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Dashboard Warning Light Guide & Meanings from North Brothers Ford

On the dashboard in your vehicle, there are many tools that help you monitor your car, truck, or SUV, including a speedometer, odometer, tachometer, coolant temperature gauge, fuel gauge, and all those warning lights that pop up when you least expect them to. Each warning light indicates an alert related to one of your vehicle’s components or functions. Your dashboard might not show any illuminated lights at the moment, but it's important to know what each indicator means in the event it does light up.

Although the term "warning" light is appropriate for some of your vehicle’s dashboard alerts that should be attended to immediately to prevent damage, many other dashboard lights are simply a notification of what functions/controls are currently in-use. At North Brothers Ford, we want to help you understand what these dashboard indicators mean, so you know what to do if they do illuminate. Explore our Dashboard Warning Light Guide below for an introduction to all the meanings of the various lights on your dash! If you have any questions regarding your dashboard warning lights or aren't sure if your vehicle needs service, please don't hesitate to give us a call at (734) 821-7451.

  • Vehicle Performance Lights

  • Optional Feature Lights

  • Standard Notification Lights

Vehicle Performance Light Meanings & What To Do

  • Check Engine/Service Engine Light

    When your Check Engine or Service Engine Soon light illuminates on your dashboard, there's no need to panic, there are many different causes for the light coming on. However, it’s important to address the alert as soon as possible. The most important action you can take immediately is to note how your vehicle is running, if there are any other lights illuminated on your dash, and if you smell or hear anything strange. Then make a service appointment to have your vehicle professionally inspected.
  • Battery Light

    Your vehicle's battery not only helps start your car, but also drives the function of some of the electric components within your car. When your vehicle's battery dashboard warning light is illuminated, it may indicate a battery malfunction or low power. To avoid getting into a situation where your car won't start, schedule a battery inspection and if need be, have your battery replaced. Visit our helpful Service Center in Westland, MI!
  • Engine Oil Light

    Your vehicle's engine oil light, when illuminated, can indicate a loss of oil pressure or a reduction in your vehicle’s oil level. If this light is illuminated, check your oil level and note if you see a leak underneath your vehicle. If you do notice a loss of oil, it's important to have your vehicle inspected by one of our technicians right away.
  • Brake System Light

    Your brakes are one of the most important aspects to your safety while on the road. While an illuminated Brake System light could simply be notifying you that you have your parking brake on, it can also indicate a malfunction in the brake system, or low brake fluid. Because your brakes are such a big safety component, it's important to check your parking brake before driving, and if the light is still on, schedule an appointment at our Service Center!
  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) Light

    Your Anti-Lock Braking System allows your wheels to maintain traction with the road without locking up when the driver brakes. If the ABS light is illuminated, your ABS system may be malfunctioning. Your brakes will continue to work as needed without ABS, unless the brake system light is also illuminated. The ABS is an important safety feature, especially in inclement weather, so schedule a brake service appointment to have a technician diagnose the ABS issue as soon as possible.
  • Electric Park Brake Light

    The Electric Park Brake is just like your normal park brake, except that it functions electronically. Instead of manually activating the park brake, you simply press a button. If this light is illuminated, it may mean your Electric Park Brake system is malfunctioning. At North Brothers’ Service Center, we can help diagnose the issue and get you back on the road in no time.
  • Engine Coolant Temperature Light

    Your engine's coolant is responsible for controlling the temperature of your engine. Without enough coolant your engine can overheat, which can cause serious damage. If your Engine Coolant Temperature light illuminates, this is an alert your engine is too hot. It’s recommended to pull over and stop the car immediately to seek service as soon as possible.
  • Low Fuel Level Light

    Your vehicle dashboard will alert you when your fuel is low with the Low Fuel Level light. When it comes on, it's time to make your way to a gas station as soon as possible. Don't wait to fill up! It's better to be safe than to risk running out of gas and getting stranded on the side of the road.
  • Low Tire Pressure Warning Light

    Your vehicle's tires are equipped with sensors that can communicate to your vehicle’s computer system if a tire’s air pressure is low. When the light comes on, it means the air pressure has dropped significantly enough to alert your vehicle. It may not mean you have a flat tire, but it could be a warning sign of a punctured tire. The temperature can also affect tire air pressure. Inspect the air pressure of each tire before driving, and if you do notice a leak, bring your vehicle in to have your tire repaired at our Westland Service Center.
  • Powertrain Fault Light

    The Powertrain Fault light will illuminate on your dashboard when there is a Powertrain or All-Wheel Drive system fault or malfunction. This warning light can also illuminate when routine maintenance is required. If this light is on, it's important to have your vehicle inspected to diagnose any potential problems.

