Expert’s guide to dashboard warning lights

Here at My Auto Shop, we like to face the facts when it comes to all things automotive.  Whether it’s making it easy to see a mechanic, or handy hints to de-stress while you’re on the road, we’ve got you covered.

Today we thought it’d be useful to cover off what it means when your dashboard is on the blink.  While many modern vehicles now have easy reference labels on their digital displays, there’s still a need to understand the basics of what all those little lights mean.  

A bit like My Auto Shop, those dashboard warning light are trying to help you keep your car in the best functioning order!

So, what do they all mean?  Here are 5 that it might come in handy to know about.

Engine warning

This is the symbol that is shaped like an engine, and is an incredibly helpful warning light.  Unfortunately, it means something’s not quite right under the hood.  Fortunately, now you know about it and can can get the issue diagnosed.

Low engine oil pressure

This is the little light that looks like an old school oil can (yep, that one).  This little warning light lets you know that the engine may need new oil, a top up, or possibly the filter or pump need to be looked at.

If your engine oil warning light turns on, the best thing to do is pull over, because an issue here can lead to issues in the engine itself.  It’s possible that you could end up dealing with a seized engine if you choose not to pull over, so please heed this advice!

Hopefully your oil is just low and needs a top up, but if it’s a pump fail, you’ll be relieved when you decide to stop and shut the engine down.

Engine coolant temperature

This thermometer-shaped light will give you the heads up that your car’s engine temperature is ramping up beyond its maximum, and you’re likely to be looking at an overheating issue.  Never fun, and rarely cheap to deal with.

The best thing to do is, again, pull over to the side of the road and let your engine cool off.  SHut it down, perhaps open up the bonnet, but always do this with a lot of care.  

It’s going to be super hot, and so for your safety we recommend having a pair of gloves or waiting some time before putting your hand under the bonnet to release the catch.  A good visual indicator is steam.

Charging system

This is the light that looks like a battery, and very obviously indicates if there’s ever a battery issue on board.

However, be aware it can also mean a charging issue, so if this is the case it’s a sensible idea to get yourself down to a mechanic straight away.  A charging issue can mean that your battery goes flat on a whim, which doesn’t spell good times ahead!

Tyre pressure

This is the one that looks like an x-ray or cross section of a tyre, maybe a bit like a cog.  It’s letting you know that the pressure in one or more of your car’s tyres is below the recommended level, in which case, you should get yourself down to the local service station ASAP and check the pressure on all of your tyres, just in case.

If your dashboard is on the blink and you’re not sure what to do, we’re here to help!  My Auto Shop can put you in touch with the auto professionals to get your vehicle’s health on track.  Head over to the service area to get started.