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dashboard with all dashboard icons turned on

Modern automobiles consist of numerous parts and components. Luckily, you do not have to continually inspect your vehicle as your car will communicate with you if there is something wrong. But, it is important to understand what your car means if any of the dash symbols become illuminated. Understanding car light meanings will ensure that you can care for your vehicle properly.

There are many makes and models of automobiles, but dash symbols are typically the same across the board. Some common dashboard lights that you may encounter while operating your vehicle include:

Check Engine Light

The check engine light is one of the common dash symbols. The reason it is this car light meaning spans from a loose gas cap to something that can be quite serious. A simple scanning tool can determine why the check engine dash symbol is illuminated. If you don’t own a scanning tool, you can visit an auto parts store or auto shop to have the codes read.

Seeing the check engine light on your dashboard typically is not a reason to panic. However, if the dash symbol is flashing, there is a serious problem. In this type of situation, have your car checked by a mechanic as soon as possible.

Powertrain Fault Light

When it comes to car light meanings, understanding the powertrain fault light is essential. If the powertrain fault dash symbol lights up, it means that there is a problem with the transmission, engine, or driveshaft. Any time there is a powertrain problem, repairs should be made promptly to prevent severe damage.

Engine Oil Warning Light

The engine oil warning light indicates that there is an issue with the oil pressure. When there is poor oil pressure, your engine won’t be properly lubricated, which can damage parts. If you see this dash symbol, check the oil level in your automobile. Even if the oil level looks good, have your car looked at by a mechanic when the engine oil warning light is illuminated.

Battery Light

The battery light will show up on the dashboard when there is any type of problem with the battery. The problem could be as simple as a loose battery connection, or it could mean that your battery is very low. It is also possible to see this dash symbol if there is something wrong with the alternator.

Engine Temperature/ Coolant Level Light

In some cases, car light meanings can encompass more than one issue. The engine temperature/coolant level light is an example. You may see this dash symbol if your vehicle is leaking coolant, causing a very low coolant level. The light may also turn on when the temperature of your engine is hotter than it should be.

Tire Pressure Warning Light

Tires that are properly inflated improve fuel economy and make it easier to handle a car. When one or more tires on your automobile have low pressure, your vehicle will let you know by illuminating the tire pressure warning light. Many newer vehicles have a feature that tells the driver which tire is the issue. If your vehicle is not equipped with this future, you will need to check the tire pressure manually.

Braking System Warning Light

The braking system warning light lets you know that there is something wrong with your braking system. The issue can be a specific component of the braking system or low brake fluid. Do not continue to drive with this light illuminated, as doing so can be dangerous.


It is important for anyone who owns an automobile to have an understanding of car light meanings. Take the time to read your vehicle’s owner’s manual, so you know what the different warning lights look like for your make/model. If a warning light on your dash is illuminated, visit your local JiffyLube ® branch. An experienced technician will be able to inspect your car, scan it for error codes, and make repair recommendations.