What Does the Coolant Temperature Warning Light Mean?

Each dashboard light has different meanings, and one you should never overlook is the engine/coolant temperature light. When glowing read, it warns you that your engine is on the brink of overheating. Allowing your vehicle to overheat can lead to devastating consequences, such as costly and time-consuming engine repairs.

What Does the Engine Coolant Over-temperature Alert Mean?

Not all cars have this particular temperature warning light; some vehicles only have a temperature gauge, which has a needle pointing in between "H" = hot and "C" = cold. However, for those with the special light, it looks like a thermometer dipped in coolant fluid.

Regardless of the appearance of this cautionary light, the message means that your car is overheating.

You should never ignore the engine temperature warning light. If the light comes on your dashboard, you should immediately pull over to a safe area and turn off your engine. You should call for roadside assistance to get your car to a trusted repair shop.

Common Causes for Engine Overheating

  • Low coolant levels
  • Faulty thermostat
  • Broken water pump
  • Damaged Radiator
  • Failing Cooling Fan

Failing to recognize this light and what it means can be detrimental to the overall health of your vehicle. If you continue to drive, you may suffer irreversible engine damage (cracked engine blocks or cylinders, blown head gaskets).


Cooling system maintenance is key to preventing this major inconvenience from happening to you. We encourage you to ask your technician to inspect your radiator, coolant fluid, and more at your next service appointment. If your vehicle needs cooling system maintenance or repairs, please do not hesitate to reach out to Nortex Lube and Tune.