Dashboard Warning Lights and What They Mean 

dashboard warning lights

Dashboard warning lights can serve as a reminder when to service your car or may indicate a bigger problem. Since not all manufacturers use universal images, it’s important to check your owner’s manual for details. These are the most common dashboard warning lights:

Common Dashboard Warning Lights

Check Engine Light — This can light up for a few different reasons. Problems can range from a loose gas cap to needing to replace the catalytic converter. It’s important to find out so you can avoid bigger problems down the road.

Coolant Temperature Warning — This light indicates that engine temperature has exceeded normal limits. There may be a malfunction in the electric cooling fan system or a thermostat stuck closed. Continued driving may cause extensive engine damage.

Battery Alert — This light means that there’s a good chance of a malfunction in your vehicle’s charging system. Have your battery terminals checked for corrosion and connections, and replace your battery if necessary.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System — Low air pressure in one of your tires or a sensor malfunction may cause this light to illuminate. Refer to your owner’s manual for correct tire pressure.

Brake System Warning Light — This might indicate your parking brake is on, or something more serious, like low fluid or an ABS (anti-lock braking system) problem. You’ll need to service your car if the problem is with the ABS.

There are several other dashboard warning lights that can be illuminated in your vehicle outside of the above. If you are unsure why a warning light is illuminated, refer to your owner’s manual or bring your car to a local AAA Car Care.  We can help determine the next best steps to fixing your warning light issue with an engine diagnostic.

            — Dusty Holcomb, President of AAA Car Care

AAA Members save everyday at AAA Car Care including 10% off repair labor as well as a 2-year/24,000-mile nationwide warranty on repairs. Find a location near you by visiting  


Battery Tip

Use key fob (if available) to lock car completely. This will shut down any remaining electronic systems in the car and help prolong the life of your battery.

AAA Members have access to two ways to get their battery checked and replaced:

1. AAA Mobile  Battery Service
Freetesting and AAA Brand Battery delivery (members save $25 off retail battery pricing)* . Learn more at

2. AAA Car Care
Find the location nearest you by visiting

* In select locations in the Carolinas. Available on most vehicles. Call 1-800-AAA-HELP to see if AAA Mobile Battery service is available in your area.

(Go Magazine July/August 2018)


Check Out More Car Car Tips

Find great Car Care Coupons and more!