What Do I Do If My Engine Light Is On?

If you’re driving down the road and suddenly one of the engine lights on your dashboard turns on, don’t panic. There are several different lights on your console that have a wide variety of meanings. Each light alerts you to something that needs attention.

Often times, the lights tell you something simple is out of place like maybe your gas tank cap isn’t screwed on all the way. Other times they warn you of a serious issue that could have a potential safety risk if not attended to. Whenever you have an engine light come on, it’s important that you take action by bringing your vehicle to your Authorized Toyota Dealership.

Different makes and models have different lights and symbols, so it’s important to refer to your vehicles owner’s manual, but in the meantime, here’s a guide to what the different engine lights mean and what you should do if they come on.

8a86963f0a0e0aca06599b102e0b776aCHECK ENGINE LIGHT

This is the general “check engine” warning light and when it comes on it could mean several different things both common and uncommon. If the light is not blinking, here is a list of potential issues it could be a warning.

  • Oxygen Sensors
  • Fuel Cap
  • Catalytic Converter(s)
  • Spark Plug and Wires
  • Mass Airflow Sensor
  • Ignition Coil(s)
  • Battery and Alternator System
  • Exhaust Gas Re-circulation Valve
  • Vacuum Hose

If this light IS indeed blinking, this could mean that there is a much more serious issue with your car. In any case, plan on bringing your vehicle in to your Authorized Toyota Dealer for service.

8a8695980a0e0aca06599b10ca97dfefBRAKES WARNING LIGHT

If your brake warning light turns on and doesn’t go out it could mean either of these things:

  • The parking brake was left on while driving
  • The vehicles brake system has lost significant pressure

First, check to make sure that your parking brake is disengaged. If your parking brake is on, take it off and the brake warning light should turn off. If it’s not your parking brake, it could be that your brake system has lost significant pressure, and will need to be serviced right away.

8a86482f0a0a0065017da562a3f6f8ecBATTERY WARNING LIGHT

If your battery warning light comes on and stays on, it usually means that there is a problem with your vehicles alternator system. The alternator system is responsible for recharging your vehicle’s battery. If the alternator stops working, your battery will not recharge and will die. If your battery dies, the electrical components will stop working, your engine will shut off, and you won’t be able to restart your vehicle.

If this light comes on, bring your car into the dealership for service as soon as possible to avoid any issues.

8a8648410a0a0065017da562f9efa12bTEMPERATURE WARNING LIGHT – RED

If the temperature warning light comes on and is the colour red, this means that your engine’s temperature is too high. While this is an issue that will require service to permanently fix, there are a few things you can try to temporarily resolve the issue in order to drive safely home.

  • Turn off the engine and let the vehicle rest until it cools down
  • Leave your engine on and turn your heater to the highest setting to dump excess heat from the engine

An overheating engine could be the symptom of some other issue in your vehicle and it’s important that you bring your car into the dealership for service.

8a8647e40a0a0065017da5628c0231afTEMPERATURE WARNING LIGHT – BLUE

If the temperature warning light comes on and is the colour blue, this means that your engine’s coolant temperature is too low to function properly. You will need to bring your vehicle into the dealership for the issue to be diagnosed and resolved.

If the temperature warning light comes on and flashes both red and blue, this means there is an electrical issue with the cooling system. With this issue, your engine will be unable to maintain the proper temperature to operate. In either case, bring your vehicle in for service as soon as possible.

8a8647830a0a0065017da5626177a1e3OIL LEVEL / PRESSURE WARNING LIGHT

If the oil level/pressure warning light comes on and stays on, this means there is an issue with either the oil level or pressure. Proper oil level and pressure is crucial for the proper functioning of your vehicle. Your oil level could either be dangerously too low, or the pressure could be too low. Either issue could lead to serious damage to your engine, so it’s important that you bring your vehicle into the dealership as soon as possible for service.

8a8647cf0a0a0065017da562d7abe962SERVICE LIGHT

Typically when your vehicle is due for scheduled maintenance, the service light will come on. Usually, it just means it’s time for an oil change, but in rare cases, it could mean something more serious. In newer vehicles, there may be additional text with the service light signifying an issue with a specific system or component in your vehicle. When the service light comes on, give us a call to schedule a service appointment.

Depending on your specific model of car, there may be other lights that alert you to certain issues with your car. It’s important to read your vehicles owner manual to find out exactly what each warning light means. If you have any question about the warning lights in your Toyota, give us a call or stop in the dealership and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.