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 exactly 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 exactly 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 simply indicate that a feature is activated. When a dash light illuminates yellow, it usually indicates a cautionary warning. Finally, if a red light comes on, this means that there is a failure or a major problem that needs to be fixed - fast.

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, best to pay a visit to a mechanic or your car agency.

Tire Pressure

This symbol indicates that one or more of your car's tires are lacking air. It means one or more of your tires are feeling a bit 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 – and not the weather kind. If this symbol starts flashing, it means your engine's getting a little too hot under the hood. Could be the antifreeze or engine coolant acting up, or any number of reasons. 

The smart move? Turn off that AC or heating, give your engine a breather, 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? This is kinda 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 straight away.

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. If you see this light come on, we recommend checking your oil levels. Maybe you just need to change the oil. However, if the light is still on, you should ask for assistance and turn off your car. We recommend not using your car until the problem is fixed, and getting an oil change as soon as you can. 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. Think of it as a friendly reminder to give your windshield a little extra love. It looks like a windshield and basically means your washer fluid needs a top-up. Swing by a mechanic when you can.

Do you remember each symbol?

Here's an image you can download or screenshot so you don't forget!