NAPA AutoCare Centers of Dekalb County

Warning Light KNOW HOW


Do not let your vehicle’s warning lights confuse you. Get the KNOW HOW on the common warning lights your vehicle may show.

The first three warning lights listed all light up when the ignition is turned on and should turn off as soon as the engine starts. The last two warning light KNOW HOW tips do not necessarily appear when you start the ignition. Below are KNOW HOW tips helpful to know what to do when the warning light is on or flashes when the engine is on.

1. Battery Charge Warning Light

If the warning light does not light up, or if the warning light stays on while driving, there is a problem with your charging system. Your battery is not being charged.

KNOW HOW TIP: Do NOT restart your vehicle and seek professional assistance as soon as possible.

2. Check Engine Warning Light

This is the most common warning light and can be confusing due to the different potential problems that could possibly be occurring. If the warning light stays on while driving, it indicates a malfunction with the engine management system. This should be checked right away.

KNOW HOW TIP: If the check engine warning light FLASHES while driving, reduce your speed until the light is constant.
KNOW HOW TIP: Never ignore a continuously flashing check engine light. Find a safe place to pull over and stop your vehicle. Try to reset the engine management system by turning off the engine and waiting several minutes before restarting the engine. If the warning light continues to flash after resetting the engine management system, seek professional assistance immediately.
KNOW HOW TIP: If the warning light stays on, it is safe to drive as long as there are not other apparent faults with the engine. However, it should be brought to a certified professional to be checked out as soon as possible to avoid further damages.

3. Engine Oil Pressure Warning Light

If the engine oil pressure warning light stays on after starting the engine or while driving, stop immediately!

KNOW HOW TIP: Turn off engine immediately and check the engine oil level. If the oil is low, add more oil immediately.
KNOW HOW TIP: If there is the correct amount of oil, and the engine oil pressure warning light stays on, do NOT start the engine! Seek professional assistance immediately.

4. Brake System Warning Light

This warning light will light up when the parking brake is in use. If the brake system warning light stays on after releasing the parking brake, this may indicate low brake fluid.

KNOW HOW TIP: Each time your vehicle is serviced, ask to have your brake fluid level checked. This ensures there is not abnormal loss of fluid, requiring more immediate attention.
KNOW HOW TIP: Do NOT continue to drive if your brake fluid is too low and brake pedal travel is longer than usual, brake circuits may have failed. Seek assistance immediately!
KNOW HOW TIP: If the warning light remains on, and there is the correct amount of brake fluid, this may indicate a fault with the sensor. Seek professional assistance immediately.

5. Low Coolant Level Warning Light

There are different methods of warning drivers of a cooling system issue depending on your vehicle.

KNOW HOW TIP: Low coolant does not necessarily mean there is an overheating issue. If your low coolant level warning light is on, bring your vehicle to be checked as soon as possible by a certified professional for any leaks or signs of potential drivability issues.
KNOW HOW TIP: Always check coolant level when the vehicle is COLD!
KNOW HOW TIP: If your engine is overheated, do NOT continue to drive. Continuing to drive can cause serious engine damage. Overheated engine may be the result of a coolant leak. Get it checked out by certified technicians at your local NAPA AutoCare Center.
KNOW HOW TIP: Do NOT attempt to open the radiator cap when the engine is overheated.

Always use your vehicle’s owner’s manual as a reference for information about warning lights for your specific vehicle’s make and model.

If any of these warning lights are on or you would like more information on warning lights, visit your local NAPA AutoCare Center. The certified ASE technicians can check out your vehicle and find the appropriate solution to the problem. The technicians are also knowledgeable experts that can provide further information on warning lights.