Different Dashboard Warning Lights & Their Meanings

Imagine you’re driving on the highway. The sun is setting behind the mountains. The wind is blowing through your hair. The sound of nature – with the chirping of the birds and the rustling of the leaves – is like music to your ears…

You are suddenly interrupted from your dreamy ride by a high-pitched beep. You look for the culprit and see a strange symbol blinking in red on your car dashboard. What could it possibly mean? 

Well, we’re here to help you decipher the meanings of these peculiar shapes and lines. Here is a list of common yet important symbols every car owner should be aware of. 

Engine Temperature Warning:

On a wild guess, it looks like a key floating in the sea. Well, in the world of vehicles, this car light depicts that your engine is becoming overheated. This most probably means that either your coolant level is low or your engine oil has dried up. Since the drying up of engine oil can cause the moving car parts to rub against each other, it can lead to friction and overheating. Hence, whenever you see this sign, get your car inspected (or you may do it yourself) as soon as possible. 

Engine Warning Light:

Oh, it’s a plane. No, a helicopter. No wait, it’s a check engine light! This symbol means that something is wrong with your engine. Now, this could point to a plethora of faults. It could be a low oil pressure indication or a sign that your engine is overheating. It could also mean that your fuel cap is broken or loose which is causing the fuel to evaporate and finish quickly. All of these reasons require you to stop the car in a corner and check for any leaks or problems. If possible, visit the nearest car repairing shop and leave it at the hands of a professional. 

Low Fuel Indicator:

This symbol is probably one of the rarest ones which can be interpreted easily. A fuel pump silhouette signifies that your car has low fuel. This means that it is best to find the nearest fuel station to get it refilled or, better yet, park your car in a corner and call someone to pick you up. It’s not a good idea to rely on leftover fuel to take you over a few blocks and hope that your car doesn’t groan to a stop right in the middle of the road. 

Airbag Indicator:

These car lights do not represent you bathing under the sun. Rather, it denotes that there is a fault in your airbag system. From a Wet Airbag Module and Damaged Airbag Clock Spring to a Depleted Airbag Backup Battery, any of these could be the cause of this. Airbags can protect you from fatal injuries during an accident and are extremely useful in softening the impact. 

Hence, it is better to take your car to the mechanic as soon as possible and get it inspected. 

Oil Pressure Light:

This is yet another symbol that can be deciphered easily by many car owners. This symbol means that you have a faulty oil pressure system. The reason could be your car simply being low on oil or the pump not being able to efficiently circulate the oil. This can severely damage the moving car parts by causing friction, overheating, and corrosion. Therefore, you need to solve this issue immediately. 

Battery Alert Indicator:

This symbol is pretty self-explanatory – a problem with the battery. Well, it can mean two things. A damaged battery and a broken alternator belt. 

Driving your car with a broken belt can cause the water pump to stop working and lead to an overheating dilemma. It can also cause the wear and tear of the engine parts and damage them fatally. So, if you ever see a symbol like this on your car dashboard, we advise you to inspect the battery or the alternator belt and get it fixed immediately. 


So, these are some of the most common symbols which might appear on your car dashboard and cause a problem for you. If you ever see them, don’t dismiss them as being harmless or rely on your car to support you no matter what, visit the nearest mechanic asap.