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Dashboard Lights: Basic Diagnostics

Educational  ·  September 2, 2020

Dashboard Lights: Basic Diagnostics

Have you ever sat down in your car and counted the number of dashboard lights you have? Well, don't worry. Most people probably haven't. Usually, people only notice the handful of lights that always come on during a drive, like the signal indicators and maybe even the low-fuel light. The truth is, there are many more lights on your dashboard, but most of them only come on when there's a problem. That's because dashboard lights are meant to provide you with basic diagnostics of your car's problems.

Your dashboard lights can't always tell you what the problem is, exactly. But at the very least, they can tell you there is indeed a problem, and where it may be coming from. That'll make it easier for you to communicate with your mechanic when you bring it in for a check.

In this article, we're going to get a basic understanding of what your dashboard lights mean. That way, the next time one comes on, you won't have to panic trying to figure out what it means!

What do the dashboard lights mean?

Your dashboard has plenty of different lights that illuminate symbols. Some car brands and models will have marks unique to them. Generally speaking, though, the marks used in the dashboard are universal across makes and models.

They  can be broken down into a few categories. Some dashboard lights warn you that something needs to be attended to urgently, others might indicate an impending problem with any of the parts. Lastly, other symbols indicate whether your car's features are on or off.

In terms of colouring, you'll notice that your dashboard lights follow traffic light colours. So, a red dashboard light or symbol means that it’s a severe problem and you should probably pull over immediately. Yellow usually means you can keep driving but should get the problem checked as soon as possible.

Urgent Symbols Warning

Here are a few examples of urgent warning symbols

Possible Problem Symbols

While red dashboard lights typically indicate a severe problem, yellow ones usually point to less dangerous issues. Still, if they come on, you should drive to your trusted workshop to get it checked out.

Here are a few common symbols that indicate a possible problem with one of your car parts:

Other Common Symbols

Your dashboard lights aren't all about warning you that there's a problem. Some are reminders that you have turned a feature on or off. Here are a few of the standard symbols comprising your dashboard lights:

What does it mean when the dashboard lights are not working?

The dashboard lights, especially the warning ones in red and yellow, shouldn't come on unless there's a problem. Still, you may find yourself in a situation where no dashboard lights are coming on at all!

The following reasons could cause dashboard lights not lighting up.

If you ever find your dashboard lights not working but the car still runs, its best to get to a mechanic immediately. Driving without functioning dashboard lights is almost like driving blind!

As a responsible car owner, it's essential to stay educated and informed about all parts of your car, including your dashboard lights. To learn more, check out our blog at to learn more about how your car functions!

By Ray Hasbollah

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