If you’re like most people, you know the basics of dashboard lights, such as the familiar symbols that indicate that there’s an issue with the battery, that your vehicle needs gas, or that it’s time to check your oil. However, if you’ve recently purchased a VW, there may be lights on the dashboard that you’re unfamiliar with. Here’s what you need to know:

VW Dashboard Lights 101

The first thing you need to know about dashboard lights is the significance of the colors, which is easy to remember because they correspond with universal traffic light colors. A green light on your dashboard, for instance, means that the relevant system is functioning as it should. Yellow means the system needs attention, and red is an indication of a complete failure or malfunction. Failure to heed a red dashboard light has the potential to do serious harm to your vehicle.

Some dashboard symbols caution you about situations that are relatively benign but still need attention, such as your hood not being properly latched or the light bulb in your license plate holder being burned out. Others, however, serve as warnings of more serious circumstances, and you should not continue to drive your car. For instance, if you keep driving when the indicator light shows that you’re almost out of motor oil, you can do serious damage to your car’s engine, including ruining it completely. Other important dashboard lights include the following:

VW Tire Pressure Light

The tire pressure light lets you know when you don’t have enough air in your tires. Not only can this negatively impact your gas mileage, but it can also cause the affected tires to have a blowout and may even lead to a roadway accident.

Incorrect Vehicle Key

With as many keys as most people carry these days, it’s not at all uncommon to make a mistake and try to use the wrong key. Although this won’t cause any lasting damage to your car’s key components such as the engine or the transmission, it can wreak havoc with your ignition.

Automatic Transmission Malfunction

Transmission trouble is often overlooked by vehicle owners until it’s too late, but paying attention to this particular dashboard sign can give you the opportunity to take care of problems before they become full-blown.

Check Engine Light

The check engine light could come on for a variety of reasons, and sometimes, for no reason at all. However, never ignore this light — it’s better to have your vehicle checked and find out nothing’s wrong with it than to ignore a sign of potential problems and end up with costly repairs as a result.

Your owner’s manual will have a comprehensive list of all dashboard lights and what they mean. Paying attention to these lights will help keep your car in top running condition.