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Dashboard Lights - 3 Common Ones & What They Mean

Dashboard Lights - 3 Common Ones & What They Mean | Hometown Tire and Auto

Have you ever been driving along, minding your own business, when suddenly a mysterious light appears on your dashboard? It's a common occurrence that can leave many drivers puzzled and concerned.

If you want to know a little more about these lights and what they mean, you are in the right spot. Understanding them with a little help from us, you can navigate the road with confidence and peace of mind.

   1. Check Engine Light

One of the most notorious dashboard lights is the check engine light. When this light illuminates, it's like a silent alarm, signaling that something may be amiss under the hood. While it can indicate a range of issues, from minor to severe, it's essential not to ignore it. Common causes include a loose gas cap, faulty oxygen sensor, or more serious engine problems. If the light persists, it's best to diagnose your vehicle with a professional mechanic to prevent potential damage.

   2. Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) Light

Ever noticed a little tire-shaped icon illuminated on your dashboard? That's your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) light, and it's there to alert you to potential tire pressure issues. Driving with improperly inflated tires can affect fuel efficiency, handling, and even tire wear. When the TPMS light comes on, it's crucial to check your tire pressures and inflate them to the manufacturer's recommended levels. Ignoring this warning could lead to unsafe driving conditions and costly tire damage.

   3. Battery Warning Light

The battery light, often depicted as a symbol resembling a battery or the letters "ALT," warns drivers of potential issues with the vehicle's charging system. When this light comes on while driving, it may indicate a faulty alternator, a loose or corroded battery connection, or a failing battery. A malfunctioning charging system can lead to a dead battery and eventual stalling of the vehicle, so it's crucial to address this issue promptly. If the battery light illuminates, it's advisable to have your vehicle's charging system inspected by a qualified mechanic to diagnose and rectify the problem.

   Lesser-Known Dashboard Lights

In addition to the commonly recognized dashboard lights, there are two lesser-known indicators that many car owners may not be familiar with. These include:

Glow Plug Indicator - Exclusive to Diesel Engines

The glow plug indicator, often depicted as a coil or spiral, is exclusive to diesel-powered vehicles. This light illuminates when the engine's glow plugs are warming up to aid in cold engine starts. If the glow plug indicator remains illuminated while driving, it may indicate a malfunctioning glow plug system, which can affect the engine's performance and efficiency. Diesel vehicle owners should be aware of this light's significance and address any issues promptly to ensure optimal engine operation.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Light - Maintaining Control on the Road

The electronic stability control (ESC) light, also known as the traction control light, indicates that the vehicle's stability control system is engaged. This system helps prevent skidding and loss of control by applying individual brakes and reducing engine power as needed. If the ESC light illuminates while driving, it may indicate a malfunction in the stability control system, compromising the vehicle's handling and safety. Drivers should consult their vehicle's owner's manual for guidance on addressing ESC-related issues and seek professional assistance if necessary.


Don't let a few lights scare you! Take action and visit Hometown Tire and Auto - the collar solution to all things car-related. From essential maintenance to complex diagnostics, we do it all.

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