Dashboard Lights 101

Dashboard Warning Lights are nothing new. This list is the most commonly used symbols used by auto manufacturers. 

Check Engine Light
Indicates the engine computer has a set Diagnostic Trouble Code. Usually requires diagnosis from professional. 

Battery Charging Alert
Indicates voltage level is below normal and the vehicle's charging system is not functioning properly. Check battery condition, alternator belt or battery terminal. 

Coolant Temperature Warning
Coolant Temperature SymbolIndicates temperature has exceeded normal limits. Check coolant level, fan operation, radiator cap, and look for coolant leaks. 

Transmission Temperature Alert
Transmission Temperature WarningIndicates transmission is operating at a higher temperature than is optimal, and transmission fluid is hotter than normal. Check transmission fluid level and engine coolant level. 

Oil Pressure Warning
Oil Pressure WarningIf this light remains lit, it indicates a loss of oil pressure. Immediately check oil level and pressure. 

Oil Change Reminder
Oil Change ReminderIndicates that oil has expired. Oil will need to be changed, and the light will need to be reset. The reset procedure is listed in your owner's manual. Some vehicles require the use of special tools to reset the light. 

Service Vehicle Soon
Service Vehicle SoonIndicates a lighting or other electrical problem. Check all lights! This symbol may also be used to warn a driver of a traction control problem, or a communication problem between modules. 

Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Tire Pressure Monitoring SystemIndicates there is a tire with low air pressure or a possible sensor malfunction. Check tire pressure. Some vehicles will allow manual resetting of this light, while others will require a professional. 

Brake System
Brake SystemIndicates one of 3 possible conditions: parking brake is on, problem with the braking system/brake fluid is low, or ABS problem. Check brake fluid, and ensure parking brake is fully released. If it's an ABS problem, you will need a professional diagnosis.

ABS Light
ABS LightIndicates that the Anti-Lock Brake computer has set a code and needs professional diagnosis. 

Reduced Power Warning
Reduced Power WarningIndicates Engine Computer has limited power output. There are many levels of reduced power. This will require a professional diagnosis. 

Gas Cap Alert
Gas Cap AlertIndicates that the gas cap was not tightened properly. If not addressed, often the Check Engine light will also come on. 

Cruise Control
Cruise ControlIndicates that cruise control is set.


ESP Fault
ESP FaultIndicated that there is a problem with the Traction Control or Electronic Stability System on your vehicle. 

Security Alert
Security AlertIf this symbol lights up momentarily, it may mean that the ignition switch is locked and will need the proper transponder-equipped key to restart. If this symbol is visible when the vehicle is on, it usually indicated a malfunction in the security system.

Lamp Out
Lamp OutIndicated that there is an exterior light on the vehicle that is not functioning properly.

Traction Control or ESP
Traction ControlIlluminates when the vehicle's traction control/anti-skid or electronic stability system is in use. This usually indicated that road conditions are slippery. 

Door Ajar
Door AjarIndicates that a door (including hood or trunk) is not closed. Open and close all doors. If vehicle is left in this condition overnight, it can drain the battery.

Overdrive Light
Overdrive LightThis symbol indicates that the vehicle's overdrive system has been turned off. This system is typically controlled by an on/off switch. 

Airbag Fault
Airbag FaultIf this light stays illuminated after starting, it is an indication that the vehicle has found a fault in the airbag system and the computer has set a code. Professional repair is highly recommended. 

Washer Fluid Reminder
Washer Fluid ReminderIndicates washer fluid is low. Fill washer fluid reservoir. The cap has a symbol that looks like a windshield. Some vehicles have separate reservoirs for front and rear window washers.

Fog Lamp
Fog LampIndicates that your vehicle's fog lamps are illuminated. 


Remember, not all warning lights are universal. Always refer to your owner's manual when you're not 100% sure what the light is indicating. 

If a warning light illuminates the need for a professional diagnostic, contact us at 519-338-2017 to make an appointment today!