Get to know the brain of your vehicle

Your dashboard lights are trying to tell you something; make sure you know what they are saying. 

Are you guilty of ignoring that check engine light when it comes on? Find out, where the issue is coming from, and when you REALLY have to get something checked out, based on the color of the icons. 

Think of the colors of the icons like a traffic light. Each icon on your dash will appear one of three colors: Green, yellow, or Red. 

Green: Go baby, go!

If the icons are green it means everything is in working order. No need to worry about this one. You may have, just had maintenance done on this system. Good for you! Regular maintenance is the best prevention for costly repairs down the road. 

Yellow: Budget! Have some money set aside for maintenance.

If your icon is yellow, now is the time to start thinking about taking time to go to the mechanic. Newer cars have sensors to alert you to a recent issue or when it is time for regular maintenance to be performed. Do not simply ignore this. 

Red: Full stop! Something needs ASAP attention. 

If you have been ignoring a yellow icon or there is a serious issue, your icon will now be red. In this case, go to the mechanic right away. The longer you ignore an issue, the more time consuming and expensive the repair. 

Now you know what the colors mean. Let’s look at 10 icons you should pay special attention to:


1. ABS warning light – it is turned on every time there’s something wrong with the Anti-lock Brake System. Note that the ABS symbol is activated once the drive starts the engine but it’s automatically turned off after a few seconds.

2. Electrical problem warning – this light warns you that there’s a problem with the electrical system of the car.

3. Brake system alert – the notification is powered on if the ECU detects a problem to the brake system

4. Warning light – it signals an unidentified problem with your car; it usually requires the car to be serviced.

5. Tire pressure monitor – the warning is turned on in case of low tire pressure which could raise the fuel consumption or affect the grip.

6. Air filter – usually installed on the center console but also found on the dashboard, this light informs the driver that a malfunction was detected at the passenger compartment air filter

7. Front airbag – the light monitors the front airbag and, in case it is turned on, signals a problem with it; it usually requires professional assistance.

8. Side airbag – same as the front airbag but intended for the side airbag

9.  Battery warning – if this light is turned on while driving, it reveals a malfunction concerning the battery charging system

10. Powertrain malfunction – if on, this light shows that the powertrain has been damaged and the car needs to be serviced as soon as possible.

It is important to recognize these icons, so that you know what your car is trying to communicate to you, on sight. The more you know about your car, the easier it will be to explain where your issue is coming from. This helps the mechanic diagnose and solve your problem quickly. 

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About Audra - Busy-Mom Mechanic Expert 4 Articles
With over 106 million female drivers on the road looking to save money and get their Vehicle to go that extra mile, Audra Fordin understands. Fordin, owner Great Bear 164-16 Sanford Avenue, Flushing NY 11358 a licensed/certified technician, 1st female, 4th generation owner of her family's auto repair shop, founded in 1933 is always speaking to women using her unique approach to demystify the automobile by correlating the car to the human body while educating on the basics of auto maintenance in a fun, friendly environment. FREE Workshops are available at Pledged Auto Shops nationwide. She is also married with 3 children!

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