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Dashboard Indicator Light Meanings

You’re driving along and all is well and good until some pesky little symbol lights up on your dashboard. It’s telling you something … but what? Use this guide to learn the meanings behind some of your service indicator lights.


Battery Alert


The battery icon indicates that your battery’s charge is lower than normal. Most of the time, this means that there’s something wrong with your charging system, preventing your battery from charging all the way.


Oil Pressure


If you see the oil can light, it might mean that your oil levels are too low, or that your vehicle has had a loss of oil pressure. Check your oil, and if low oil isn’t the problem, take your car to a professional.


Coolant Temperature Warning


The temperature warning icon usually looks like a thermometer in water. This warning light means that your car is overheating. If you see this, you should pull over to a safe location as soon as possible and allow your car to cool off for 20-30 minutes before checking under the hood for coolant levels.


Brake System


An exclamation point within a circle could be telling you one of three things about your brake system. Either your parking brake is on, there is a problem with the brake system like low brake fluid or there is an issue with the anti-lock brake system.


Lamp Out


The lamp out light looks like a sun, and means that an exterior light, like a brake light or a headlight, isn’t functioning correctly.​ 


Traction Control of ESP


Indicated with a car driving in a squiggly line, the traction control light shows that your vehicle’s traction control or electronic stability system has been activated. This light is a good indicator that driving conditions are slippery and that your should take extra care when driving.​ 
Ford Fusion Dashboard in Pittsburgh, PA

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