Advice on idiot lights

I work as a Valet for a large hotel chain and it isn’t uncommon for people to stop and talk to me on their out to get directions, etc.

Today a couple in a late model Nissan, Versa? pulled up and seemed concerned that the yellow/orange looking light was on. It looks like an exclamation mark with some brackets around it, so it wasn’t the CEL.

I shrugged and told them to look in their owner’s manual, then they informed me that the car didn’t come with one. I glanced again to make sure it wasn’t the low-oil pressure light or something more critical and then told them politely that if it was my car, I would not be concerned with it (they only had 100 miles to drive anyway).

In these cars is this just a “time for maintenance” light? I’m just curious more than anything now.

TMPS(tire pressure) fault likely.

It may be an indication that the car has lasted longer than the manufacturer intended. Holy Moley(!!) You just reached 30,000 miles(!!)


I believe that the warning light that you described is a brake system warning light, but that could only be confirmed by consulting the Owner’s Manual.

I find it interesting that these people seemed “concerned” about the light, but that they were not concerned enough about their car and its operation to have obtained an Owner’s Manual for it. Seems a bit inconsistent, don’t you think?

I believe this is another example of why there should be a mandatory standard when it comes to the indicators on the instrument panel. Different manufacturers have changed them for whatever reason.

It is not too much of a problem for the owner of the car, but when you get rentals etc, it can be confusing and there is no need for the confusion.

Yup! Tire Pressure Monitoring System warning light.


Could be wrong and I’ll double check later, but I believe the light you described, on my Ford anyway, is for the transmission.

Amen!!! English words, Chinese characters … don’t care. I’ll learn them if I don’t know them. But make them uniform.

Lights with brackets around usually mean that the handbrake is on. On our Nissan you have to put the brake handle all the way down to disengage that switch. The Versa owner should try to do the same and if the light does not go out, have it adjusted.

In the future, you can save yourself, and your employer, potential liabilities charges by NOT advising anyone to do anything other than, “Take it to a repairer for intrepretation”. Yeah, people are THAT way.

Giving advice that goes beyond one’s expertise is not advisable when it comes to something like warning lights.

I am sure that the OP was well-intentioned when he tried to assure the Versa owners that there was no need for concern, but what if his advice lulled them into ignoring a dangerous situation–such as a brake problem?

Remember the old saying:
No good deed goes unpunished.

For Nissan, all the owner needs to do is go to Nissan USA’s website, and download a copy of the owners manual.

There are a couple of different yellow lights on a late model Nissan dash.

If it is a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark inside of it, that is the computer interface system. There are a lot of items that light can be indicating:

Low fuel is the most likely cause.
Low outside temperature is another (below 38 degrees F in my '07 Altima).
It could be a maintenance reminder (oil change, oil filter, tire rotation).
Or it could be quite a few other things.

Here is a link to the '09 Versa manual.
It doesn’t seem to have the same Driver Information triangle that my Altima does, so I believe the light they were seeing was for the low tire pressure warning.

Page 16 has all the dashboard symbols.
If you take a look and remember, you can let us know which one it was.


For the record, I forgot to mention that I told these people NOT to take my word for anything and that they should consult an owner’s manual to be sure. I told them that IF it was my own car, I wouldn’t be concerned about driving 100 miles, but I didn’t say “GO FOR IT!!” You have to always remember CYA, right?

Even then, people will still ignore the lights for whatever reason. I think installing a warning light system standard across the board IS a good idea though. they should also install a (annoying)voice system as well. Like the TPMS light would have a woman saying “You’re tires are low, please fill them with air.” After a certain amount of time, a guy with a New York accent comes on and says “Hey stupid, you were told to fill your tires with air X number of days ago. All car functions will now stop until you do.” Then promptly turn on the 4 way flashers and move the car to the side of the road where it comes to a slow stop.
Same with maintenance lights. Though the oil pressure light would have them come on and say “low oil pressure, pull over and stop immediately.”