Dashboard Lights Explained

A Map To Your Car’s Dashboard

Lights are here to guide us.  They’re here to illuminate the darkness in our lives.  They’re not scary.  I would say there are a multitude of things in the world that give the average person anxiety.  Public speaking or the fear of dying – I would even include clowns on that list.  But then there’s driving.

Some of us are great drivers, and as some of you may know during rush hour on San Antonio’s 1604 and 410 highways, some of us are flat out not.  You may think other drivers are the only thing you have to worry about, and then you see your light come on. No, not your gas light.  The OTHER one.

Check Engine Light

Check Engine Light

Remember that anxiety I was talking about?  So now is about the time it kicks in.  The problem is, most of us don’t know exactly what it means…so we ignore it.  Pretend it’s not there.  I have even seen some people put duct tape over it.  Duct tape.

In the interest of keeping your car alive and removing some of the unnecessary stress from your life, we’re here to demystify some of the more recurring themes on your car’s dashboard.  Starting with our notorious friend, the Check Engine Light.

Check Engine

  • Mass Airflow Sensor – either it was installed properly, or you may have a dirty air filter.  If you ignore it you’ll lose gas mileage, or eventually your car may stall.
  • Oxygen Sensor – sometimes you have all that gunk flying around your car get stuck to your oxygen filter.  It happens.  Now, if it doesn’t get taken care of you may lose gas mileage as well.  It could even affect your catalytic converter.
  • Spark Plugs – they are literally the spark your car needs to get going.  These should be replaced ever 100,000 miles in newer cars and 3-5 times more often in older vehicles.  Avoid taking care of this necessity and you would probably see a drop in fuel efficiency and maybe a jolting or two when accelerating.
  • Catalytic converter – this is the thing that fixes your whole carbon monoxide situation within your car.  It’s important – and so is taking care of it if!  As usual fuel efficiency will probably be affected as well as your car’s ability to convert CO into emissions
  • Loose/Cracked Hoses or Manifold – over the lifespan of your car vacuum leaks can occur from worn down hoses or leaky manifold.  Don’t take it into the shop for this situation? Pricey.  Aside from the usual fuel efficiency drop you may also see a drop in power to your car and it could hurt the engine permanently.


What Else Is There?

Master Warning Light


Master Warning Light – It is letting you know there is an unknown problem with your vehicle.  You should have it looked at right away.


Tire Pressure Light


                Tire Pressure Light – Your car’s tires are not at optimal levels.


ABS Light


ABS Brake System Light – the computer recognizes there is a problem with the ABS Braking System, but you still have access to normal brakes.  Just make sure to be careful, as they could “lock up” on you if you’re not.

Engine Temp Light


Engine Temp Light – your engine has an overheating issue.  That’s not good.


Brake Warning Light

Brake System Light – your brakes‘ hydraulic pressure has been lost on one side due to constant braking or low fluid levels.


There are a vast array of lights on your dashboard, this merely touches the tip of the iceberg.  Have you seen any lights you’ve never heard of before? Leave us a comment below and better yet – let us know if you’d like us to do a continuation on this topic.  Safe driving!

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