The Auto Gurus
GM Dashboard Lights
What Does Each Chevrolet, Buick GMC Dashboard Warning/Indicator Light Mean?
Dashboard warning lights and indicators provide drivers with valuable information about a vehicle’s status and condition. These indicators notify us if one of our vehicle’s systems needs attention or servicing. Today’s modern cars have more complex functions and safety systems than ever before, and therefore have more dashboard warning indicators than ever. If you’re confused about the dashboard warning lights on your Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac car, truck or SUV, let us make these helpful devices a little less of a mystery.
First, dashboard warning lights are a sign that something needs our attention or action. For example, most of us know that when we see the little indicator that looks like a gas pump, we need to stop and refuel. Some of the other warning lights are less easy to decipher, and thankfully less common to see. Here are some of the warning indicator lights on your GM Vehicles dashboard, and what they mean.
Dashboard Warning Lights
- Check Engine Light This warning light is also called the Malfunction Indicator Lamp, and looks like the outline of a car’s engine. It is used to notify you of a variety of possible problems having to do with the engine or emissions system on your vehicle. If this light comes on and stays on, or if it begins flashing, bring your car in for service right away.
- Brake System or ABS Warning Light A warning light with (ABS) or (!) illuminated means a problem with the vehicle’s brakes. It might indicate worn brake pads, low brake fluid, or something more critical. In any case, this is a serious safety concern that should be addressed as soon as possible.
- Charging System A warning light that looks like a battery with + and – symbols indicates a problem with your car’s charging system. If this light comes on and stays on, it could indicate a drain on the battery that may soon make your car inoperable. Bring your car in to have this problem checked immediately.
- Tire Pressure Monitor The indicator light that looks like a cross section of a tire with an exclamation mark inside is the tire pressure monitor system light. It may mean that one or more of your vehicle’s tires are under-inflated. Stop when it’s safe and check your tire pressure. Driving on under-inflated tires is unsafe and can lead to a blowout.
- Engine Coolant Temperature This light will illuminate when your vehicle’s cooling system reaches an unsafe level. It indicates a problem with the cooling system that is causing the engine to overheat and may cause serious damage. Do not ignore this indicator light – instead bring your car to the nearest service center, or simply stop driving and call for assistance.
- Oil Pressure This is another serious warning light that should be checked immediately. It means that your engine’s oil pressure is too low, indicating too little oil in the engine, or something more serious. In any case, bring your car in for servicing immediately if you see this light come on and stay on.
- Traction Control System(TCS)/StabiliTrak® Light This light will come on briefly when the engine is started. If the light does not come on, have the vehicle serviced at GM dealership. If the system is working normally, the indicator light turns off. If you notice the light is on and flashing, then the system is actively working. If the light is on and not flashing, the TCS, and potentially the StabiliTrak system has been disabled or isn’t working properly.
- Tire Pressure Light The Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS) light comes on briefly when the engine is started. When the light is on steady, this indicates that one or more of the tires are significantly underinflated. If the problem is not corrected, the light will come on at every ignition cycle.