When your vehicle’s dash indicator lights illuminate, do you know what they’re telling you? At AA Auto Tech, we know your dashboard can be a confusing place, but that doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye. If your dash lights are on, prompt action is necessary to avoid further damage and costly auto repairs. Below, we’ve put together a brief list of the most common warning indicator lights and what they mean. If any of these lights illuminate, don’t make the mistake of ignoring them. 


Check Engine Light

If your check engine light illuminates, your engine’s computer is signaling that something has gone awry. The computer generates a code that corresponds with the engine’s specific issue, which causes the indicator light to turn on. If your engine light illuminates, do not ignore it! We need to diagnose the issue as quickly as possible to determine if your vehicle requires engine repair.  


Battery Indicator

It’s normal for your vehicle’s battery indicator light to illuminate each time you start the engine. However, it’s not normal for the indicator to remain illuminated for longer than a few seconds. If the battery light remains on while you’re driving, it’s indicating an issue with the battery’s ability to charge. Your vehicle can still operate with an illuminated battery because it’s running off stored charge, though, when the charge runs out, you’ll have a non-functional vehicle. Don’t take that chance. Take your vehicle in for a battery replacement or see if you can have it recharged.


Coolant Light

When the coolant light illuminates, it’s indicating that the engine’s internal temperature has exceeded its acceptable limit. Excessive engine temperature may occur when the engine has insufficient oil or coolant, which means your vehicle needs a coolant refill, and oil change, or a tune-up.


Transmission Temperature Indicator

An illuminated transmission light typically means one of two things: your transmission fluid is low or your vehicle requires routine maintenance. If you have a high mileage vehicle, the transmission light may illuminate just after the 100,000-mile mark to alert you that it’s time to schedule maintenance. When the light illuminates due to low fluid levels, it’s imperative that you take your vehicle in for a coolant refill. If you fail to top up the fluid, you could damage your vehicle and may end up requiring a transmission replacement.


Service Indicator Light

Illuminated service indicator lights aren’t typically a cause for alarm. When your vehicle requires routine maintenance, such as a fluid refill or an oil change, these lights turn on to let you know it’s time to head to the shop. If you don’t know which auto services you require, your technician can check your vehicle’s records to determine what needs to be done.


Tire Indicator Light

One or more of your vehicle’s tires have low air pressure when this light illuminates. While you may be able to get by for a day or two without topping up the affected tires’ air level, it’s not recommended. Driving on an improperly inflated tire is a safety hazard, and low tire pressure can affect the way your vehicle drives. For safety’s sake, take your vehicle in for a tire inspection to locate the source of the air leak. You may get lucky and only need a tire repair, but if the damage is significant, you’ll likely need a tire replacement.


Brake Indicator

If your brake pads are wearing thin, your vehicle’s brake indicator light may illuminate to let you know. You’ll want to have a brake pad replacement at your earliest convenience because allowing the pads to wear down fully can cause significant damage to your rotors. If you wait too long to take care of the issue, you might require rotor replacement.


Are Your Dash Lights On? Bring Your Vehicle to AA Auto Tech

Modern vehicles have a wide assortment of dash indicator lights, many of which are not listed above. If you notice that any of your dash lights remain illuminated, it’s critical that you bring your vehicle to AA Auto Tech to have it diagnosed by an ASE certified technician. If you’re a resident of the Twin Cities metro area, we’re ready to get your vehicle back on the road safely. To schedule a diagnostic, give our team a call at 651-437-2218, or feel free to message us on our contact page.