Have you ever wondered what those little lights on your dashboard mean? You know, the ones that light up like a Christmas tree when you turn on the ignition? We all know that feeling you get while driving and a light starts blinking on the dashboard. Some symbols are easier to figure than others. MyHire is here to help make you understand the meanings and what to do in case you get one of the below symbols.

When it comes to dashboard lights, color is everything! Green or blue lights need not to worry you, they simply mean the system is on and in operation. Orange or yellow lights, these are warning lights meaning the vehicle needs to be serviced or repaired soon these signs are less urgent. Then we have the red and/or flashing lights, these means you need to act immediately. Some of the red signs are safety signs such as, (seatbelt sign, door-open sign), others are mechanical like, engine overheating. If at any one moment a red mechanical sign appears, pull over and sort it as soon as possible.

Well, let’s learn the meaning of the most common dashboard symbols and warning lights.

As you go through this list keep in mind, every car is different, so the symbols may slightly vary and many of these dashboard lights will briefly illuminate when you turn on your vehicle but disappear after a few seconds.

1.Oil pressure warning light.

Looks like: You are about to get three wishes. Remember that movie, “Aladdin” I think.

Meaning:  either you are running low on engine oil or your oil pump is not circulating enough fluid to properly lubricate your engine.

Action: Pull over as soon as it is safe, check the oil if it is low add, if not call your mechanic.

2.Engine temperature warning light.

Looks like: A pirate ship with its sails down.

Meaning: Your engine is overheating; this probably has to do with your car coolant.

Action: Pull over ASAP, switch off the vehicle, let it cool for about 15 minutes, do not poop the hood! Opening the hood while the engine is hot could result to burns or injuries. Top up your coolant or visit a repair shop.

3.Battery alert light.

Looks like: A math LEGO.

Meaning: There is a problem with your vehicle charging system and your engine is at risk of shutting down due to low battery. It could be a loose cable or a bad alternator you never know.

Action: Get it checked to be sure it’s not the cables or the alternator, if not, buy a new battery. In our country we just carry a jump stater.

4.Airbag indicator light.

Looks like: A man wearing a tie shaking his fist as he falls down.

Meaning: There may be an issue with one of the airbags or the airbag system. Airbags may not deploy in case of an accident.

Action: Take your vehicle to the garage and have the problem diagnosed.

5.Brake Warning Light.

Looks like: An exclamation mark inside brackets.

Meaning: Could mean that you left your handbrake engaged or you are running low on brake fluid or even a more serious issue.

Action: if the red light comes on and off ask for advice from your mechanic but if the red light is continuously on you need to get your vehicle checked.

6.Seat belt reminder Light.

Looks like: A man in a god-papa wearing a bandolier.

Meaning: You are not wearing your seat belt.

Action: Buckle up. This is the most important aspect of driving. Seat belts save lives and reduce injuries.

7.Tire pressure warning light.

Looks like: a Buckingham palace guard telling you the field goal is good.

Meaning: The pressure in one of the tires or more needs to be attended to.

Action: Stop as soon as possible, inflate or deflate your tires to the correct pressure. Driving with the wrong tire pressure can damage your tires.

8.Traction Control Light.

Looks like: a car with lines bending away from the car.

Meaning: The traction control system is designed to detect when your car tires loose contact of one is spinning faster than the others. If it detects a wheel is slipping, it applies the brakes until the car regains traction. This is most helpful while driving in the rain or snow.

Action: Continue driving but be aware of slippery conditions.

9.Anti-lock braking system (ABS)

Looks like: The cover of a fitness magazine.

Meaning: There is an issue with the ABS system. It is a safety system that prevents the wheels from locking once the brakes are applied.

Action: Needs to be diagnosed and fixed.

10.Engine Warning.

Looks like: A yellow submarine.

Meaning: It can appear for a number of reasons. (a) Failed oxygen sensors, faulty sensors can damage your spark plugs and catalytic converter. (b) Gas cap is loose, damaged or missing; you will lose fuel through evaporation. (c) Bad catalytic converter. You will experience reduced performance and fuel economy. Also, whatever caused the catalytic converter to fail initially will get worse and might lead to engine failure. (d)Mass airflow sensor. This will cause lean conditions that will lead to further failure. (e) Misfires. You all know what misfires are. This will lead to the engine mechanical failure.

Action: Depending on the reason as to why the engine light is on; (a) Drive until the light turnsoff. (b) Turn the car off and on 3 times. (c) disconnect and reconnect the battery. (d) Use an OBD reader.

11.Fuel Indicator Light.

Looks like: A snake infested ATM.

Meaning: You are running low on fuel. Most us of us are familiar with this symbol in our day to day driving endeavors. Fun Fact: there is a small arrow indicating where the fuel tank is, you no longer have to make 3point turns at the petrol station in your rental cars from MyHire.

Action: Go to the gas station, fill it up.

12.Traction control malfunction.

Looks like: Pyramid on a dollar bill huh?

Meaning:  Your vehicles traction control system might have a broken or damaged sensor or some other malfunction.

Action: You should have it checked soon, though this will not affect your everyday driving.

13.Automatic Shift lock symbol/Engine start indicator light.

Looks like: An encircled shoe, If Bruce Wayne had been traumatized in a shoe closet instead ofa bat cave, maybe that could have been their Logo.     

Meaning: The break pedal is not pressed and the car will not start, the shifter won’t move outof park.

Action: Press the brake pedal.

14.Security indicator light.

Looks like: Your car has been padlocked.

Meaning: If your car has an anti-theft system, the symbol will blink steadily when the system is armed and the car will not start.

Action: Disable the system with the correct transponder and get on your way.

15.Washer fluid indicator.

Looks like: A conductors POV, tapping her music stand and preparing to lead an orchestra consisting of two Christmas candy canes stuck together.

Meaning: The washer fluid levels are low.

Action: Please fill that up when you get a chance.

16.Glow plug indicator.

Looks like: The handwriting patterns you learnt in kindergarten.

Meaning: This is for diesel cars. The glow plug indicator comes up only when the engine is cold.

Action: Typically, this light glow when an issue has been detected. Mostly if the glow plug indicator is old. Buy new ones.

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