenheit. When the transmission reaches this point, it will stop working. Driving with the light on can cause accidents, resulting in automobile damage and costly repairs. Until you stop driving and allow the transmission to cool down, the transmission temperature light will remain illuminated.

Types of Indicator Lights

The followings are the various types of indicator lights

Direction indicator light

These are also car dashboard lights that signal a higher-than-normal temperature in the transmission. This could indicate a lack of transmission fluid in your car, causing your transmission to overheat. You can drive your car until it reaches a temperature of 270 degrees Fahrenheit. When the transmission reaches this point, it will stop working. Driving with the light on can cause accidents, resulting in automobile damage and costly repairs. Until you stop driving and allow the transmission to cool down, the transmission temperature light will remain illuminated.

High beam indicator light

This is a light on the dashboard of the car that indicates that the high beams have been turned on. The high beam indication blue system appears on the dashboard as you transition from low to high beam. When you move from high to low beam, the light from the dashboard goes out automatically. Remember to dim your high beam lights when approaching other vehicles if you’re utilizing them.

Low beam indicator light

Car dashboard lights also include low beam indicator lights. It normally displays on the dashboard of the car as a green sign with lines pointing down from the headlamp. The low beam indicator illuminates whenever you point your headlights down. Its primary purpose is to reduce glare for oncoming cars. Most manufacturers recommend that drivers use dipped headlights between sunset and morning or whenever visibility is a problem.

Lamp out indicator light

The lamp out symbol on the dashboard usually means that the vehicle’s external lights aren’t operating or have burned out. Furthermore, this indicates that the connection to one of the lights is loose and has to be repaired.

Fog lamp indicator light

When the fog lights are turned on, the fog lamp’s indication light illuminates. Fog lights are fitted into some car models. To prevent reflected light from returning, these lights were originally placed lower than standard driving lights. A rear fog light is also available on some automobiles. When the headlights are set to low beams, fog lights are used. These are similar to headlights in that they include a dashboard indicator that alerts you when they’re on. Simply turn the fog light switch to the OFF position to turn off the fog light indicator.

Hood open indicator light

The hood open indicator light is only used for one thing: to ensure that the hood is completely closed. In the hood of an automobile, there is a sensor that serves as a basic electrical switch. The switch is open when the hood is down. When the hood is raised, the switch is also switched off, and a warning light illuminates the dashboard. If the light is on, simply pull uptight and double-check that the hood is properly closed.

Key not light

A key not light’s purpose is to warn you when your car’s key isn’t detected and you can’t drive without it. If the key is not detected, the light will turn orange or red, and if the key is in range, the light will become green. The main cause of the key not working is that the battery inside it is dead. When the key fob’s battery runs out, it won’t be able to connect with the automobile, and you won’t be able to start it. If the warning light comes on even when you have the correct key, replace the battery fob.

Door ajar

These are the dashboard lights that illuminate when a vehicle door is not properly closed. A door switch that fails in the open position is the most common cause of this. Many automobiles now come with door switches. When one of the doors is not entirely closed, the car’s computer monitors the switch and warns the driver. A wiring issue and a defective instrument cluster or module are other prevalent problems. To avoid this warning light, simply close all doors firmly, and the light will turn off on its own.

Seat belt reminder light

This is a safety light that signals whether or not a passenger has buckled up properly, whereas an empty seat indicates that the seatbelt is still secure. When the car is moving at more than 15 mph without a seat belt, the seat belt light illuminates. It is made up of a reed switch that is positioned inside the seat belt buckle and identifies whether or not the passenger is wearing their seat belt. Wearing your seatbelt will quickly turn off the seat belt light. If the seat belt light remains on even after you have fastened your seatbelt, you may need to hire an engineer to fix the problem.

Security indicator light

These types of automobile dashboard lights indicate whether the security system is working properly or if there is a problem with the system. Simply explained, it means that the key you’re using to start the car isn’t recognized by the car. This is due to the fact that the immobilizer protection system can be activated by an attempted theft, but it could also be a battery issue. Insert the key into the ignition and turn it to the ON position to avoid this. For around 10-15 minutes, leave the key in place.

Airbag warning light

When the airbag cannot be inflated in the case of a collision, the airbag warning lights signal a fault with the system. While all airbags may be compatible with the SRS system, malfunctioning airbags are a serious safety hazard. The most likely cause is a malfunctioning airbag clock spring. If the airbag light is illuminated, this is a perilous circumstance that you should avoid at all costs. It’s possible that these lights won’t turn off on their own and will need to be manually reset.


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Powertrain light

The powertrain warning light indicates that a problem with the automatic transmission or transaxle has been found. Additionally, this light can indicate an issue with the electronic shift control system. If the powertrain light comes on while driving, you should be able to continue driving if necessary. Slowing down, strange handling, and noise beneath the hood are the most common causes of powertrain breakdown. Turning the ignition on and off is the simplest approach to clear the powertrain light.

Electronic throttle control warning light

If there is an issue with the throttle system, the Electric Throttle Control warning light illuminates. The throttle body, the accelerator pedal, and the wiring that connects them make up the throttle system. The light indicates that you may be unable to either move or stop your vehicle. It is incredibly risky for you and your passengers to drive with your lights on. You can avoid this problem by manually resetting the electronic throttle control. It can, however, be a difficult task.

Watch the video below to learn more about vehicle dashboard lights:


There is a reason for all of these automotive warning dashboard lights. They’re designed to alert you to the fact that anything in your car isn’t working properly. As a car owner, it is critical to solving the problem with your vehicle as soon as possible. Ignoring such warning lights might result in major vehicle issues and expensive repairs. That is all for this article, where the various types of car dashboard warning or indicator lights are been discussed. I hope you learn a lot from the reading, if so, kindly share with other students. Thanks for reading, see you around!