What is the meaning of dashboard warning lights?

The dashboard warning lights could give the driver a general understanding of where the problem is originating from. For example, reduced engine power warning light informs drivers that the car’s acceleration capacity has reduced but it doesn’t tell the driver the exact reason behind this occurrence. Further, the dashboard warning lights don’t show the exact problem that is causing the light to show up. This means that the driver has to investigate the matter further.

Different types of cars have an onboard computer that assesses the operating conditions of the car. Each onboard Computer has been programmed differently from one car to another. Hence the reason why the dashboard icons vary but their message is the same. After an analysis of the working conditions the computer communicates to the driver using dashboard warning lights.

The Dashboard lights are put into different unique categories that are inclusive of;

  • Safety dashboard lights.
  • Warning dashboard lights.
  • Lighting dashboard lights.

These types of dashboard warning lights usually vary depending on how the manufacturer programs the onboard computer. But there are some that are universal for each type of car. Those are the ones we are about to look at below.

1. Check engine warning light.

Check engine dashboard warning light

This dashboard warning light is meant to be a warning that something is wrong within the car’s system. Mostly this is caused by a faulty sensor or the catalytic converter. In fact, this is one of the most feared dashboard warning lights. Because most people don’t know what could be the problem.

In some onboard computers, this light shows up when the engine is turned on. This is meant to make sure that everything within the system  is working as it should. After a few seconds this light goes out, which confirms that the system is functioning appropriately. Alternatively, if it stays on that means there is an issue within the system.

This warning light does not show the exact origin of the issue within the system. So you have to perform further investigations into what is causing this.

2. Brake warning light.

Brake dashboard warning lights.

This is a warning light that is associated with the car’s braking system’s parts. The warning light is popular for showing up when you engage the parking brake. If after removing this parking brake the lights remains in place, it’s an indication that something is wrong within the brake system.

Most of the time the issue is usually the loss of brake fluid due to a leakage. To identify if the leakage of brake fluid is causing the light to stay on, just look underneath the car to see if there is a puddle. Afterwards assess the color of the puddle under the car to know the type of liquid that is leaking.

3. Engine temperature warning light.

Engine Temperature dashboard warning light.

This is a common warning light that is observed as soon as the engine is started. It appears in two different colors. Green to show that the engine’s cooling system components are intact and working perfectly. Red which shows that the engine’s temperature is above the normal temperature.

Sometimes when the engine is started, this warning light appears to be  red. A few seconds afterwards the color changes from red to green. The warning light does this when the engine is started to show that the onboard computer is assessing the engine’s cooling systems. If this light appears when you’re driving, then it shows that your engine’s temperature is in a crucial state and that it’s time to stop the engine.

4. Battery charge warning light.

Battery charge warning light.

This light shows up when there isn’t sufficient electric current to move around the car’s electric system. If there is a problem with the electric system, it is recommended for you to assess the battery, alternator, wiring and fuse box area. It is one of the simplest types of warnings to interpret. Especially if you just bought a used car that has high mileage, there is a likelihood that the battery is old and may cause this warning light.

5. Oil pressure warning light.

Oil pressure warning light.

This simply points the driver’s attention towards the engine’s lubricant. That is, the oil. The driver needs to assess the oil’s capacity. Meaning that if the oil is insufficient, this dashboard warning shows up. Alternatively, if the oil is excessive, it will also show up. Oil should be kept at an optimum level for engine lubrication. Afterwards, it becomes easier to determine if there is an oil leakage.


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