Warning Lights: What Do They Mean?

Auto Care Advice

Warning lights are lights on the instrument panel/dashboard of a vehicle that alert the driver when something is wrong. Depending on the light and the severity of the problem, you may or may not notice performance issues. Warning lights can be serious in nature, such as the Check Engine Light, or more benign, such as the parking brake light.

It is normal for the lights to illuminate briefly when the vehicle is started, but if they stay on or begin to flash, you should take the vehicle into a repair shop to get it checked out. You should never ignore a warning light. Some of them indicate serious problems with your vehicle that could render it unsafe to drive.

Warning Light

Description

Check Engine Light
The Check Engine Light (CEL) is a warning indicator—it means your vehicle's computer has determined that a component or system in your emission control system is not working properly. The light may be amber or red, come on intermittently, flicker, or flash, or stay illuminated. Whatever the case, take your vehicle to a repair shop immediately. If it is red and blinking, or you are experiencing performance problems, immediately stop the vehicle and have it towed to a repair shop.
Check Engine Light
The Check Engine Light (CEL) is a warning indicator—it means your vehicle's computer has determined that a component or system in your emission control system is not working properly. The light may be amber or red, come on intermittently, flicker, or flash, or stay illuminated. Whatever the case, take your vehicle to a repair shop immediately. If it is red and blinking, or you are experiencing performance problems, immediately stop the vehicle and have it towed to a repair shop.
Check Engine Light
The Check Engine Light (CEL) is a warning indicator—it means your vehicle's computer has determined that a component or system in your emission control system is not working properly. The light may be amber or red, come on intermittently, flicker, or flash, or stay illuminated. Whatever the case, take your vehicle to a repair shop immediately. If it is red and blinking, or you are experiencing performance problems, immediately stop the vehicle and have it towed to a repair shop.
Check Engine Light
The Check Engine Light (CEL) is a warning indicator—it means your vehicle's computer has determined that a component or system in your emission control system is not working properly. The light may be amber or red, come on intermittently, flicker, or flash, or stay illuminated. Whatever the case, take your vehicle to a repair shop immediately. If it is red and blinking, or you are experiencing performance problems, immediately stop the vehicle and have it towed to a repair shop.
Check Engine Light
The Check Engine Light (CEL) is a warning indicator—it means your vehicle's computer has determined that a component or system in your emission control system is not working properly. The light may be amber or red, come on intermittently, flicker, or flash, or stay illuminated. Whatever the case, take your vehicle to a repair shop immediately. If it is red and blinking, or you are experiencing performance problems, immediately stop the vehicle and have it towed to a repair shop.
Service Engine Soon
The Service Engine Soon (SES) Light is essentially the same as the Check Engine Light. It is a warning indicator—it means your vehicle's computer has determined that a component or system in your emission control system is not working properly. The light may be amber or red, come on intermittently, flicker, or flash, or stay illuminated. Whatever the case, take your vehicle to a repair shop immediately. If it is red and blinking, or you are experiencing performance problems, immediately stop the vehicle and have it towed to a repair shop.

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