Nearly every car owner is familiar with the feeling of panic from seeing a warning light appear on your dashboard. Whether you’re driving close to home or in the middle of a long-distance road trip, there’s never a good time for a dashboard warning light to turn on. At Steve Marsh Ford, our Ford service team receives many questions about Ford warning lights, what they mean, and how to handle them. Here’s everything you need to know about your dashboard warning lights, including what each of them means, which ones are cause for alarm, and what you can do to fix these problems.


Types of Dashboard Warning Lights

For many drivers, any dashboard warning is enough to induce panic, immediately causing you to worry that you’re about to be stranded roadside. However, there are a few different classifications of dashboard warning lights, and not all of them indicate a serious issue.

The dashboard system is designed as a source of information for the driver and is often used to simply notify you of various aspects of your vehicle’s health. In many Ford vehicles, there are a collection of indicator lights that are used in addition to warning lights, informing you of various aspects of your car. These lights are most often green and blue and related to vehicle status items such as headlights, cruise control and turning signal indicators. They are separate from warning lights, which are used to communicate a range of problems with the vehicle.

In order to establish the seriousness of the situation, take a closer look at the color of the dashboard warning light illuminated. You can typically expect to see warning lights in one of three different colors: red, orange and yellow. A yellow light is indicative of a minor issue, sometimes reminding you of a routine service needing assistance. However, orange and red lights are used to communicate more problematic situations. For a solid orange and red light, it’s important that you schedule a professional service appointment as soon as possible. If the light is red and flashing, it requires immediate attention – drive carefully and pull over as soon as you can safely do so.


Common Dashboard Warning Lights

Here are a few of the most common dashboard warning lights you might see while driving your Ford, as well as what you should do if you see them:


Low Fuel Level


This icon resembles a gas pump and is activated when your gas tank is running low on fuel. If this light appears on your dashboard, you need to find the nearest fueling station and refill your gas tank.

Low Tire Pressure Warning


This indicator light lets you know that one or more of your tires has low air pressure by featuring an exclamation mark within two curved lines. You can put more air into your tires or you can enlist a professional for assistance. Be sure to follow the tire pressure guidelines specific to your vehicle.



The battery indicator looks exactly like a car battery and indicates a serious malfunction from either your charging system or battery. Turn off all interior electronics possible (such as the radio, air conditioning, etc.) and pull over. You should contact your Ford service center immediately.

Engine Oil


The engine oil light, which resembles an oil can, informs you that your vehicle needs an oil change. The possible causes include an oil leak, or you may have waited too long between oil changes. To avoid damage to your engine, bring your Ford to your nearest service center as soon as possible.

Engine Coolant Temperature


The engine coolant warning light typically looks like a thermometer icon over two wavy lines and is cause for serious concern. It communicates a problem with your engine temperature and is generally the warning before your vehicle overheats. Pull over as soon as possible to allow the engine to cool, and then take your vehicle for a service check.

Anti-Lock Braking System


There are a few different lights that can indicate problems with your braking system, and all should be taken seriously. Driving with malfunctioning brakes is a major safety hazard for you and other drivers. It’s important that you get your brakes repaired before continuing to drive your Ford vehicle. 


Get Your Ford Serviced at Steve Marsh Ford

Whether you’re dealing with a dashboard warning light, an odd sound from under the hood, or it’s simply time for regular vehicle maintenance, the team at Steve Marsh Ford is here to help. Our service center in Milan, TN has been providing Ford drivers with the quality service they need to keep their vehicle in prime condition and help resolve vehicle problems to avoid them in the future. Schedule your appointment at our Milan service center today, and we’ll have you back on the road in no time.


Categories: Car Care Tips