Dashboard Lights Guide
Vehicles have become a lot more reliable in recent years, and even routine maintenance doesn’t need to be carried out nearly as frequently. This is undeniably a good thing, but it doesn’t mean that there can’t still be problems, or that it’s not important to know how to identify problems and their severity when they do arise. Some vehicles that have digital gauge clusters will tell you what the problem is in plain English, but sometimes this isn’t true of every issue, and quite a lot of vehicles don’t have these displays either. So we put together this guide to dashboard lights and their meanings, to help you make sense of what would otherwise be a jumble of confusing hieroglyphs.
Dashboard Light Color Codes
Dashboard lights come in different colors, and while the color of the light won’t give you a tremendous amount of insight into what’s wrong, the colors do have a meaning to them, and can still be quite helpful.
- Green (or Blue) Icon – These lights don’t indicate a problem, they just tell you that something has been turned on or activated.
- Yellow (or Orange) Icon – These indicate that something is wrong, sometimes with a sensor and sometimes with a component itself. These are faults that you’ll want to address as soon as you can, but you don’t need to immediately pull over and stop driving.
- Red Icon – For these, you do need to pull over and stop driving as soon as it is safe to do do. Red icons are the most urgent and potentially harmful issues. They don’t necessarily mean a major repair, but it isn’t safe to drive with one of these on.
What Do The Specific Icons Mean?
Brake System Failure
This indicates a major problem with your brake system. We strongly suggest pulling over immediately if you see this warning light come on. Your vehicle is unsafe to operate with this light on, and you should contact roadside assistance to take your vehicle to be serviced.
Emergency Brake Engaged
Driving with your emergency brake on can cause damage to your brakes pretty quickly. This is a pretty easy problem to fix, but be sure to do so right away if you see this light on.
Low Oil Pressure
This is an extremely serious issue, as low oil pressure means that your engine isn’t being properly lubricated. This could cause the engine to seize, which is an incredibly costly repair, and it could happen pretty quickly after a loss of pressure. Pull over as soon as it’s safe and contact roadside assistance.
This indicates that something has gone wrong with your charging system. Power is no longer being supplied to your battery, and when it runs out of power, your vehicle won’t run. Find a safe place to pull over and contact roadside assistance to avoid damaging your battery as well.
Supplemental Restraint System
The SRS is your vehicle’s airbag system, and it is absolutely vital to the safety of everyone in the vehicle. Until this problem is fixed, it is not safe to operate your vehicle.
High Coolant Temperature
Your engine is overheating. This can lead to further issues if it continues, and you should not continue to operate your vehicle in this condition, even if it otherwise seems okay.
Seat Belt Reminder
Another absolutely vital piece of safety equipment, you should never operate your vehicle without your seatbelt fastened.
It certainly isn’t safe to operate your vehicle with the door open either.
It can be surprisingly easy to get into your vehicle and start driving without realizing that the trunk has opened. Fortunately, there is a light for that.
Adaptive Cruise Control
The adaptive cruise control system is engaged. This is not a hands-free system though, and you will need to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
For vehicles with AWD systems that can be switched on and off, this icon indicates that the system is on. Turning it off in non-slippery conditions will help you save fuel.
Anti-Lock Brake System
This indicates that there is a problem with your anti-lock brake system. It’s possible that the non-ABS parts of your brake system will continue to function normally, but since ABS brakes are an essential safety system in emergency situations, you should not let complacency convince you to ignore the problem.
Blind Spot Warning
This isn’t always an icon, and can sometimes just be a light on your side mirror. Either way, it indicates that there is a vehicle in your blind spot, and it is not safe to change lanes.
Check Engine Light
This actually covers a wide range of issues from any of several different systems. Your vehicle won’t pass inspection if it’s on, and whatever the issue is, it could potentially lead to other issues. Best to get it checked out as soon as possible.
Collision Mitigation Braking System
This means your CMBS has been activated to help avoid an accident.
Daytime Running Lights
Something has gone wrong with your daytime running lights. This is a safety issue, and you should get it taken care of as soon as possible.
Electric Power Steering
It’s likely that you’ll feel this in the wheel before you see the light, but it means that there is an issue with your power steering, and it should be addressed immediately.
Lane Keeping Assist System
This system helps you to stay in the correct lane while driving. It might just work as a warning that you’re staying too close or over the line, and it might nudge your steering in the appropriate direction as well.
This one is pretty straightforward. But we should mention that operating your vehicle while low on fuel is bad for the fuel pump. So while it’s normal to see your fuel light come on every now and then, it’s a situation that should be avoided as much as possible.
This is scheduled to turn on at specific intervals when routine maintenance is due. Usually, this is just an oil change and a tire rotation, but there are other systems that need periodic maintenance as well.
Road Departure Mitigation
This is similar to the lane departure system, but a little more serious, as the system is designed to help you avoid driving off the road entirely.
Smart Entry System
This indicates that there is an issue with your smart entry system, and unlocking your doors or starting could become a problem. This is usually just a low battery in your keyfob, but whatever it is, you’ll want to get it checked right away.
This is essentially just a generic warning, and it will be accompanied by a more in-depth message on the driver information display, or possibly the infotainment screen.
Vehicle Stability Assist System
Also sometimes known as traction control, this light indicates that the vehicle has activated the system in order to maintain traction in slippery conditions.
Washer Fluid Level Low
Much like the low fuel indicator, this one is pretty self-explanatory. Also like the low fuel warning, activating the washer jets while the fluid level is low can damage the pump. Fortunately, this has a very cheap and easy fix.
Automatic High Beam Headlights
With automatic high beams in a lot of newer vehicles, it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether or not they’re on. This icon, sometimes in blue, lets you know they’re on.
Your vehicle will maintain a set speed until you switch the system off or depress a pedal. It is still important to drive with as much caution as you would without the system activated.
Like the automatic high beams, exterior lights are often automatically turned on and off on newer vehicles. But even on vehicles where it isn’t automatic, the icon serves as a reminder to switch the lights off when the engine is switched off.
Fog Lights On
Sometimes these are automatic and sometimes they aren’t. Either way, this will tell you they’re on.
Low Coolant Temperature
This will probably be on nearly every time you start your vehicle, especially if the weather is cold or it’s the first time you start it on a given day. Your engine works best within a specific temperature range, and it’s best to avoid driving too aggressively until it reaches operating temperature.
Your turn signals or hazards are activated.
Get Your Vehicle Serviced With Land Rover Easton
We have advised, for quite a few of these warning lights, to have your vehicle repaired, or at least inspected. For that, you’re going to want a team of Land Rover experts, with state-of-the-art tools and diagnostic equipment. That is exactly what you get with Land Rover Easton, our team of professionals can help with whatever your vehicle needs. Book an appointment today!