Cars and their internal systems have evolved so much throughout time. The dashboard has gone from a few small lights to a digital screen that may even speak to drivers. Dashboards communicate any auto problems with the vehicle. The dashboard cannot tell all or go into major details about necessary repairs or diagnoses, but the dash is an important feature in every car. Most dashboards include the following lights and sensors:
• Air Bag Indicator
• Check Engine Light
• Emergency Brake
• Engine Oil Level Indicator
• Seat Belt Reminder
• Tire Pressure Monitor
AIR BAG INDICATOR
The lights on the dashboard act as a warning. They are not meant to scare or intimidate drivers. The dashboard lights should grab the driver’s attention. The airbag indicator lets drivers know that their air bag has been activated or the air bag needs assistance. An air bag may activate, but not fully inflate if it is a minor bump or dent. This light notifies drivers that the air bag needs professional attention.
CHECK ENGINE LIGHT
The check engine light may be one of the most important lights, but also one of the most confusing. The check engine light doesn’t necessary mean that the engine is the problem. This light tends to go off due to several causes. A sensor that connects to the engine may be failing so this can cause a check engine light to flash. Read our advice for check engine lights in detail here.
Some lights do not always mean there is a problem. Some of the dashboard lights act as a simple reminder. The emergency brake light is another feature on most dashboards. Since not every parking spot requires the emergency brake, the light is there to remind drivers when they do apply the extra brake. Drivers don’t want to smell burning from their tires just because they forgot about the emergency brake.
ENGINE OIL LEVEL INDICATOR
Another dashboard light related to the engine is the oil level indicator. Every car needs oil lubrication to help the engine run. Cars should maintain a certain oil level. Usually, cars are due for oil changes after 3 months. The oil level indicator is there to again remind drivers of this maintenance check. The light should go off toward the 3-month mark, but it can light up earlier as well.
SEAT BELT REMINDER
The seat belt reminder may stand out from the rest of this list. The seat belt sign is one of the few lights that come with an audible reminder. Drivers will see a seat belt sign and hear a repetitive “ding” if they are not wearing their seat belt. Safety is always important and it is Texas law to wear your seat belt while driving. You will see the seat belt light every time you get in the car.
TIRE PRESSURE MONITOR
Finally, the tire pressure monitor is another feature on dashboards. This light will warn drivers of a flat tire. Some monitors are more sensitive so they will illuminate whenever the tire pressure is low. As soon as a driver sees this light, check all four tires. If one tire is flat to low on air, the other tires may need a refill too.