5 Essential Dashboard Warning Lights That Car Owners Must know


It’s crucial to be familiar with your car’s signal system. Listed below are some of the most frequent dashboard lights. Not all lights are universal, so we recommend that you check your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Dashboard lights indicate a fault in the system but not the specific part that is failing. In these cases, the best way to determine the part that needs to be replaced is with a code reader. Here are five crucial vehicle warning lights to know:

#1. Washer fluid level warning signal

This washer fluid warning light means that there is a low level of washer fluid in the reservoir. The first thing to do is to fill the washer fluid reservoir. Remember to fill both washer reservoirs in your car (there may be one for the headlights).

Consult your service manual if there is more than one reservoir. If you live in a cold country, always make sure you use the correct mixture of washer fluid and water.

If you filled the reservoir, but the light is still on, there may be a problem with the washer fluid level sensor or a problem with the sensor wiring. It could also be a wiring problem between the sensor and the dashboard or a faulty dashboard.

How bad is the washer fluid light? The windshield washer fluid light does not take driving very seriously. What will happen is that you may run out of washer fluid and cannot clear the front or rear windshield. You won’t damage any other parts if you keep driving with the light on.

#2. Traction Control System (TCS) dashboard warning light.

These warning lights mean there is a problem with your traction control system. The traction control system uses ABS wheel sensors to sense the speed of each wheel and reduce engine power if a wheel spins or slips on a slippery surface. 

Often, you may find these warning lights along with the ABS light because the systems work together and use the same wheel sensors. To find the problem with this warning light, you must read the fault code memory of the ABS control unit to see the stored fault codes. 

A common problem with this warning light is a damaged ABS sensor, ABS ring, or sensor wiring. To know more about how to diagnose this warning light, you can refer to Youramazingcar.com.

How bad is the traction control light? When the traction control light is on, your traction control and anti-spin will not work and can result in an accident if you are not familiar with driving without it. 

That’s why I recommend repairing the problem as soon as possible. If you keep driving with the light on, you probably won’t damage any more parts.

#3. TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) warning signal.

The TPMS warning light means that there is a problem with your TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) or that one of your tires has low pressure.

The tire pressure monitoring system light will stop functioning once you ensure that all of your tires have the correct level of pressure. You can find the correct tire pressure in your service manual or on the body when you open the driver’s door. 

Once you have filled the tire pressure light, you must reset the TPMS system. There are several methods to reset the TPMS system depending on the car you have; some vehicles have to drive for 15 minutes, and some have a reset button. See Iowalum website for possible reset situations: TPMS Reset.

If you cannot turn this light off and the tire pressure is correct, there may be a fault code stored in the tire pressure monitoring system. It may be a fault because the control unit is not communicating with one of the sensors. If you have replaced your tires, you may need to reprogram the new sensors in the control unit with a TPMS tool / OBD2 scanner.

How bad is the TPMS light? If your car has a sensor or programming issue, you can reset the problem causing the light to come on. It is not harmful to continue driving your car with this issue. But a TPMS light on could also mean you have a flat tire. Check your tire pressure when the light is on.

#4. DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) Warning Symbol

This DPF warning light could mean two different things depending on the model of the car you have. One possible reason the light is on could be an issue with the diesel particulate filter monitoring system. Another possibility could be that the diesel particulates are full, and it is time for scheduled maintenance.

To begin, you should look at the schedule to see if there is an available time slot for service on your vehicle. Some cars have scheduled service to replace the diesel particulate filter (BMW). If you get this warning light along with the check engine light, there is most likely a faulty sensor in your particulate filter. 

To find which sensor it is, you must read the fault code memory from the engine control unit. If you are only driving short distances, this light may come on if a particulate filter regeneration was performed a long time ago. 

When driving, your car regenerates when the engine is warm, and you drive long distances. If you only drive short distances, you may need to connect a diagnostic scanner and perform a manual regeneration.

How bad is the particulate filter light? If the particulate light has just appeared, it will not damage your car if you do not drive too far with it. 

When the particulate filter light is on, the particulate filter cleaning processes will shut down and may cause your particulate filter to clog the filter completely, and your car will stop if it is a sensor problem. I recommend checking it out at a repair shop as soon as possible.

#5. Seat Belt Unlocked Warning Symbol

The seatbelt light means that one or more seat belts are not correctly positioned in one of the car seats or there is a problem with one of the seat buckles.

Generally, you must connect the seat belt for each person in the car. Load-monitoring sensors situated in the back seat and passenger seat detect whether anyone is sitting there.

If you put a lot of stuff on the seat, you may need to connect the seat belt to turn off the light. It could also be a faulty seat sensor or a faulty seat belt buckle causing this light to stay on.

A little tip is to remove the seat buckle connector from the seat to see if the light turns off. On some vehicles, the opposite is true; you have to cut both wires. Always check the wiring diagram of your vehicle before performing these experiments.

How bad is the seat belt warning light? According to experts at Raceonthebase, you can keep driving even if the “check engine” light is on, and it won’t damage your car. It is just a seat belt indicator.