Car Dash Lights – What Do They Mean?
You’re familiar with your speedometer, your rev counter and your petrol gauge. But what about all those other lights and alerts on your dash – do you know what they mean? Ignoring a ‘Check engine’ light might be tempting but it’s there for a reason, and if you don’t respond to it as quickly as possible then you could face a considerable repair bill at best, or be driving a potentially dangerous car at worst. Here’s a quick guide to the most common dash lights, and what they mean.
The Tyre Pressure Light
A ‘vase’ shaped yellow light with an exclamation mark in the middle, this isn’t a feature of all cars but if you do have it on your dash it could quite literally be a lifesaver. The light is attached to sensors on each of your wheels, and if one of your tyres is under pressure it will alert you straight away. The easiest response is to pull into a garage and check the air pressure on each of your tyres or check for a puncture.
Engine oil light
Shaped like an oil can with a drip hanging from the spout, this is one light you definitely do not want to ignore. If your engine oil light comes on it could mean either that you are low on engine oil (which could cause the engine to overheat) or that you are losing oil pressure, which is an indication of a serious fault. Find a safe place to pull over and stop. Once the engine has cooled you can check your oil levels and if you have some oil on you, top up as necessary. If your engine oil levels are normal then our advice is to get the vehicle to a service centre as quickly as you can.
Brake system light
A circle with a curved line either side and an exclamation mark in the middle, this light tells you that your brake fluid levels may be running low. This could result in a loss of braking ability, so it is important to respond to this light as soon as it comes on. If in doubt, take it to a repair centre and ask a technician to check your brake system thoroughly.
This is an easy one to spot as it’s shaped like your car battery. It may indicate that there is a fault with your battery and although your vehicle may be running, it could mean that the alternator is not working correctly or that your wiring has a fault. This should be fixed as soon as possible as a faulty battery could result in a loss of power.
Emissions control light/ Check Engine light
This is the strange yellow light that looks vaguely like a submarine (but is in fact a representation of the engine) that most people are unaware of. This is your ‘check engine’ light and for emissions indicates that there is a problem with your emissions control, which usually means your catalytic convertor has stopped working correctly or that your engine is running too rich or too lean. It is an important light that needs to be responded to as soon as possible as it may indicate a serious mechanical fault with the engine.
A yellow circle with a curved line on either side and the initials ABS in the middle. If this light comes on then it’s time to get your car into a service centre as quickly as you can as it indicates that the ABS braking system is faulty.
Some vehicles have sensors in the seats that indicate when a person is sitting there and whether or not their seatbelt is fastened. In modern cars you may not be able to start the vehicle without ensuring everyone has their seatbelts done up properly. This is an easy fix and as soon as the seatbelts are engaged the light will go out.
If you do notice other lights appearing on your dash and you’re not sure what they mean, you can always go online and use our contact us form to book your car in for a service at Al-Futtaim Fastfit Centers, and we’ll make sure everything is working correctly and that your car is safe to drive. But our top tip is never to ignore dash lights – they’re there to help you!