Do Car Warning Lights And Symbols Sometimes Make You Feel Half-witted?

Do Car Warning Lights And Symbols Sometimes Make You Feel Half-witted?

No matter how often you drive, you have probably seen those lights flashing on the car’s dashboard or instrument panel. What are those lights? Basically, there are loads of signs that flash up to let you know you need to get to a mechanic or advise about something that needs checking or maintenance. How many can you identify? You may have no clue what the tire pressure or the check engine warning lights are but don’t fret.

What follows is a list of truly serious warning symbols and indications that may appear on your car’s dashboard, and the action to take in such case. A little more knowledge will save you lots of headaches.

The check engine warning light 


Indication: This symbol may warn of a potential problem with the engine or just a faulty sensor or other minor issue. Whenever this warning pops up, your car must be checked even if it feels normal when driving. A proper diagnosis will save you from costly maintenance which can steam from potential damage resulting from negligence.

Oil pressure warning light



Indication: This is one of the most serious warning lights of all. If the light shows up, it indicates the loss of oil pressure, meaning lubrication is low or completely lost. Without the wavy line, the engine is telling that the oil pressure is low. With a wavy line below the oil can it is telling that the oil level is low.

In both cases, the oil level and pressure must be checked. If the oil level is low, have the engine serviced as soon as possible to avoid serious engine damage that can result from Low oil pressure.

To make the light go out, you may simply have to service your engine but if it remains on, take it to a technician for there could be a much more serious issue.


This one is slightly different from the above. It adds a thermometer above the image, so it’s an Oil Temperature Indicator symbol.

This warning symbol is particularly found in vehicles with high-performance engines. It indicates that the engine oil is very hot. To solve the issue and make the light go out pull over and shut down the engine as soon as possible to give it some time to cool down.

Brake system warning light



In some cases it can appear with the word Brake at the top of the image. When the same symbol has a “P” inside, it is for parking brakes which simply indicates that the parking, or emergency brake is engaged.

Indication: This warning light may indicate a serious problem with the brakes. It can suggest that hydraulic pressure has been lost in one side of the brake system or that the fluid level in the master cylinder is very low.-Not always. The light can also be on to indicate that the handbrake is on. 

This brake system warning light requires urgent attention. Whenever it turns on, make sure the handbrake is fully released, and if it doesn’t solve the problem driving your car any further could well be dangerous! Bring your car to a stop immediately and call for technical support.

Battery charge warning light


Indication: This warning light indicates a number of things, all relating to the car’s battery and charging system. The problem may be due to a bad battery which is not charging and needs to be replaced, it could also be due to a problem with the car’s wiring or an alternator which is not sending enough charge to the battery causing it to be weak.

The vehicle should be brought to stop quickly and call your technician to identify the problem. If you neglect the problem the engine might stop working.

This is a Hybrid battery Warning symbol.  It is distinguished from the battery charge warning symbol with the addition of the word Main beneath the image. It indicates a malfunction in a Hybrid car’s main hybrid battery.

Temperature warning light


Indication: When it comes to this self-explanatory symbol, the color dictates the nature of the problem. 

When it’s red, it indicates that the engine temperature is too high or there isn’t enough cooler in the system. When you see this light, you need to stop and turn off the engine quickly then check coolant level or fan operation.

If it’s blue, the symbol indicates that the coolant temperature is below what is needed for maximum performance. And if the light blinks red and blue, it indicates an electrical malfunction in the cooling system. 

In any case, if you notice this light your car needs to get looked at by a garage.

Low-fuel warning light


Indication: This symbol is fairly self-explanatory, but we’ll go through it anyway. The warning light illuminates when the fuel is low and is designed to give enough warning so you can find a nearest fuel station.

This symbol is a Fuel Sensor warning light. It is almost identical to the low-fuel warning indicator, except the addition of an exclamation point to one side.

It indicates a failure of the fuel sensor, telling you that the level shown on the fuel gauge might not be accurate.

This is a Fuel Shut Off Indicator warning light. It has the same symbol as a low fuel warning light, but with a line crossed through it. When it shows up on your dashboard, it tells that the fuel has been cut off.

