Get to Know Your Dashboard Lights
Dash lights are nothing new, but the messages are. The following list of warning lights are the most common lights used by auto manufacturers. Not all warning lights are universal. Always refer to your owner's manual when you're not 100% sure what the light indicates.
Many warning lights indicate that a fault has occurred inside the vehicle's system, but it doesn't pinpoint the item or system that has failed. In these cases, a code reader or scan tool can help determine the part that needs to be replaced. If an indicator light on your dash is on, visit your local AutoZone store to get the best products and information to help keep your vehicle running in top condition.Shop Now
Click a vehicle warning light to see more detailed information.
Check Engine or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL):
Indicates the engine computer has set a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC). Usually requires diagnosis with a professional scan tool. Learn the top five reasons why your check engine light is illuminated.
Coolant Temp Warning:
Transmission is operating at higher than optimum temperature as transmission fluid is hotter than normal. Check transmission fluid level and engine coolant level.
Oil Pressure Warning:
If this light stays lit, it indicates loss of oil pressure. Immediately check oil level and pressure.
Oil Change Reminder:
Indicates that oil life has expired. This is monitored by the ECM; the interval can be mileage or a combination of readings taken by the ECM. The reset procedure is listed in the owner's manual. Some vehicles require the use of special tools to reset the light.
Service Vehicle Soon:
Typically indicates a lighting or other electrical problem that is controlled by the BCM (body control module). Check all lights (head lights, turn signals, brake lights, and hazard lights). This symbol may also be used to warn driver of a traction control problem, or a communication problem between modules.
TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System):
Indicates the tire pressure monitoring system has found a tire with low air pressure or there may be a sensor malfunction. Check tire pressure. Some vehicles will allow manual reset of TPMS warning light and others will require professional diagnosis. Refer to owner's manual.
Indicates one of three possible conditions: parking brake is on; problem with the braking system/brake fluid is low, or ABS problem. Check brake fluid and make sure the parking brake is fully released. If the problem is in the ABS system, it may need a professional diagnosis.
Reduced Power Warning:
Indicates Engine Computer has limited engine power output. The ECM has many levels of reduced power depending on what component has failed in its control system. Usually requires diagnosis with a professional scan tool.
Indicates that the Anti-lock Brake computer has set a code and needs professional diagnosis.
The check gas cap light indicates that the gas cap is not tightened properly. If not addressed, quite often the Check Engine Light will also illuminate.
Indicates that cruise control is set during driving.
Indicates that there is a problem with the vehicle's traction control/anti-skid or electronic stability system.
If the symbol lights momentarily it may mean that the ignition switch is locked and will need the proper transponder-equipped key to re-start. If the symbol is visible when the vehicle is on, then it typically indicates a malfunction in the security system.
Indicates that there is an exterior light on the vehicle that is not functioning properly.
Traction Control or ESP:
Illuminates when the vehicle's traction control/anti-skid or electronic stability system is in use. Usually an indicator that conditions are slippery.
Indicates that a door (including hood and trunk) is not closed. Open and close all doors, including hood and trunk. If vehicle is left in this condition overnight it can drain the battery.
This symbol indicates that the vehicle's overdrive system has been manually turned off. Typically the overdrive system is controlled by an on/off switch.
If this light stays illuminated after starting, it indicates that the vehicle has found a fault in the airbag system and the computer has set a code. Professional repair of the supplemental restraint system is highly recommended.
Washer Fluid Reminder:
Indicates washer fluid is low. Fill washer fluid reservoir. The cap has a symbol that looks like a windshield. Some vehicles have separate reservoirs for front and rear window washers.
Diesel Fuel Vehicles Only
Glow Plug (Diesel):
On diesel vehicles this light indicates that the engine's glow plugs are warming up and the engine should not be started until this light goes out.
DPF Light (Diesel):
The diesel exhaust particulate filter has failed its test and needs to be serviced.