Indicators and Warning Lights: Learning to Read Your Kia's Dashboard
May 23 2017, Western Kia
Your car’s dashboard is a hub of vital information to assist you while you drive. The instrument cluster – located right behind the steering wheel – is especially helpful when you are on the road. Complexly wired but simply presented, the car’s control panel is designed to foretell any signs of trouble.
Those who have spent years behind the wheel are mostly familiar with the many gauges, displays and lights that make up the dashboard but sometimes even experienced drivers can encounter warning indicators that they have never seen before. Let’s learn about some of the warning lights and signals that you may come across while you’re on the road.
Kia’s dashboard contains a combination of universally recognized signs and symbols that are unique only to the brand. The large gauges monitor fundamental functions such as speed, gas levels, car mileage, engine temperature and engine operation speed (in revolutions per minute). These analog gauges provide basic information for drivers to utilize during their day-to-day vehicle operation.
Because driving is usually relatively problem-free, these gauges will often be the center of your focus when you drive. However, the dashboard is also the first to communicate any signs of vehicle trouble on the off chance that things do go awry. The designs and hieroglyphics found on the cluster cover a wide range of issues. Because some of the lights signify serious issues, it is important to never ignore any signs that pop up while driving.
Green is Go
Pay close attention to the colours of the symbols on the dashboard. Symbols that light up green most often communicates the status of the vehicle.
(From left) Cruise control indicator, Active Eco indicator, trunk open indicator)
Symbols illuminate in green when a certain system of the car is active, such as cruise control or the eco-driving system. Often when the trunk, car door or the sunroof is open or not closed securely, the corresponding symbols light up to notify drivers who may be unaware.
Yellow for Safety
Yellow lights indicate safety concerns, signalling drivers to be cautious or aware of a potential problem. While the issues may not necessarily require immediate action, yellow light symbols are an advisory warning that the vehicle should be check out at when it is safe to do so.
(From left) Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL), Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
Drivers are alerted to low tire pressure and emission control system malfunction via the TPMS and MIL warning indicators. When roads are icy or slippery, the ESC symbol will start to blink, indicating that the system has activated automatically to monitor driving conditions. If the ESC symbol lights up and stays on, it means that the system may not be working properly and a check-up with an authorized service center is advised.
Red Means Caution
A red light means that the vehicle has a significant problem such as low fluid levels or engine problems. If a red light appears on your dash, it is almost always a good idea to pull over right away and address the issue. If you are unable to stop, drive with the utmost caution.
(From left) Battery charging system warning, engine temperature warning, master warning indicator
Problems with the car’s electrical charging system or engine temperature are serious issues that will have long-term consequences on your vehicle if not addressed properly. A master warning will be issued when your vehicle is running low on fluids or if additional maintenance is required. To address red issue warnings, it is recommended that you take your car to an authorized Kia service center.
When turning the ignition, the first thing you notice is that all the warning lights light up momentarily. Kia cars are always programmed to self-check that all indicator lights are in working order. These self-checks make sure that drivers are always well-informed and up-to-date on the status of their vehicles.
Furthermore, the number of informational and warnings lights often differ by model and trim level. Read through the owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with the different symbols and their meanings before taking off in your Kia.
Driving around with dashboard lights on (in cases of yellow and red warnings) for an extended period of time can be extremely damaging to your vehicle. Always make sure to be in tune with your vehicle – and your dashboard – for happy and carefree driving!
If you ever have any questions about your Kia, call the experts at Western Kia (709) 639-6565. We're here to serve you.