February 1, 2023

What the lights on your dashboard actually mean

Once we learn how to, driving becomes a secondary or routine experience. Yes, sometimes we enjoy it and we appreciate the landscape that surrounds the road, but normally we don’t really think about it. We tend to listen to the radio, blast our newest favorite song on the speakers, talk to someone using the hands-free or simply think about what we will do when we arrive at our destination.

Every once in a while a light on our dashboard comes on and brings us back to our car. If we're lucky, we'll remember exactly what this light means and know what to do next. However, we know that it is difficult to remember these symbols, that’s why we wrote this blog. To refresh your memory. So that the next time you’re out there and this happens to you, you know what to do. 


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.

Now let’s review a few of the symbols. In the next lines we will show you some of the most common lights and recommend an action to follow up after you see them turned on.

Gearbox Warning

This light comes on to indicate that there is a problem in the car's transmission. The transmission is a component that helps bring the speed of the engine to the wheels of your car, therefore If there is a problem that needs to be fixed, the velocity and speed may not work the way they normally do, in order to reduce the stress on the gear. If you see that this light turned on, we recommend you visit a mechanic or your agency to check the fault.

Tire Pressure

This symbol indicates that one or more of your car's tires are lacking air. Driving this way can be dangerous, we recommend that you go to a gas station or workshop as soon as possible to inflate them correctly.

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 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 symbol means that your engine is overheated. Most likely it has to do with the antifreeze or engine coolant, but it could be for any number of reasons. If you see this light come on, try turning off your air conditioning or heating. If the light doesn't go off, park your car to let your engine cool down. Then contact your insurance company or someone who can help you.
Note: We do not recommend that you open the hood of your car as you could suffer an unnecessary burn.

Brake Warning

This may mean that you forgot to check and you are driving with the brakes on. Check that your parking brake is not activated, in case you are not using it and the light is still on, park your car and ask for assistance immediately.

Change Engine’s Oil

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 using your car until the problem is fixed.

Washer Fluid Low

This symbol, which can appear in different ways depending on the model of your car. It  imitates the image of a windshield and means that your windshield fluid is low. As soon as you can we recommend you fill your deposit.

Do you remember each symbol?

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