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We’ve all been there, driving along and a light pops up on your dashboard. The panic sets and you don’t know whether to test your luck and keep driving, or pull over and call for roadside assistance. That’s why we came up with this handy guide to help quell the panic and explain the most common dashboard lights that tend to pop up.

Fair warning, while dashboard lights might be universal, their design isn’t – so if none of these look familiar, refer to your car’s owner manual for more info.

  1. Tire Pressure:
    This is the least worrisome and most familiar light of them all – the tire pressure light. This one usually pops up on one of two occasions:
    A. You guessed it, when your tires are low on pressure and need a little extra boost
    B. When you’ve popped a tire.
    Keeping your tires properly inflated helps you save money in the long run as they can improve your gas mileage up to 3%.
  2. Traction control:
    You’ll see this one a lot if you’re traveling on slippery roads. Really, all this means is that your car’s anti-slip measures or electronic stability system is in use. Most vehicles will have an option to turn this feature off – which is especially useful when you’re stuck in a snowbank (speaking from personal experience here.)
  3. Check Engine:
    We know, this is the scary one. But don’t freak out, there are a number of reasons why this light could be going off. Sometimes it’s as simple as tightening your gas cap, other times it’s because an important part of the engine needs replacing. This isn’t one to ignore, so if you’ve tightened your gas cap and your light is still on, we suggest making an appointment ASAP to get your engine checked. Still unsure if you should bring your car in for a checkup? Use our Repair Assist feature to get connected to a certified mechanic who can help you figure out what to do.
  4. Temperature warning:
    Two scary lights in a row, we’re crazy for mentioning them right? No need to panic. Deep breaths. This one really just means that your vehicle’s temperature is too hot. Whether it’s a simple as topping off your coolant levels or checking the radiator cap, make an appointment with your mechanic to make sure that there is nothing greater at play.
  5. Battery warning:
    This one typically indicates that your vehicles voltage is below normal and which means your vehicles charging system isn’t working correctly. You might just need a new battery, but play it safe and give your repair shop a call to verify.

Seeing a light that isn’t mentioned on our list? Not sure if you want to take your car into the mechanic? Our Repair Assist feature can connect you with a certified mechanic who call tell you whether you have a cause for concern or the fix is a DIY. Never heard of Repair Assist? Give us a call to learn more about exactly what it is and how you can get it.

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