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Vehicle Warning Light Guide & Dashboard Indicator Meanings

We’ve all been there – You're driving your car, confident that everything is functioning as it should, when all of a sudden a symbol illuminates on your dashboard. What does it mean? Should you panic? Well, RiverTown Honda is here to help you figure out exactly what each of your vehicle’s dashboard warning lights and indicators mean, and what you should do about each! Not all of the dashboard lights should send you into a panic that something is wrong with your vehicle, but there are some that require immediate service. The Dashboard Warning Light Guide from RiverTown Honda will help you become familiar with the most common symbols you might see illuminate on your dashboard, so you know what to do when one does light up.

Keeping up on routine auto maintenance and paying attention to how your vehicle is running, are the best ways to prevent these warning lights from showing up on your dashboard. However, we understand things happen. In those cases, RiverTown Honda is here to help with any and all of your auto needs. The certified and knowledgeable auto experts at our Grand Rapids Area Service Center are here to help you understand your vehicle and get you back on the road in no time. For any questions about auto service or your dashboard warning lights, feel free to give our friendly and helpful team a call at (866) 574-4228.

  • Critical Performance Lights

  • Standard Lights

  • On/Off Indicator Lights

Critical Vehicle Performance Lights

  • Brake System Warning Light

    Your Brake System warning light indicates a malfunction or fault in the brake system, or could also indicate low brake fluid. If the light comes on, press your foot on the brake pedal to check the pressure. If it feels extremely soft or abnormal, make a service appointment immediately and do not drive, as your brakes are not functioning as they should which can compromise your safety. If your brake feels normal, it’s still important to make a service appointment to have your brake fluid level inspected.
  • Low Oil Pressure Light

    The Low Oil Pressure light indicates your engine's oil pressure is low. This could mean you have a leak, or your oil is simply low and needs to be refilled. Your engine relies on oil to run smoothly, so it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. Make a service appointment or visit our Express Service Lane to have your oil changed or to have your system inspected.
  • Charging System Warning Light

    When the Charging System Warning light illuminates, your battery's charging system is experiencing an issue that may prevent your battery from fully charging. Because your battery is used in the function of electrical components, and most importantly starting your car, it's important to have it inspected! You can have your battery inspected or replaced at our Express Service Lane.
  • Supplemental Restraint System Indicator

    Your vehicle’s Supplemental Restraint System is responsible for the proper function of the airbags and seat belt tensioners. If this light is on, it indicates a malfunction or fault in the system. Since this system plays a large role in your safety, it deserves attention from a factory-certified technician immediately!
  • Smart Entry System Light

    This dashboard light simply indicates a problem with the Smart Entry System on your Honda vehicle, which is the system that allows you to unlock and enter your vehicle as long as the key fob is in a specified range. When this light is illuminated you can continue to use your key traditionally to unlock your vehicle’s doors and start the vehicle. However, schedule a service appointment to inspect and restore proper function of the Smart Entry System.
  • Check Engine Warning Light

    The Check Engine Warning light can understandably send many drivers into a panic. There are many factors that can cause this light to illuminate including a fault in the emissions control system, a missing fuel cap, an engine misfire, and more. It's important to note how your car is performing when the warning light illuminates, and to schedule a service appointment as soon as possible. At the RiverTown Honda Service Center, our experts can diagnose and fix the problem to get you on your way in no time!
  • Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) Indicator

    Your Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) light will illuminate when a fault is detected in the system. Your brakes will still continue to function normally, just without the anti-lock feature. However, ABS is still important to your overall safety, particularly on slippery roads and in inclement weather, so make sure to have your system inspected and repaired if necessary.
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System Light

    Your vehicle's tires contain sensors that monitor their air pressure. When the Tire Pressure Monitoring System dashboard light turns on, it could mean there is a broken sensor in the system, or that the vehicle is recognizing a compact spare tire that has been installed. This system is important because it monitors the health of your tires, which are essential to your safety.
  • High Coolant Temperature Warning

    The High Coolant Temperature Warning light will illuminate if your engine coolant gets too hot. The indicator will blink at first, and then will remain on if the coolant temperature continues to rise. This can be due to a drop in the level of coolant (possibly due to a leak) or if the coolant needs to be changed. If your car overheats, it can cause severe engine damage, so if you see this light go on, pull over or drive slowly to our service center to prevent the temperature from rising further. If you’re able to pull over, make a service appointment immediately.
  • Low Coolant Temperature Light

    The Low Coolant Temperature indicator means your engine coolant is too cold. If the light stays on after the vehicle has been on for a period, this can indicate a broken or faulty temperature sensor or thermostat within the engine's cooling system, and should be inspected as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
  • Daytime Running Light Indicator

    The dashboard indicator light for your Daytime Running Lights will illuminate if there is a problem with the system that prevents your daytime running lamps from working properly. While these exterior lights are an important safety feature, your headlights will continue to function as normal.
  • Vehicle Stability Assist Indicator

    The Vehicle Stability Assist feature in your vehicle provides improved traction on slippery roads. When this light is illuminated on your dashboard, it means there's a problem with this system that needs to be inspected or repaired as soon as possible. It’s helpful to note that your brakes will continue to function as normal.
  • Brake System Warning Light

    The Brake System Warning light indicates there may be a problem with your brake system. First, you can double check to make sure your parking brake is not engaged. If not, bring your vehicle in for service immediately to ensure your continued safety since your brakes are one of the most important safety components on your vehicle.
  • Electric Power Steering Light

    An illuminated Electric Power Steering light indicates there may be an issue in the system, which can cause tough steering. It's important to have the system inspected as soon as possible at our RiverTown Honda Service Center!

