While some dashboard warning lights are clearly more urgent than others, it’s important to know what all of the warning lights mean. Below, we’ve broken down the most common Toyota warning lights. Paying attention to your dashboard warning lights and knowing what they mean will keep you safe on the road and prevent avoidable damage to your vehicle.
The Most Common Toyota Warning Lights
Across all Toyota models, you’ll find the warning lights listed below. When you notice a warning light, you should generally take immediate action — whether it’s just an alert to close a car door or a more serious notification of something like a malfunction in the braking system. In this article, we’ve outlined the most common Toyota dashboard warning lights and the reasons why they might light up.
ABS Warning Light
When the ABS warning light goes off, this indicates either a malfunction in ABS or Toyota’s Brake Assist system. With that being said, both of these malfunctions warrant taking your car to the shop or the dealership as quickly as possible.
Sometimes, the ABS light will turn on if you forget to turn your emergency brake off. If once you’ve disengaged the emergency brake, the ABS light is still on, you may need to get your emergency brake adjusted.
More serious reasons for the ABS warning light include a brake fluid leak or even a total loss of functional brakes. Normally, the issue is minor, but you should definitely not ignore this warning light as it could lead to a much more serious problem down the road.
Charging System Warning Light
When the charging system warning light goes off, Toyota advises you to immediately pull over. This warning light indicates a malfunction in the vehicle’s charging system. The issue with the charging system likely either comes from a problem with the battery or the alternator.
If the charging system completely malfunctions, it may cause your car to completely stall. If you are close to a mechanic when the light goes on, you could turn off everything that increases the electric load such as air conditioning and the radio, and drive to your nearest auto shop for a proper diagnosis.
Solving the issue with the charging system could be as simple as replacing a dead or dying battery. Or it could be the result of a more complex issue like a computer malfunction.
Electric Power Steering (EPS) Warning Light
Not all Toyota models have this warning light, but if they do, it is a very important light that you do not want to ignore. When the electric power steering warning light goes off, it means the computer system has detected an issue with your electric power steering. It may also mean that your vehicle’s power steering fluid levels are low.
If you check your power steering fluid levels and they are not low, it may be that your vehicle’s electronic power steering system is experiencing an issue or is out of commission. Without power steering, you will find that turning the wheel and steering your car is noticeably more difficult. With that, you should immediately have your car inspected by a Toyota mechanic.
While you can still drive your car without the EPS, it will be quite difficult. Sometimes, the EPS warning light will go turn off if you turn the car off and on again. However, if the light stays on, that means there is a more serious problem.
Low Engine Oil Pressure Warning Light
This warning light indicates when engine oil pressure is low. When this light goes off, you should pull over immediately in a safe place and call for roadside assistance. Low engine oil pressure can lead to irreparable engine damage if you continue driving. Ignoring this light could lead to avoidable and expensive repairs.
The most common causes of low engine oil are a jammed oil filter, clogged oil passages in the engine, a damaged oil pump, or low engine oil. You can check your engine oil levels and top up your oil if you are running low to see if this may solve the issue. If the lowe engine oil pressure warning light is still on, you will need to take your car to your mechanic for further diagnosis.
Low Fuel Level Warning Light
Though it might seem like common sense, when the low fuel level warning light goes off, start driving toward the nearest gas station. While it may seem like a fun game to see how far you can get on a tank of gas, it won’t be so fun when you are stalled and completely out of gas on the side of the highway.
The amount of gas remaining in the tank when this warning light comes on depends on the Toyota model. Some vehicles may also give you an estimate of how many miles you have left. Just remember those gauges can be faulty and should not be entirely trusted.
Low Washer Fluid Warning Light
When the low washer fluid warning light goes off, it’s time to buy some more windshield washer fluid. Especially if you live in a snowy area, having a full tank of washer fluid with anti-freeze capabilities is a must for safe driving through the winter months.
Maintenance Required Light
The maintenance required warning light will go off when it’s time for routine maintenance. This includes upkeep items like an oil change, tire rotation, or any other common maintenance items. Paying attention to this light in a timely manner is a good idea because it will help keep your vehicle in good working order. With that being said, this light is more of a reminder versus an indication of an immediate issue. There is no reason to pull off the road and stop driving.
Master Warning Light
When the master Toyota warning light flashes, usually, there will also be a buzzer to alert you that the system has detected a malfunction. This warning light can mean a number of things. With that, you should pull over and check your vehicle. If you can’t find anything wrong, you’ll need to get it professionally checked by a mechanic.
Some of the main reasons the master warning light may go off include low tire pressure, low battery voltage, low coolant levels, headlights being left on, or the emergency brake still being engaged.
SRS Airbag On-Off Indicator
The SRS airbag on-off indicator notifies you whether the airbags in your vehicle are on or off. If light indicated the airbags are off and have a passenger seated in the car, this could mean that your passenger is too small to safely ride in the front seat. Or it might mean that there is something wrong with the airbag. If the SRS Airbag indicated is on, you should feel confident that your airbags are working properly.
SRS Warning Light
The SRS warning light can mean a few different things. It either indicates there is a malfunction in the airbag system, the passenger occupant classification system, or the seatbelt pre-tensioner system. In any of these cases, you will want to take your vehicle to the auto shop or dealership for further diagnosis.
Tire Pressure Warning Light
The tire pressure warning light will go off when your tire pressure is low in any of your tires. This warning light does tend to go off more in the winter months when your tires are exposed to more extreme swings in temperature. Whenever this goes off, you should individually check tire pressure using a tire pressure gauge.
If your tire pressure is low, you should fill the tires immediately to the correct PSI. Regardless of if your light goes off or not, it is advised to check your tire pressure at least once a month.
Open Door Warning Light
The open door warning light usually appears as an icon of a car with the doors open. Along with the warning light, your car will also usually alert you with an alarm of some kind to let you know a door is ajar.
If your open door warning light stays on even when it appears all your doors are closed, there may be something wrong with the sensor in one of your door jams. Before driving your car again, inspect all of your door locks and switches to make sure all of your doors are fully closed and secured.
System Indicator Lights
Along with Toyota warning lights, there are also lights that simply let you know that your car’s functions are working properly. For instance, your airbag light will be on if your airbag is working properly. Along with that, there are Toyota dashboard lights for your turn signal, cruise control, headlights, high-beam, and security locks. If you are curious about any of your dashboard warning or system indicator lights, check out your owner’s manual for more detailed information.