Beyond “low gas” and “door open,” car lights are a unique language that many people cannot decipher. Although all lights have meanings that can be found in the manual that comes with the car, there are symbols that have universal meanings.

The most ominous light is the check engine light. Vague and unfamiliar, this light does not tell a lot about what has gone wrong.

Justin Leftridge, a retail service specialist at O’Reilly Auto Parts, said the check engine light represents multiple different aspects of the car because not everything that is being monitored can have its own light.

Coding tells the difference between issues when the check engine light turns on.

The codes can mean practically anything that is being monitored by a sensor, but almost all codes are available for translation online.

Codes are tested for possible fixes multiple times on multiple vehicles, making the potential causes of the light comprehensible and narrow. 

Alex Vibbard, store manager at AutoZone, said the most common causes of the check engine light are emission-related faults. 

An emission-related fault means there is an error with the emissions, which can be as simple as a loose fuel cap.

Vibbard said the tire pressure light comes on when the sensory reads that a tire is below a specific value, but the light also will come on to notify if tire pressure is too high. 

The tire pressure light’s solution is to figure out which tire is low or high in pressure and to notify the driver.

Another nearly universal car light is a red brake light. While the light can signal a parking brake being left on in some cars, it shares other meanings as well. Vibbard said the brake light relates to the brakes, but it can mean that the brakes are in need of maintenance, such as requiring brake fluid.

Although this is not universal, a service-required or maintenance-required light is standard in most vehicles. Vibbard said the service- or maintenance-required light functions notify drivers that their car needs work, but the issue is not as urgent as when a check engine light turns on.

The best way to know what the lights in your car mean is to familiarize yourself with the lights in the car’s manual. A lot of lights are universal, like the opened door light, driver seat unbuckled light and the dreaded check engine light.

But not all lights are universal, making it important to know what the car lights mean before they light up.

(4) comments

Webb Rowan

It is important to know your car very well inside and out. You use your car for your safety so you should be in the know about the safety aspects of your car. The dash lights are a good source of info that tells you that you car needs attention at a certain location. If you are unsure, you could be stranded in the middle of nowhere because you ignored the dash light that had appeared earlier. This is why it is necessary to find out what each and every light means and how to address the issue if the lights appear.

Zara Dolores

Not all warning lights are universal. Always refer to your owner's manual when you're not 100% sure what the light indicates. Many warning lights indicate that a fault has occurred inside the vehicle's system, but it doesn't pinpoint the item or system that has failed, otherwise dealership promotional products bellevue wa would already be available for it. Brake warning light, usually in red text indicates a serious problem with the your main brakes or emergency brakes. Oil warning light can indicate low oil pressure. Battery charging system warning light means either a bad battery or a failing alternator.

Rufus Nermint

Traction control light coming on means the traction control system is kicking in. Works when one of the driving wheels spins faster than the others. TCS kicks in and reduces the speed of the wheel spinning faster, improving stability. Low oil pressure means the pump isn't circulating enough oil, or there isn't enough oil in the system for the pump to circulate. You don't need license plate holders seattle wa to tell you the oil is important to keeping the surfaces lubricated, so if the oil light comes on and the pressure is low, pull over and turn off the engine.

Paul Dunca

Windshield repair is a specialized job with its own professional organizations. A DIY repair kit won't match a professional result, but it is a cheap option that's good enough for light damage. You can go to the Auto glass repair Houston TX and ask for someone to do it for you. Check the terms of insurance and repair contracts. The cost of repair or a full replacement varies widely depending on your location, insurance, and type of windshield.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.