Standard Vehicle Dashboard Indicators

  • Parking Brake Light

    The Parking Brake indicator simply means your parking brake is engaged. Before driving, just be sure to disengage the parking brake.
  • Seat Belt Reminder

    Safety is top priority, so your car will notify you if a vehicle passenger hasn't fastened their seatbelt by illuminating the light on your dash. The light will turn off when all passengers' seat belts have been fastened.
  • Door Open Light

    This warning light simply indicates that one of the vehicle’s doors is open, and some vehicles will also identify which door is open. Many times an interior overhead light will stay on, or a beep will sound until the door is closed while the car is running.
  • Trunk Open Light

    When your trunk door is open and the vehicle is on, this warning light will illuminate. Because your trunk door could open and present a hazard while you’re driving if not closed properly, it's important to ensure it is completely closed before taking off.
  • Low Fuel Warning Light

    The Low Fuel warning light will come on when your fuel has reached a certain level in the tank. This is the time when you need to go fill your fuel tank immediately before running out!
  • Low Tire Pressure Warning Light

    While the Low Tire Pressure warning light may make you think you have a flat, it could also be due to a drop in the exterior temperature, or a puncture in your tire. Make sure to thoroughly check your tires before proceeding to ensure they are safe for operation. If you do not notice a flat tire, make sure your tires are each filled with the proper air pressure and then schedule a service inspection. Our team is available to take care of all your tire needs at our Express Service Lane in Grandville!
  • Washer Fluid Level Indicator

    This light means your windshield washer fluid is getting low. You can easily refill your washer fluid tank at home, or we can help you do so at RiverTown Honda. Once refilled, the light will turn off.
  • System Message

    In certain cases, a System Message will alert your when there is a fault or critical performance malfunction. This notification will alert you there is a new message, which you can then access through your vehicle display. Once the message is viewed, the notification will turn off.
  • Vehicle Stability Assist Indicator

    The Vehicle Stability Assist light will turn on when the system has been activated. The system is generally activated when you drive on roads, or over portions of road that have reduced traction. When the system is no longer needed, it will deactivate and the light will turn off.
  • Maintenance Minder

    This Honda specific feature is to remind you of routine maintenance needs. The Maintenance Minder light will turn on when scheduled maintenance is due. Once the service is complete, the computer will reset the time or mileage counter and the light will turn off.

On/Off Indicator Lights

  • Cruise Main/Cruise Control Light

    Your Cruise Main light illuminates when the system is turned on, while the Cruise Control light illuminates when the system is activated and the vehicle is set to cruise at a specific speed. Turning off the Cruise Control light can be done by tapping your brakes or by tuning off the Cruise Control via the button on your steering wheel or steering column.
  • Turn Signals/Hazard Lights

    When you turn on your hazard lights or utilize your turn signals, the indicator lights will illuminate on your dash. This lets you know when these lights are in use, and on which side.
  • Fog Lights

    The Fog light indicator notifies you that your fog lights have been turned on. These are the small amber lights that are typically located under or near your vehicle’s headlights. Your fog lights can be turned off by using your light control on or near your steering column.
  • High Beam Indicator

    When your high beam lights, or 'brights', are turned on, this indicator light will illuminate on your dash. These lights are much brighter and spread higher and wider than your regular headlights. To that point, they can impair other drivers' vision, so make sure to turn them off when other drivers are around you.
  • Exterior Light Indicator

    This indicator light simply shows that your exterior lights are on. This includes your headlights and tail lights. Some vehicles include automatic lights, so when the lights automatically turn on, the light on your dash will illuminate to notify you the feature has been activated.
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Schedule Your Dashboard Warning Light Service Appointment near Grand Rapids

Now that you've read through our Dashboard Warning Light Guide, you can feel confident knowing what to do when a warning light illuminates on your dashboard. Do you have any lights illuminated on your dashboard that require a service appointment? We can help at RiverTown Honda! Our team of friendly, knowledgeable technicians are skilled in servicing any make or model, including your Honda vehicle. We want to help you avoid any auto problems by encouraging you to keep up with routine maintenance. You can use our routine maintenance and seasonal maintenance resources as a tool. Should you need any auto service, schedule your service appointment online at RiverTown Honda, or by giving us a call at (855) 574-4228. You can also stop by our Express Service Lane without an appointment at your convenience. We are located at 4260 Kenowa Ave. SW, Grandville, MI 49418 and are glad to service our neighbors in Grandville, Wyoming, Holland, Byron Center, Georgetown Twp., Hudsonville, Kentwood, West Michigan, and beyond! We're happy to help with anything you need, so don't hesitate to call us with any questions.

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