You’re driving along, listening to your favorite songs on the radio, when suddenly an unfamiliar light displays on your dashboard. You don’t know what it means or what you should do next. This article explains several of the most common car warning lights (aka “idiot lights”), so you can make sure your car isn’t giving you any trouble or trying to tell you something.
1) Check Engine Light
The check engine light is one of the most common — and most dreaded — car warning lights. This light can indicate car trouble from a loose gas cap to a serious engine issue. If you see this light, take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible to diagnose it.
2) Low Coolant Light
One of the most common car warning lights is the low coolant light. This light comes on when your engine is running low on coolant, which can cause your engine to overheat. If you see this light, check your coolant level and add more if needed. However, running low on coolant can also lead to car trouble down the road, so it’s best to take care of it as soon as possible.
3) Brake (ABS) Light Flashing
If you see your brake light flashing, it could mean that your brake pads are wearing thin and need to be replaced or that your brake fluid is low. If you’re unsure what the problem is, it’s best to take your car to a mechanic.
4) Low Tire Pressure Light
The low tire pressure light is one of the car’s most common warning lights. This light comes on when one or more of your tires is low on air. It’s essential to check your tires regularly and keep them inflated to the proper level, as low tire pressure can lead to decreased fuel efficiency and shorter tire life. If you see this light, check your tires as soon as possible.
5) Seat Belt Light Flashing
The seat belt light reminds you to buckle up before driving. It is designed to come on when your car starts, flash a few times, and go off once you are buckled. If the light stays on, even though you are buckled, it could be a loose connection, a blown fuse, or a problem with the sensors. Sensors will activate the passenger seatbelt light if your car detects someone is sitting in the passenger seat.
Though the car warning lights usually signal an actual issue to be addressed, it’s not uncommon for the warning lights themselves to be faulty, lighting up even when there’s no real problem. Your mechanic can tell you whether this is the case or your car has an actual issue that needs to be addressed.
It’s essential to understand your car’s various warning lights and what each one means. Please consult your owner’s manual to help you learn the symbols and alert you when your car is experiencing a problem.