What Do the Warning Lamps and Indicators in My Ford Mean?

Imagine you’re driving in your Ford as usual. Suddenly, you see one of the icons on your dashboard light up, but you have no idea what it means. There are few more stressful situations, especially if you lack knowledge about what the warning lamps and indicators mean. That’s why we’re here, though – to explain them.

Since there are over eighty, we, unfortunately, won’t be able to get through all of the Ford dash symbols. However, we will focus on the most common and the most important ones, so that the next time one of them appears before your eyes, you will know exactly what it means and what to do.

Does the Color Matter?

First thing first. The warning lamps and indicators you will see might have different colors – some of them will be yellow, some of them red, and some of them green. Does it matter what color the icon has? Yes, the color definitely does matter, as it will show you how serious what you’re dealing with is.

The colors you will encounter are:

  • Green – you will see this color when the system it represents is in use or when it is working correctly
  • Yellow – you will see this color when something is wrong, but it is not urgent – check what is happening as soon as you can
  • Red – you will see this color when the problem you’re dealing with is more serious, and you should stop and take a look at it as soon as possible

Ford Dashboard – Symbols and Meanings

While colors are important, it’s more crucial that you know what individual Ford symbols mean so that you can detect what is wrong with your vehicle. As we already mentioned, there are too many of them to get through all, but here are some of the ones you’re most likely to see.

ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System) Light

The first of the Ford dashboard warning lights we’ll tackle is the ABS light. ABS is a great safety feature that is extremely helpful, for example, when you’re driving on an icy road.

If the light comes on just for a second, then there’s nothing to worry about – it just indicates that the system is in use. If it stays illuminated, then you should get it checked by a professional when you can. It doesn’t mean you have to stop driving though, unless the Brake System Warning light is illuminated, too – and we’ll explain why in a second.

Brake System Warning Light

This is one of the most serious warning lights you can encounter. The brakes, after all, are one of the most important elements of your vehicle when it comes to ensuring your safety.

If the light comes on when you’re driving, it might be an indication that your brake fluid level is low, and you need to refill it. If you know how to do it yourself, then great – if you don’t, it’s better to leave it to the professionals.

If both this and the ABS lamp are illuminated, then there’s a very high chance that your brakes aren’t working as they should – in this situation, stop as soon as it is possible (but remember about your safety) and call for recovery.

Check Engine Light

The check engine light is usually accompanied by other signs suggesting that something is wrong with it, such as stuttering after pressing the accelerator pedal. Unfortunately, you will most likely have to ask a professional about what the issue is, as the check engine light can represent a number of problems, some more serious than others.

If you’re wondering whether you should keep driving, we wouldn’t recommend it. That’s because this way, you’re risking damaging your engine further, often to the point that reversing it is not possible.

Engine Coolant Temperature Warning Light

This warning light will appear on your dashboard when your engine’s temperature is too high. Unfortunately, there could be several reasons as to why this is happening, so knowing what is affecting your engine is not so easy.

Either way, if the icon is red, then you should stop as soon as you can. That’s because when the engine is hot for too long, it might become irreparably damaged. Wait for the engine to cool down before checking how much engine coolant you have.

Battery Charging System Warning Light

The battery charging system warning light comes on when your battery isn’t charging. Again, there could be different reasons for it, from the faulty alternator to damaged cabling.

If you see this light on your dashboard, you can continue driving until your battery is dead – just keep in mind that once your battery is empty, nothing in your vehicle will work, so try to get to a mechanic before that happens.

Power Steering Warning Light

As you can probably deduct from the name, this warning light indicates that your power steering isn’t working properly. What that means is that it might be difficult for you to maneuver the vehicle. What you’ll do in this situation depends on what kind of power steering system you have.

If your power steering system is hydraulic, then the problem is probably a low level of power steering fluid. In this case, stop the vehicle when you can and add more – just keep in mind that you still need to contact a professional, as the cause is a leak that needs to be repaired as soon as possible.

If your power steering system is electric-powered, then the solution to this problem would be turning your car off, waiting 30 seconds, and turning it back on. If the light doesn’t disappear, then you need to get your car to a mechanic.

Airbag Warning Light

This Ford dashboard symbol means that something is wrong with one of the elements of your airbag system. When working incorrectly, the airbag can open during a crash, or worse, it can open at any time, causing a car accident.

When you see this Ford warning light appear on your dashboard, make sure to get it checked out as soon as you can.

The Bottom Line

There probably aren’t many more stressful situations than when you’re driving in your car and suddenly a light appears on your dashboard – especially if you don’t really know what it means and how serious it is.

Hopefully, after reading this article, you have a better idea of what Ford dashboard warning lights mean. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get through all of the signs since there are dozens of them.

However, if you’re worried about future problems with your car, a good idea would be to buy an OBD2 scanner that will help you find and solve them before they become more severe.