What Each Dashboard Light Means in Your Car

What Each Dashboard Light Means in Your Car

Dashboard lights and windshield wipers are part of vehicle safety systems.  When dashboard lights come on or windshield wipers aren’t effective, there is a problem. Knowing what system each light represents and what kind of wipers fit your car helps you know what to do to protect your vehicle.

Why Finding the Meaning Behind Each Dashboard Light Is So Important

The answer to why finding the meaning behind each dashboard light is so important is easy. They tell you what the problem is, and they help you determine what to do. The vehicle owner’s manual has a complete list of dashboard lights meaning, but every driver should be aware of these five: check engine, coolant temperature, battery, engine oil warning and brake system warning.

  1. Check Engine: When the outline of a car engine lights up on the dashboard, it means a sensor has identified an engine problem. It could be as simple as a faulty spark plug or as serious as low compression. If the check engine light comes on, get your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible.
  2. Coolant Temperature: A thermometer shape, the coolant temperature light indicates trouble with the vehicle cooling system. Stop the vehicle and let it cool down, check the coolant level and refill it if it’s low or consult a knowledgeable professional to learn what coolant to use and how to replace it properly.
  3. Battery: The battery warning light is a red rectangle with a minus sign (negative) and a plus sign (positive) on it. It comes on in two instances: When the car isn’t running, but the radio or headlights are on and while the car is running to indicate an issue with the electrical system.
  4. Engine Oil Warning Light: An outline of an old-fashioned oil can with a drip coming from the spout, the engine oil warning light means there is an engine oil pressure problem. Usually, you just need to add oil, but it could also indicate an oil leak.
  5. Brake System: A red circle in parentheses with an exclamation point in the middle of the circle means the parking brake is on or there is a problem with the vehicle braking system. Check the brake fluid level or have it checked by a professional.

Why You Should Replace Your Windshield Wiper Before Every Rainy Season

Windshield wipers wear out over time. Cleaning debris from a windshield causes nicks and tears in the wiper surface which lead to poor clearing ability. In heavy rain or snow, ineffective windshield wipers put drivers and passengers at risk. Replacing wipers every Fall, or sooner if you notice wear and tear, increases safety.  When looking for windshield wiper replacement, It’s important that you get the right windshield wipers size and for your vehicle by doing one of the following:

  • Check your vehicle owner’s manual
  • Look up wiper size online
  • Use a “wiper blade size finder” in a reputable auto parts store.

A reputable auto parts store can help you identify problems and fix them affordably or recommend a qualified professional when you need one.