What Do The Lights on Your Dashboard Mean?

car dashboard warning lights

Have you noticed an illuminated dashboard warning light, only to realize you aren’t quite sure what it means? You also aren’t alone if you’ve used the method of ignoring that dashboard icon hopes it will disappear. That method, though many are guilty of it, does not come recommended by the Toyota service team at our dealership in Cheboygan. Each light on your dashboard is an intentionally created light to help your car communicate with you for your own safety and the health of your vehicle. The guide below explains the meanings of the many dashboard warning lights. 

Dashboard Lights and What They Mean

Common Symbols 

  • Service Vehicle: This light can indicate a variety of non-engine system issues. It also kicks on in place of any individual icons that may not be working.
  • Washer Fluid Reminder: Your washer fluid is low and needs to be refilled.
  • High Beam Light Indicator: Your brights are on.
  • Door Ajar: A door or your trunk has not been closed properly.
  • Cruise Control: Cruise control or adaptive cruise control is engaged. 

Safety Symbols

  • Airbag Fault: There is a fault in the airbag system and it needs servicing.
  • Transmission Temperature: The transmission temperature is above normal. You need to check for coolant levels, fan operation, the radiator cap, and leaks. 
  • Traction Control Light: Your TCS is activated for safer driving in Petoskey or wherever you encounter such conditions.
  • Coolant Temp Warning: Your coolant levels are not what they should be, your fan isn’t functioning as it should, or there is a coolant leak.
  • Reduced Power Warning: This could mean that one of your engine’s components is malfunctioning.


  • ABS: Theanti-lock braking system feature prevents wheels from locking up during braking.
  • Brake Fluid: Your brake fluid level is low.
  • Brake Lights Warning: Your exterior brake light bulb or bulbs are not working properly. This should be checked and addressed immediately for the safety of you and others on the road in Indian River.
  • Parking Brake Light: This symbol is a circled P, and it means that your park brake is on.

Schedule Service at Fernelius Toyota

It is always ideal to have a professional evaluate whatever issue your dashboard warning lights may be indicating. If you’re currently in need of maintenance or repairs, please contact our Toyota service department so we can get your vehicle running safely and optimally. Stop by to our dealership with any other questions about the Toyota maintenance light, or to browse of inventory of new Toyota models.

Fernelius Toyota 45.622474, -84.47987.