If you've never seen one of your dashboard warning lights come on before, you may find yourself a little apprehensive as to what it means. First, don’t panic. While they can be serious, they primarily function like a general alarm, letting you know that the computer that monitors your vehicle has determined that some component is not working properly.

Here are the four most common lights and what they mean:

Check Engine

Usually shaped like a stylized engine, the Check Engine light alerts you if there's an issue with the vehicle's engine or transmission. One of the more serious warning lights, the Check Engine light turns on when the vehicle's computer has determined the engine, transmission, or catalytic converter has malfunctioned in some way. Be sure to take it into a specialist (like Rivertown Buick GMC) for service soon, or you could severely damage your engine.


Typically, the brakes light turns on if one of three things is true: 1) Your parking brake is on, 2) The brake fluid reservoir has dipped below a safe level, or 3) there is a leak in your brake line. If your parking brake is off and this light is on, it's time to take your vehicle in for service to find out what's wrong.


This light can be deceptive, as your brakes might still feel like they're working correctly even when this light is on. Do not be deceived—the ABS light is designed to let you know when your anti-lock brakes system isn't working as it should, and if it isn't, the only place you should be driving is our service center.


This light is another deceptive one. Although you might be tempted to head to the nearest auto parts store and pick up a battery, this light doesn't necessarily mean your vehicle is having trouble with its battery. It can also signify an issue with the vehicle's charging system, one our technicians are perfectly suited to diagnose.

As a Rivertown Buick GMC general rule of thumb, if your check engine light comes on and stays on, you should take your car to a service center like ours. If, however, the light blinks on and off with a regular pulse, it can be a sign of something much more serious. You should pull over when it’s safe to do so and have your car towed to us. We're here to ensure your driving experience is the best it can be.