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Understanding Dashboard Warning Lights

Has a new light on the dashboard caught your attention? What does it mean? Should you attend to it immediately? Use this guide to help you out so you’re not left guessing.

For starters, red warning lights indicate a potentially serious problem, important reminder or safety concern that requires immediate attention. A yellow or orange light means something requires service or repair at your soonest convenience. A flashing light indicates you should contact your dealer or a Fort Collins auto repair shop. Green or blue lights simply tell you when a system is operating.

Serious Warning Symbols

If you see any of the following warning lights on your dashboard, stop the vehicle immediately and call Scott’s Fort Collins Auto & Repair for advice.

Brake Warning Indicator

Brake Warning Indicator
This symbol – which is often accompanied by the word “BRAKE” – means you could have a serious brake problem. The light also illuminates when the parking brake is engaged, so make sure the parking brake is released before you call a repair shop.

Temperature Warning Indicator

Temperature Warning IndicatorWhen illuminated while the temperature gauge creeps into the red, this warning light is telling you the engine temperature is too high. Turn the heater to full blast to remove some heat from the engine and pull over as soon as possible. Add spare coolant if you have any. If the warning light continues to illuminate, you probably have a leaky hose and need a repair.

Oil Pressure Warning Light

Oil Pressure Warning LightThe oil can symbol means the oil pressure is low. If the symbol has a wavy line below it, that means the oil level is low. When this is the case, topping off the oil should make the indicator light turn off.

Charging System Trouble Light

Charging System Trouble LightA battery symbol means you either have a bad battery or a failing alternator. In either case, your car will soon stop running or won’t start at all.

Routine Indicators

When the following symbols illuminate on your dashboard, it means you need to perform a routine task. These are less urgent, but they still demand attention.

Seat Belt Reminder Indicator

Seat Belt Reminder IndicatorThis light simply indicates you need to fasten your seat belt. It may flash in an attempt to attract your attention.

Door Ajar Indicator

Door Ajar IndicatorThis means one or more doors are not latched properly.

Low Fuel Light

Low Fuel LightUsually located within the gas gauge, the low fuel light means your tank is getting low and you should stop as a gas station to refuel soon.

Low Tire Pressure Indicator

Low Tire Pressure IndicatorThis light comes on when one or more tires is inflated 25% or more below normal. Check the tire pressure the next time you stop and refill it with air as soon as possible. Check for a leak if the light keeps coming back on.

Check Engine Light

Check Engine LightThis symbol (with or without the word “check”) is one of the most widely recognized dashboard symbols, yet it could indicate one of hundreds of different problems, including a loose gas cap. Tighten the cap, and if the light remains on, your best move is to schedule a vehicle repair at your soonest convenience.

Lighting Indicators

Lighting IndicatorsThe meanings of the images in this picture are, from top left to right:

  • Tail light indicator (all lights except the headlights are illuminated)
  • High beam indicator (the “brights” are on)
  • Rear fog lamp indicator (rear-facing fog lamps are turned on)
  • Fog lamp indicator (fog lamps are turned on)
  • Headlamp leveling system symbol (a headlamp is not leveled correctly and needs a repair)
  • Headlamp indicator (the headlamps are turned on)
  • Low beam indicator (another symbol indicating the fog lamps are turned on)
  • Turn signal indicators (arrows flash individually indicating which turn signal is on)
  • Hazard lights symbol (this button is located somewhere on your dashboard, and when you push it, both turn signals blink together and the turn signal indicators flash simultaneously as well)

If you determine your car is telling you something is seriously wrong, don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Contact Scott’s Fort Collins Auto & Repair online or call us at (970) 682-4202 to schedule an appointment.

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