6 Useful Indicators on your Car Dashboard and What They Mean

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At least once in every driver’s life, they will come across a symbol flashing on their car dashboard and not know what it means. Some of these indicators will appear more frequently than others so it is good practice to know the severity of each and how they will affect your car’s wellbeing.

59% of motorists couldn’t identify some of the most basic dashboard signs 

Today we will be covering 6 common indicators that could appear on your car dashboard. There are still a few not covered in this list and for more information be sure to check out this guide that covers the top 15.

1. Tire Pressure Warning Light

This warning light will appear on your car dashboard in a yellow or amber colour and warn you that the air pressure in your tire is outside of the recommended range (usually 30-35psi or pounds per square inch). This is a very common indicator and should not be taken lightly as it could be telling you that you have or are close to having a flat tire. Some cars nowadays have a built-in feature that shows you what the pressure of each tire is, but if not you can always buy a tire-pressure gauge from your local hardware store or online at Amazon. Once you have a way to check your tire pressure you can go to any gas station and fill any tires that fall below the range. When you’ve finished checking and filling your tires it should take the sensor a few minutes to update and the light should turn off!

2. Engine Warning (Check Engine Light)

The check engine light can mean a few different things for your car. In all cases, though as soon as this light comes on your car dashboard you should make a visit to the dealer to have them check it out. Depending on your manufacturer the light can appear orange, yellow, or amber, but regardless of colour if the indicator starts flashing that means there is a very serious issue. Here are some causes as to why this indicator might light up on your car dashboard

  • replace ignition coil(s) and spark plug(s)
  • replace oxygen sensor(s)
  • loose gas cap / replace gas cap

3. Low Fuel Indicator

The #1 most common warning indicator to come up on your car dashboard is undoubtedly the low fuel indicator. All this symbol means is that you are running low on gas and should fill up soon. While you will still have fuel in the tank, it’s better to not try finishing your trip. Better to be safe than sorry! 

4. Seat Belt Reminder 

A very basic indicator that only shows up on your car dashboard to remind you or the person sitting in the passenger seat of your car to put on their seatbelt. According to Transport Canada, 7% of people who do not buckle their seatbelts account for 40% of fatalities in vehicle collisions. 

5. Airbag Indicator

There are 4 main reasons that the airbag indicator will show up on your car dashboard.

  • One issue could be with the backup battery. If the battery in your car died recently then this light may come on to tell you that the backup battery that powers the airbags has been depleted. 
  • Another reason could be faulty sensors. If this is the reason for the light it means that the sensors will need to be checked and the system reset. 
  • If your vehicle has water damage this could also be a reason for the airbag indicator to turn on. The water affects the airbag module and could cause it to short out or be corroded. 
  • The last reason could be the airbag clock spring (which can be worn out naturally). In this case, it just causes poor connection and potential airbag failure

In any situation when this light comes on you most likely cannot fix it by yourself so you need to bring it into a shop or your dealer.

6. Washer Fluid Indicator

This indicator is almost as common as low fuel and the seat belt reminder. When this comes up on your car dashboard all it means is that you are running low on windshield washer fluid. While this one is not as urgent, your wipers need this fluid to help keep your windshield clean and easy to see out of. 

For more information for new drivers, check out our other blog posts here. At Hi-Tech Driver Education we offer quality driver training! If you or someone you know is looking for a driving program that is age-friendly, personalized, and flexible with your schedule do not hesitate to call us at (416) 398-6506 or send us a message on our website’s contact page!

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