What do the Warning Lights on my Ford Mean?

By: PineRidge Ford   |   14 Feb 2019
The dashboard of a 2019 Ford lit up and showing low fuel.

It’s another beautiful day around Meadow Lake and you find yourself cruising down Highway 55, as usual, on your way to work. All of the sudden, from the depths of your dashboard comes a driver’s most dreaded nemesis -- a warning light! What does it mean? Is a tire about to burst? Is your engine about to explode? Or are you just running low on windshield fluid?

The guessing game can cause way more excitement than you’re looking for on your routine commute. PineRidge Ford wants to take the panic out of warning lamps and indicators. We’re going to guide you through all of the symbols on your dashboard -- and let you know what to do when they show up! With a bit of knowledge, you’ll be the boss of your Ford once again.


Warning Lights that Need Immediate Attention

In the world of dashboard lights, some merit a bit of panic -- or at least serious inspecting as soon as possible.

Engine Coolant Temperature

One such light that you should never ignore is your Engine Coolant Temperature lamp. If you see this symbol illuminate at any time, you need to turn off the vehicle right away. If you don’t, be prepared for your engine to overheat, which is bad news in the motor world. Arrange to get your car, truck or SUV serviced as soon as you can after seeing this warning light.

Engine Oil

Another symbol that you need to pay attention to is your Engine Oil lamp. If ever this indicator appears, it means either your engine oil is too low or there is some other issue in the system. Both scenarios require you to turn your Ford off, contact your mechanic, and book the vehicle in pronto.

Service Engine Soon

If a teeny, tiny engine light starts blinking after you’ve turned your car on, do not pass go, do not collect $200, and do go (slowly) straight to your dealership. This attention-grabbing signal means that your engine could actually be misfiring, having the potential to cause problems with your catalytic converter (it sounds like a big deal, and it is.) Only a mechanic will be able to test the engine and diagnose the exact problem at hand.


One of the easier lamps to recognize, the battery warning light looks like, well, a battery. There is a plus sign on one end of the wee rectangle and minus sign on the other. The presence of this advisory lets you know that you have battery troubles, and, because it is unclear if your car will start again, try to take it straight to your mechanic to avoid a nasty towing bill.

Powertrain Fault

The last of the scarier warning lights takes its form as a mini wrench. When this lamp comes on, it’s indicating a fault somewhere in your powertrain. The powertrain of a vehicle includes everything from the engine all the way down to the differentials, so if it’s faulty, you need to address the issue ASAP.


Important But Not Necessarily Urgent Warnings

Many of your car’s warnings are there to let you know that it could be time to get things looked at or adjusted.

Low Tire Pressure Warning

Look out for a symbol that looks like an exclamation point in an upside-down horseshoe. What the indicator actually is translating to you is that your tire pressure is getting low. Sometimes this is due to Canadian temperature plummets, while other times it means you have a leak on your hands. If you do happen to need a new tire, we can help you with that, too.

Brake System

Now, when you see an exclamation point paired with the letter “P” and stationed over the word “BRAKE”, that’s a different story altogether. This lamp is letting you know that your parking brake happens to be on while your engine is running. If the brake isn’t engaged, you could be looking at a more serious issue within the brake system.

Electric Park Brake

The presence of a lightning bolt arrow within a circle tells another brake story, this time about the electric parking brake. If you see the light, your electric parking brake has an issue, so get on booking that check-up appointment!

Anti-Lock Braking System

If a circle appears with the letters “ABS” inside of it, this means that your anti-lock braking system is failing and your Ford is only using the standard brake operations. To fix this, you’ll have to have the vehicle serviced.

Front Airbag

When your vehicle detects an issue with one of the airbags, it will tell you by means of a symbol made up of a seated person with a large circle in their lap. Because this lamp indicates that there are problems with the Ford’s airbag system, you’ll want to make sure it gets looked at sooner than later.

Low Fuel Level

Finally, if you see a light that looks exactly like a little gas pump, go fill up your car with gas! You may rely on that last stash of kilometres to get you where you’re going, but it’s not worth ending up stranded to find out just how far your vehicle’s tank will get you.


The Rest of the Signs

Your car, truck, or SUV has plenty more dashboard lights, however, the rest of them are there to inform -- not warn -- you. Some of these are very clear, such as the hood, truck, or door ajar lamps, which let you know a harder slam is in order. Others, like the “Heads Up Display” -- which looks more like a centipede than a light, are a little more obscure. Keep your manual in your glove box at all times to properly identify the difference between cruise control, stability control, and all of the various head and fog light functions.


Let PineRidge Solve Your Warning Light Problems

When trouble arises in the form of a dashboard lamp, your first call should be to our service centre. There, one of our certified technicians will examine your vehicle, read the error codes from the dash computer and identify the problem. Big or small, we can repair your car, truck, or SUV to be back in safe working order. For any of your Ford questions or concerns, contact us today!


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