Understanding Your Car’s Warning Lights: What to Watch Out For

Understanding Your Car's Warning Lights

Vehicles are complicated pieces of machinery, but there are ways for the average driver to know when something is wrong. All modern cars, from a new Infiniti for sale to a 30-year-old minivan, have warning lights that signal a repair is needed. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common warning lights, what they mean, and what you should do when you see them.

Most Common Car Warning Lights

Chances are you’ve seen at least one or two warning lights illuminated on your dashboard before. Understanding what they mean will help you stay safe and reduce the chance of your car sustaining damage.

Engine Warning

·        Symbol: An outline of an engine.

·        Meaning: The vehicle’s engine or emission system is experiencing a malfunction.

·        Action: This can be one of the most serious warnings, so get the engine checked as soon as possible to prevent severe damage and a costly repair bill.

Engine Temperature Warning Light

·        Symbol: A thermometer in wavy water.

·        Meaning: The engine is getting too hot and is at risk of overheating.

·        Action: It’s best to stop the car as soon as you safely can and let the engine cool down. Driving while the engine is overheating can damage the engine. When you’re able, check the coolant levels and add more if needed.

Oil Pressure Warning

·        Symbol: An old-style oil can.

·        Meaning: The car’s oil pressure is below appropriate levels.

·        Action: Turn off the engine as soon as you can and check the oil level. Take the car to a mechanic to see if there may be an oil leak.

Battery Alert

·        Symbol: A battery with ‘+’ and ‘-’ symbols.

·        Meaning: The car’s battery voltage level is below normal.

·        Action: Your battery might be dying, or there’s a problem with the alternator or another component. Get the battery tested to find out if it needs to be replaced.

Brake Warning Light

·        Symbol: An exclamation mark inside a circle or circle with brackets.

·        Meaning: This could symbolize that brake fluid is low or something else has malfunctioned with the braking system.

·        Action: Try not to drive the car more than needed and make an appointment to get the brakes inspected.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

·        Symbol: An exclamation mark inside what looks like a tire.

·        Meaning: The tire pressure is too low or too high in one or more of your tires.

·        Action: Pull over and check your tires because this could mean a tire has been punctured and is going flat. If all the tires seem okay, check the tire pressure and see if a tire needs extra air.

These are just a few of the warning lights that can pop up. Familiarize yourself with all of the warning lights in your car’s manual so you won’t be caught off guard.

Take Your Car’s Warning Lights Seriously

The warning lights on your car let you know when something isn’t right with the inner workings of the vehicle, so make sure you know how to address them. It could be a matter of safety and preserving your car while avoiding extensive and expensive car repairs.


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