Close Up of Service Engine Soon Dashboard Light and Fuel Gauge

What Do Your Dashboard Warning Lights Mean?

How To Understand Dashboard Warning Lights and Indicators 

When you get sick, you get a fever or have a headache – a symptom and a warning sign that something is wrong. Your vehicle will do the same with dashboard warning lights and indicators. A long list of dashboard warning lights can be difficult to interpret if you are a brand-new driver and we are here to help at U.S. Auto Sales. Learn how to understand dashboard warning lights and indicators a little better with this quick guide created by the U.S. Auto Sales team. 



Differences Between Dashboard Warning Lights and Indicator Lights 

Mechanic Working Under a Car

With hundreds of sensors, wires and computers working together inside your vehicle a lot of things can cause a dashboard warning light to show up – from a simple open door to dangerous low oil pressure – and it is important to know how to react. The lights on your dashboard can be put into two primary categories – warning lights and indicator lights – and color is an important factor to help you tell the difference. 

Red dashboard warning lights indicate that there is a major issue or an engine component has failed and require immediate attention from your mechanic. Yellow and orange dashboard warning lights indicate that there is a lower-grade issue that needs attention not too far down the road – like a low fuel light. Green and Blue indicator lights tell you when a feature is on and engaged – like your headlights. 

Common Dashboard Warning Lights and Indicators 

Check Engine Light 

The Check Engine Light is a common warning light that you will see on your dashboard from time to time – and a warning light that can be difficult to decipher. The Check Engine Light looks like a yellow outline of an engine and indicates an issue with any engine-related function – from a loose gas cap to more serious issues like a loss of compression. Do not wait too long to get your Check Engine Light investigated by your mechanic. 

Engine Oil Pressure Light 

In most cases, the Engine Oil Pressure Light is depicted by a red oil can and can point to a loss of oil pressure – which means oil is not circulating in your engine as it is supposed to. Low oil pressure can cause your engine to seize up and fail. Do not wait to get your vehicle serviced when you see the Engine Oil Pressure Light.  

Tire Pressure Warning Light 

Your tires play an important role in your vehicle’s safety and performance on the road. The Tire Pressure Warning Light is shown as a yellow tire with an exclamation point and indicates that a tire has low air pressure – which can lead to a flat tire, poor handling and worse if not addressed promptly. 


READ MORE: What Are the Benefits and Advantages of a Used AWD Vehicle? 


Learn how to understand dashboard warning lights and indicators with a quick guide created by U.S. Auto Sales and get behind the wheel with peace of mind. If it is time for a new-to-you car, truck or crossover, you can shop for a used vehicle online at U.S. Auto Sales locations today!