Kelly's Garage - Active Green and Ross - February 2012



Do you know what all the dashboard lights on your vehicle mean?  I’ve attached a list at the bottom.  See if you can figure them all out.  The lights many of us easily recognize are the “Check Engine” and “low gas” light.  Probably because these lights come on the most or maybe not….  All of the lights on your dash are colour coded and I will discuss further. Keep reading.

I’ve also been busy booking spring ladies car care clinics.  I will be going from Ottawa to Windsor and everywhere in between.  Please be sure to check to see if there is one coming up near you.



The “dashboard” in your vehicle originally applied to a barrier of wood or leather fixed a the front of a horse-drawn carriage to protect the driver from mud or other debri “dashed” up by the wheels and horses’ hooves.  Who knew!                      

This month's topic: Dashboard lights

The dashboard lights on our vehicle can sometimes cause us many headaches.  Especially if it’s that pesky “check engine” light.  Your vehicle dashboard gives you all kinds of information and this is how your vehicle tells you what is going on with it.  As the technology in cars has advanced so has the number of dashlights increased.  On one website it listed 36 different lights.  Now your vehicle may not have all of these lights but it will have quite  a large amount of them.

Everytime you start your vehicle up the lights on your dashboard do a self check by coming on and then going off. An example of this would be your ABS light.  It comes on everytime you start the car and then goes out.  If it stays on then it’s telling you there is a problem with your ABS braking system.

All of the lights on your dashboard are colour coded.  Your check engine light is yellow which means that you can still drive your vehicle but it isn’t running at peak efficiency.  You don’t want to drive around with this light on indefinitely so be sure to take your vehicle in and get it checked out.  When you start some vehicles the engine temperature light will be blue to indicate the engine is cold.  An example of a red light would be your air bag malfunction indicator.  This means that your airbag has a problem and you should get it checked out rightway.

Other lights that you would easily recognize on your dash are the seatbelt indicator, ABS, low fuel, temperature and your oil light.  However would you recognize a powertrain malfunction light or how about a brake system warning light?  All of the lights on your dash are listed in your owners manual so if one comes on that you don’t recognize be sure to get the book out.

One light that many people get confused about it their “traction control” light.  Many people think this is their ABS light and they also think they have the ability to turn it off.  No you cannot turn off your ABS system unless you attend BMW Driver Training where we can use the “magic” switch.

When you have a light come on and it requires you taking your vehicle into you local Active Green and Ross the technicians have a scan tool they can use to see what codes are in the computer.  With this scan tool they can also turn off the light.  They will sometimes do this if the problem is a difficult problem to diagnose.

Remember to pay attention to the lights on your dashboard.  It’s  part of the way your vehicle talks to you when you drive it.  Listen closely……..or watch closely :)

Take care of your car and it will take care of you!

This months photo:

Sample of dashboard lights


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For the full list of dashboard lights go to

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