The instrument panel aka the gauge cluster is the eyes for your vehicles computer. Located here is all of your necessary gauges including oil temperature, water temperature, voltage, speedometer and more. Also located here is all of your warning lights for your vehicle including your check engine, low tire pressure, ABS, seatbelt light and dozens more. When you see the seatbelt light come on, it’s pretty much self-explanatory.
Many newer vehicles now have digital gauge panels which tell you what is wrong with your vehicle from low tire pressure, low oil pressure, ABS, low fuel level, etc. This greatly helps when diagnosing an issue with your vehicle but doesn’t specifically say what is exactly wrong when the check engine word shows up.
If you own a scan tool, you can simply plug into the OBDII port underneath the steering column and find out what code your vehicle is tripping. If you don’t own a scan tool, simply bring your vehicle to your local NAPA and we’ll do it for you as a courtesy.
The infographic below, courtesy of CarInsurance.org, uses a sample instrument panel with five analog gauges and some common warning lights. It also lists other instrument panel lights and explains their respective functions.