Dashboard Lights Index

Vehicle Dashboard Lights

What lights do you see?

Click a light below to learn more.

Gasoline Engine Indicator Lights

Coolant WarningEngine WarningGeneral Alert EUOil LevelABS WarningBattery WarningTransmission OverheatingBrakes WarningDrivetrain WarningGeneral AlertOil PressureRadiator WarningService Light 1Service Light 2

Diesel Engine Indicator Lights

Glow PlugParticulate WarningWater in Fuel IndicatorDiesel Exhaust FilterWater Trap IndicatorParticulate Warning Red

Hybrid Engine Indicator Lights

Plug In IndicatorEV MODE Indicator SymbolEV Mode IndicatorReady IndicatorReady Indicator 2ChargingLow PowerEV System IndicatorPedestrian SoundPower LimitationHybrid Battery Trouble IndicatorHigh Volt Battery LowHigh Voltage System FaultExternal Sound System

It is important to check the indicator lights on your vehicle's dashboard instrument panel regularly. Though your vehicle may still run fine -- or may seem to run fine -- it is best to get checked out if a light is on. Drive carefully!

What color is the light?

More important than the light itself is the color of the light. Typically, dash board indicator lights use this system:

  • Red lights indicate a serious problem or safety issue
  • Yellow or orange lights indicate something that needs to be repaired
  • Blue or green is an indicator that a system is on or operating normally

Standard Indicator Lights

Gasoline Engine Indicator Lights

Engine Warning

Check Engine Light

This light is one of the most common and recognizable dash lights, and often also has the word "CHECK" inside or underneath the engine symbol. It can also appear as a text-only light. This indicates a problem with the engine or emissions, and requires immediate attention. However, it can sometimes indicate a missing gas cap.

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Oil Level

Low Oil Level

A yellow oil indicator light with a wavy line underneath indicates a low oil level.

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General Alert EU

General Alert EU

The yellow variant of this light is used in some European-made cars to indicate a problem with the vehicle's Stability Control System. The car can still be driven with caution, but should be taken to a repair center as soon as possible.

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Coolant Warning

Low Coolant

This light indicates that the engine's coolant system is running low on fluid and needs to be serviced. This light may have a downward-pointing arrow.

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Brakes Warning

Brakes Warning

This light indicates that there is a problem with the braking system of the vehicle.

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ABS Warning

ABS Warning

This light indicates that there is a problem with the braking system of a vehicle which has an Anti-lock Braking System.

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Radiator Warning

Radiator Warning

This light is the engine coolant temperature indicator. If it is red, your engine is dangerously close to, or currently overheating.

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Oil Pressure

Oil Pressure Warning

This is the oil pressure indicator light. A red light indicates the oil pressure is dangerously high.

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Battery Warning

Problem with Charging System

If this light shows up red, this indicates that there is a problem with the charging system --either the battery itself or the alternator.

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General Alert

Master Warning Light

This is the Master Warning light, and often is accompanied by another light or text indicator. Despite the serious appearance of this light, it often is only a simple reminder of something such as a door that is ajar. However, it is important to have the car serviced if the light does not go away.

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Drivetrain Warning

Problem with Drivetrain or Powertrain

This gear symbol with an exclamation point indicates a problem with the vehicle's powertrain or drivetrain. The vehicle should be serviced as soon as possible.

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Transmission Overheating

Transmission Oil is Overheating

This symbol indicates that transmission oil is overheating. Pull your vehicle over and allow the transmission to cool or you risk transmission failure.

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Service Light 1

Maintenance Required

These lights are the Maintenance Required indicators. The presence of these lights usually only indicates that routine maintenance is required, such as an oil change. They can also be yellow or green.

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Service Light 2

Serious Maintenance Required

This variant of the Maintenance Required indicator may mean that a more serious problem needs attention.

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Diesel Engine Indicator Lights

In addition to many of the standard indicator lights, diesel-powered vehicles have their own unique set of warnings.


