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Dashboard Warning Lights - What do they mean?
Almost all new cars come with an array of dashboard warning lights, some with as many as 25 different symbols. Although you probably recognize more common ones, it’s important to understand all of the different symbols that might appear.

Check Engine/Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL): indicating that the engine computer has set a Diagnostic Trouble Code for things like: O2 Sensor, a loose gas cap, Catalytic Converter, Mass Airflow Sensor, and/or Spark Plugs.

Battery/Charging Alert: voltage levels are below normal, and the charging system isn’t working right. It could be bad battery terminals and connections, the alternator, or even a dying battery.

Traction Control or ESP: illuminates when the traction control and anti-skid system is in use, indicating road conditions are especially slippery. It can also appear if you completely turn off the system.

Overdrive or O/D: the overdrive system has been turned off, which is usually only a good idea for towing/hauling.

Coolant Temperature Warning: resembling an odd thermometer sitting on water, and indicates your engine may be overheating. Check coolant levels, fan operation, the radiator cap, and coolant leaks.

Oil Pressure: resembling an oil can, this means that there has been a loss of oil pressure. Check for leaks.

ABS/Brake Light: the anti-lock brake system has diagnosed an error, and needs professional repair.

Color is usually important, and most models follow this guideline:
  • Red: potentially serious problem or safety issue (brakes, engine temp, oil, battery, etc.). Fix ASAP.
  • Yellow/Orange: service or repair soon.
  • Green/Blue: a system is on or operating (lights, high-beams, turn indicator).

Some lights appear when you first start your car, and should disappear after a few moments. If any of the lights listed above appear while you’re driving, visit Dan Pfeiffer Plainfield Used Cars’ Service Center for quick and easy assistance.
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