When you get in the car and turn on the key, various lights illuminate in your dash. What is their meaning?

First, there is a meaning to the color coding of these lights you see illuminated in your instrument panel.  These colors are associated with traffic lights you see while driving.

If you see a RED light, this means stop. YELLOW is a cautionary light and GREEN is associated with go.

Apply this to lights in your dashboard, for example if the cruise control button is on, you see a yellow/orange colored light. When you set the cruise control that light turns green.

Dashboard lights are VERY important and shouldn’t be ignored. If one of the red lights in your dash comes on, you should stop driving immediately and seek service from a qualified technician.

There are numerous dashboard warning lights that are associated with various systems in your car.  If you need help with information pertaining to any warning light in your car, there are articles posted on our website that will give you more information regarding different warning lights and what it means to specific operations.

If you are unable to locate or have a specific questions please feel free to give us a call at (928)305-0767 and we will be happy to assist you in answering your automotive questions.


An example:



The ABS light has to do with the brakes and stands for Anti-lock Brake System. If the ABS light is on the computer system for the ABS has found a fault in the braking system.  It could be a fault with a particular wheel speed sensor, low brake fluid or another component in the braking system.

When your ABS light comes on you will still have normal braking, however in a panic stop situation your anti-lock brake system will not take over your braking—that is, your wheels will lock up and skid like a vehicle not equipped with anti-lock brakes.  Therefore, you lose the ability to steer around objects in your path.  Instead, the momentum of the skid carries you foreward and you will probably hit whatever is in your path.

You may remember your dad telling you if you are on ice to pump the brakes and do not apply them hard.  The ABS system works on the same principle, it applies your brakes 10 times per second which is impossible for any human to do.

The ABS button is illuminated with a yellow light, this doesn’t mean you need to stop driving, it just means the system won’t work as designed until you get the issue resolved.  Your brakes will still stop your car, the ABS side of the system won’t operate if you get in a panic stop situation or slick surface stops.  Drive cautiously—as you always should—and at your earliest convenience get your vehicle to a shop for testing.