Dashboard warnings are important. They alert you to a potential malfunction or problem with your vehicle. But what do all the different symbols mean? More importantly, what do you do when one comes on? This post will break down five of the most common warnings and what they mean. Remember, not all dashboard symbols have the same meaning, so be sure to consult your manual.

#1 Oil Warning Light

Oil is the most important fluid running through your vehicle. The oil warning light appears when the oil temperature is too high, or when there has been a decrease in oil pressure.

Driving with oil that is too hot or with no oil at all is extremely dangerous and can actually destroy your entire engine. When you see this light, you should bring your vehicle in right away. Most times, you just need an oil change, but it could be more serious.

#2 Tire Pressure Monitor Warning Light

This light is probably the easiest to decipher and it means your tire pressure is low in one or multiple tires on your vehicle. To fix this problem, simply fill your tires with air to the correct PSI, which can be found in your manual. Most gas stations have air pumps that cost a dollar to use. Driving on flat or underinflated tires can cause damage to your rims and will have a negative effect on your fuel economy.

#3 Check Engine Light

Inside your engine is a computer that monitors the health of your vehicle. When it detects something is wrong, the light comes on alerting the driver. The tricky thing with a check engine light is that the issue could be a variety of things like a spark plug or loose gas cap. However, it could mean something far more serious, too.

When this light comes on, we recommend booking a service appointment as soon as you can. Do not ignore it. Even if it does turn out to be something small, it will save you a headache down the road. Some of the most common causes of a check engine light are faulty spark plugs, airflow sensor, a blown gasket head, a wet engine or your catalytic converter.

#4 Brake Warning Light

First thing first, is your parking brake on? If so, this is an easy fix. However, if it is not and the light remains on, this is serious and you need to have a mechanic look at it right away. It could mean you are low on brake fluid or short on hydraulic pressure, both of which can lead to serious issues.

#5 ABS Light

The Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) light is designed to alert you if there is a breakdown in the anti-lock brake system. There are dozens of reasons why this light might come on, but typically it is a loss of voltage, a defective wheel speed sensor or a low amount of fluid in the ABS reservoir.

No need to panic. This might be the least troublesome of all the lights. Still, it requires attention so best to making an appointment when it is convenient for you.