Tyre-pressure sensor warning


Indication: The tire pressure sensor constantly monitors the amount of air in the tyres. A drop may be detected, it’ll show a warning causing the light to illuminate. If you see this warning you’ll need to check and inflate the tyre. If the tire has an obvious puncture, you’ll need to change the wheel or repair the puncture.

Seat-belt warning light


Indication: This is a Seat-belt Reminder Indicator which means that a seat belt has not been secured for the front passengers in the vehicle. The symbol appears in the center of the reminder light it’s for the driver and if it appears to the right it’s for the passenger. If the warning light is on it simply wants you to put on your seat belt.

If the warning light is on and the vehicle is moving, you will likely see it flashing. Sometimes the warning may be accompanied by a noise, too.

Door/Hood/boot/ open warning lights


Indication: The warning doesn’t usually mean that there’s anything physically wrong with the car. Instead, it indicates that the door, hood, boot or the sun proof is open or not properly latched. When the warning light illuminates, close whatever is shown as open or check that nothing is preventing it from fully closing. If it’s the sunroof, close it if you wish.

Master Warning Light


Indication: This warning light indicates that one or more warning systems have been detected. The warning is likely to come along with the text on the instrument panel, or another warning light. In this case, you need to pay attention to the text in particular. It could very well illustrate something. Surprisingly, despite the serious look to the symbol, it is generally associated with simple reminders such as a door open warning light or an oil change reminder.  

Information Warning Light


Indication: This light will turn on when a new message is stored in the information display. It may be red or somewhat yellow in color depending on the seriousness of the message. The light will remain on until the cause of the message is solved.

Distance Warning Light


Indication: The warning light means you are very close to the vehicle in front or is being approached too quickly. It may also indicate that a stationary obstacle in the direction of travel.

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)


Indication: If the lights come on during normal driving, it means there may be a malfunction in the ABS system which does the job of keeping the car from skidding out of control during braking in a slippery environment.

Windshield Wiper Failure warning light


The symbol shows a windshield and wiper. Sometimes the symbol can have an additional exclamation point

Indication: When this warning light illuminates it means that the windshield wipers are inoperative. It may be due to the fault in the windshield wiper switch, the wiper motor, or any other issue. Well, the light is just a warning and it does not help with additional diagnosis. You need to work on solving the issue or contact a qualified repair to check individually each of the components suspected to cause the problem.

Low Windshield Washer Fluid Warning light


Indication: The symbol resembles an open hand-held fan, which is otherwise supposed to be the windshield with the dashed lines representing two streams of water.

This light illuminates only to let you know the windshield washer is low and to remind you that you should fill the windshield washer fluid tank as soon as possible. 

Fuel Filter Warning


Indications: This light will illuminate to let you know the fuel filter is full, and needs to be emptied to avoid engine damage.

Power steering warning light


Indication: The symbol of a steering wheel alongside the exclamation point can appear in red or yellow depending on the manufacturer.  The symbol illuminates to indicate trouble in the power steering. To solve the issue you do “reset” by shutting down the engine and restarting it and if the warning light does not go out you will need to call for technical assistance. True, the vehicle can be driven with a power steering failure but it is not advisable by any means. So please, whenever you receive this warning, proceed with caution.

Transmission warning light


Indication: This warning light can indicate an actual transmission system malfunction, or high transmission temperatures.

If the warning light blinks it communicates a malfunction in the transmission system which can make the vehicle not able to be driven. In this case you need to contact a qualified repair as soon as possible.

If the light comes on steadily, it’s that the transmission may be overheated. In this case you need to give your car some idle time until the light goes out. And if this happens regularly, it is advisable to see your mechanic.

Loose Wheel Warning Indicator 


Indication: This warning light indicates that a wheel is actually loose. It is represented by a tire and wheel with a spanner above it and it is red in color. Don’t ever ignore this warning light as doing so can lead to an accident. Try to fix the problem as soon as you get the warning.

These are immediate maintenance required warning symbols though they can flash up when there is no serious problem just to remind you of a routine maintenance such as an oil change. Do not ignore any of them. Whenever you see a warning light, attend to it!

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