February 1, 2023


What the Dashboard Symbols in Your Car Are Telling You

As we get the hang of driving, it often becomes second nature – a routine we slip into without much thought. Sure, there are moments when we enjoy the ride and soak in the scenery, but let's be honest, most of the time, we're probably grooving to the radio, belting out our new favorite song, chatting away using hands-free, or daydreaming about our plans at our destination. All while driving safely, of course.

But every now and then, a pesky little light on the dashboard pulls us right back into the present moment. If we're lucky, we remember what that light is trying to tell us and what action to take. But let's face it, those symbols can be a bit hard to keep track of, and that's precisely why we've put together this blog – to give your memory a little jog and make sure that the next time you encounter this situation, you've got it all under control.

Colored Lights

Dashboards feature a variety of colored lights to help you identify if this is a serious issue or just information you need to know. For example, white, blue, or green lights show mileage or speed information or indicate a feature is activated. When a dash light illuminates yellow, it usually shows a cautionary warning. Finally, if a red light comes on, there is a failure or a significant problem that must be fixed quickly.

Ready to dive into a few of these symbols and learn what to do when they start lighting up?

Gearbox Warning‍

If this light shows up, it's your car's way of saying, "Hey, we've got a transmission hiccup." The transmission is like the middleman between your engine and the wheels, so if it's acting up, it might mess with your speed and how smoothly you're cruising. If this light says hello, it is best to visit a mechanic or car agency.

Tire Pressure

This symbol indicates that one or more of your car's tires lack air. One or more of your tires are feeling deflated. Driving this way can be dangerous. We recommend that you go to a gas station or workshop as soon as possible to give those tires a breath of fresh air.

Check Engine

This light indicates that there is a malfunction in your car's engine. This can happen for several reasons: engine overheating, low oil pressure, or an open gas cap that is causing gas to evaporate.

If this light turns amber or yellow, the recommendation is to return home or go directly to check your car. If the Check Engine light turns red, stop driving immediately and contact your insurance company or mechanic.

Engine Temperature Warning

This one's all about your car's temperature, not the weather. If this symbol starts flashing, your engine's getting too hot under the hood. It could be the antifreeze, engine coolant acting up, or any number of reasons. 

The smart move? Turn off that AC or heating, pause your engine, and if the light isn't cooling down, park that car and reach out to your insurance or a friendly someone who can give you a hand.

It's best not to pop open the hood of your car here, as you could accidentally end up with an unwelcome burn.

Brake Warning

You know when you're baking and forget to turn off the oven? It is like that but with your brakes. Check if your parking brake is off, and if you're not using it and that light's still on, it's time to pull over and ask for assistance immediately.

Change Engine's Oil

If you see this one, it's like your car sending an SOS about its oil levels. When there is a low oil level, this can cause damage to the operation of the engine. We recommend checking your oil levels if you see this light come on. Maybe you need to change the oil. However, if the light is still on, you should ask for assistance and turn off your car. We recommend only using your vehicle once the problem is fixed and getting an oil change as soon as possible. Car makers suggest an oil change every six months or around seven thousand miles, and we strongly advise sticking to these suggestions.

Washer Fluid Low

This symbol can appear in different forms depending on the model of your car. Consider it a friendly reminder to give your windshield a little extra love. It looks like a windshield, which means your washer fluid needs a top-up. Swing by a mechanic when you can.

Do you remember each symbol?

Just as you keep an eye on those dashboard warning lights to ensure your car runs smoothly, it's essential to safeguard yourself with OCHO insurance. While we often cruise on autopilot, distractions abound, from singing along to tunes to daydreaming about our next destination. Those dashboard symbols might seem elusive, but they're crucial. We've compiled this blog to jog your memory and empower you to stay in control when those lights illuminate. 

And remember, just as your car needs attention, your insurance needs to be top-notch. So, let OCHO ensure you're protected, no matter the road ahead. Download or screenshot the symbols for a quick reference, and drive with confidence.