Optional Feature Lights & What They Mean

  • Adaptive Cruise Control Light

    If you have a vehicle equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control, an advanced safety feature, this indicator light will illuminate when the feature is in use. The light will be white when the system is on, and green when it is actively in use or engaged. As the driver, you have control to set the speed and following distance with this system.
  • Auto Start-Stop Indicator

    Some vehicles are equipped with an auto start-stop function, which turns off the engine and restarts the vehicle at traffic stops, to reduce the amount of time the engine idles and to save on fuel consumption. When the system kicks-in or shuts your engine down, the Auto Start-Stop light will illuminate on your dash.
  • Blind Spot Monitor Indicator

    The Blind Spot Monitor is a safety feature that notifies you via a dashboard light, and typically an additional light on your side mirrors, when there is another vehicle or object in your blind spot. This light will illuminate when the system is turned off. As the driver, it's up to you to turn the system on or off.
  • Cruise Control Light

    The cruise control function allows your vehicle to travel at a set speed without your foot on the gas pedal. When this function is on, the Cruise Control light will be illuminated on the dash. It's the driver's responsibility to turn the system on and off, usually via a control located on the steering wheel or steering column.
  • Heads Up Display Indicator

    The Heads Up Display feature is available on some of the newest Ford vehicles, and its indicator actually appears on the windshield rather than the dashboard. The Heads Up Display indicator may alert the driver by illuminating a red horizontal line on the windshield when using adaptive cruise control or the collision warning system.
  • Lane Keeping Aid Indicator

    Lane Keep Assist is a safety feature available on newer Ford vehicles. When the Lane Keeping Aid system is on, vertical colored lines will appear next to the vehicle icon on the dashboard. The driver has the ability to turn the system off, in which case the vertical colored lights will also turn off.
  • Stability Control Light

    If your vehicle is equipped with Stability Control, the indicator light on your dash will illuminate when the system is active. This safety feature is typically activated in inclement weather when the roads aren't in ideal condition. When the light is illuminated, exercise additional safety and drive with caution!

Standard Notification Lights & What They Mean

  • Turn Signal Indicator

    The turn signals on your vehicle are the lights on the front and rear of your car that flash on and off to indicate which direction you're turning. When your turn signal indicator is illuminated on your dashboard, it means the exterior lamps are on as well, in sync with the lights on your dashboard. If your turn signal indicators are flashing faster than normal, it can mean a bulb is about to burn out. If this happens, have the bulb replaced as soon as possible. Without a turn signal light, you could face a ticket and compromised safety.
  • Door Ajar Indicator

    The Door Ajar indicator simply means one of your vehicle's doors are open. Many times, it will indicate exactly which door it is. For your safety, make sure to close the door before proceeding. Your vehicle may also alert you of an open door by keeping the overhead light on or with a beeping noise.
  • Hood Ajar Indicator

    The Hood Ajar light indicates your vehicle’s hood is open or hasn't been shut completely. If the hood is not completely closed, it can potentially flip open while driving, covering the view of your windshield, and seriously compromising your safety. Make sure the hood is completely latched shut before driving.
  • Trunk Ajar Indicator

    The Trunk Ajar light illuminates when your vehicle's trunk door is open. To keep your trunk door from opening while driving, make sure it is completely latched shut before driving. Closing the door completely will also turn off the indicator light on your dash.
  • Fasten Safety Belt Indicator

    This light indicates that a passenger does not have their seatbelt on. Your vehicle can recognize when a body is in a seat and will therefore alert you when a passenger doesn't have the seatbelt fastened. For your and your passenger's safety, make sure to fasten all seatbelts before hitting the road.
  • Front Airbag Indicator

    When your airbag light is illuminated on your dashboard while the car is running, it can indicate a malfunction or fault in the airbag system. When this happens, it's important to bring your car, truck, crossover, or SUV into our dealership as soon as possible. Our factory-trained technicians can evaluate and fix any issues to keep you safe.
  • Front Fog Lights Indicator

    The front fog light indicator on your vehicle’s dashboard will only illuminate when your fog lights are on. These lights are located near the headlights and offer increased illumination. You can turn them off by using the light control near your steering column.
  • High Beam Lights Indicator

    Your vehicle's high beams are the exterior auto lights that offer increased brightness in addition to your regular headlights. When the High Beam light is illuminated, it indicates your high beams are currently on. When there are other drivers on the road with you, make sure to turn them off as they can impair the vision of others.

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Schedule Your Warning Light Service Appointment in Westland, MI

Now that you've explored our Vehicle Dashboard Warning Light Guide, you know what each of the warning lights and indicators on your vehicle’s dashboard may be trying to tell you! The best way to prevent vehicle warning lights from illuminating at an inconvenient time, is routine maintenance. At North Brothers Ford, we want to help you take care of your vehicle investment so you can enjoy it for years to come without hassle. This is why we’re happy to offer service and maintenance resources on your website for your convenience. Our team of auto experts wants to make your life easy with their extensive knowledge, friendly service, and skill to service any make or model, including your Ford vehicle.

Schedule your warning light appointment check-in time online to save even more time at your vehicle service appointment at North Brothers Ford in Westland, MI. Before your appointment, check out our coupons page to save on your auto service before stopping in! If you have any questions about your dashboard warning lights, or auto service, please let us know! We'd be happy to help. Give us a call at (734) 821-7451 or stop by our dealership located at 33300 Ford Rd., Westland, MI 48185.

North Brothers Ford

33300 Ford Rd.
Westland, MI 48185 734-928-2108
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Sales Hours

Mon & Thurs
8:30am - 9pm
Tues, Wed, Fri
8:30am - 6pm
9:00am - 3:00pm

Service Hours

Mon & Thurs
7am - 8pm
Tues & Wed
7am - 6pm
7am - 7pm
9am - 3pm

Collision Hours

Mon & Thurs
7:30am - 8pm
Tues, Wed, Fri
7:30am - 6pm
9am - 3pm
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