Glow Plug

Glow Plugs are Active

Diesel engines need heat in the cylinders to operate, and this heat is provided by glow plugs when the engine is cold. This light indicates that the glow plugs are active, and will remain on until the engine heats up sufficiently.

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Particulate Warning

Diesel Particulate Filter Warning

The is the Diesel Particulate Filter warning symbol. A yellow or amber light indicates that the filter system needs to be regenerated, which is achieved through driving the vehicle.

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Diesel Exhaust Filter

Diesel Exhaust Fluid Light

The Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) creates a catalytic reaction that extracts harmful particles from the exhaust.

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Diesel Exhaust Filter 2

Particulate Filter Warning Involving Emissions

This is a different particle filter symbol. It sometimes contains an exclamation mark in, which indicates an emissions system failure or that the vehicle is producing too much emissions.

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Water In Fuel Indicator

Water in Fuel Warning 1

This light and the following two each indicate that there is water in the fuel. Diesel vehicles have filters that separate water from fuel.

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Water In Fuel Indicator 2

Water in Fuel Warning 2

This light, along with the preceding and the following each indicate that there is water in the fuel. Diesel vehicles have filters that separate water from fuel.

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Water Trap Indicator

Water in Fuel Warning 3

This light and the preceding two each indicate that there is water in the fuel. Diesel vehicles have filters that separate water from fuel.e filters that separate water from fuel.

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Particulate Warning Red

Diesel Particular Filter Serious Warning

If the DPF symbol is red, it indicates that the system needs to be regenerated immediately, and engine power will be reduced if it is not. A red DPF symbol is often accompanied by a Check Engine light.

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Hybrid Engine Indicator Lights

In addition to many of the standard indicator lights, hybrid engine-powered vehicles have their own unique set of warnings.

Plug In Indicator

Hybrid Engine is Charging

When your hybrid vehicle is charging, you may see one of these two lights. They feature an electric plug and can be green or amber in color.

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EV MODE Indicator Symbol

Electric Engine Only

Most hybrid vehicles let you switch it to use only the electric engine (at least in certain situations). If you do this, you will see one of these lights come on.

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EV Mode Indicator

Electric Engine Only

This is alternate version of the light above.

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Ready Indicator

Hybrid Engine is Ready

In a gasoline engine, you know the car is ready to move when you hear the engine running. In a hybrid vehicle, however, you see one of these two green lights.

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Ready Indicator 2

Hybrid Engine is Ready

This is alternate version of the other Hybrid Engine Ready light.

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Charging

Hybrid Engine is Charging

When your hybrid vehicle is charging, you may see one of these two lights. They feature an electric plug and can be amber or green in color.

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Low Power

Low Battery Charge

This light looks like a gasoline station with an electrical plug instead of a gas pump at the end of the hose. It indicates a Low Battery Charge.

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EV System Indicator

Check Engine Light for Electric Engine

EV stands for Electric Vehicle. This EV warning light features an exclamation point over a car. In some EV's, this is the check engine light.

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Pedestrian Sound

External Sound System Problem

Because hybrid cars don't make much of a sound, to warn pedestrians of when they are near, EV's use an external sound system.

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Power Limitation

Power Limitation

The light with a turtle in a circle is the Power Limitation Indicator. It means the power to the traction motor and consequently the drive wheels has decreased.

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Hybrid Battery Trouble Indicator

Hybrid Battery Trouble

This light indicates the vehicle's main hybrid battery has a problem that must be serviced by a dealer or authorized professional as quickly as possible.

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High Volt Battery Low

High Voltage Battery Charge Level

This indicator light is for the High Voltage Battery Charge Level. It features a lightning bolt over the battery, which looks a bit like a DD household battery with slightly protruding ends.

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High Voltage System Fault

High Voltage System Fault

This indicator light represents a High Voltage System Fault for a plug-in hybrid. The image features and exclamation mark over the vehicles battery, which in the drawing appears.

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External Sound System

External Sound System Problem

This is an alternative external sound system indicator light. Because hybrid cars don't make much of a sound, to warn pedestrians of when they are near.

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