Does your dashboard look like a Christmas tree all lit up with words and abbreviations in yellow and red lights while in motion? The error or fault code is set by car manufacturers in onboard vehicle computers (ECM) to warn you of mild to severe problems your car might be facing.
What is an Error or Fault Code?
The fault code needs urgent attention to avoid heavy damages while some, like the “Service Engine Soon” error code, are simply reminders of upcoming routine maintenance your Toyota requires. What do these error or fault codes mean and what are the common ones you should know? How can you differentiate well enough to know what next to do to avoid incurring heavy repair costs on your newly purchased Toyota?
We’ve put together some of the most common Toyota error codes you should be mindful of below.
ABS WARNING LIGHT
This fault code indicates a malfunction in your Anti Lock Brake System (ABS) that prevents the brakes from locking up and helps the driver maintain control of the car. If this warning light pops up, it simply means you may not be in control of the car much longer and you need to contact your Toyota mechanic.
Airbags keep the passengers safe during a collision, therefore it is a safety measure to have the airbags working correctly. If this indicator fault code is on your dashboard it means that there might be a malfunction of either of the airbags or the system and it needs to be rectified for safety reasons.
AUTOMATIC HIGH BEAM (AHB) INDICATOR
AHB system is activated when the headlights come on, it detects headlight taillights cars in traffic. it kicks in at night when your headlights come on and you are traveling above 50km/hr. It is important to check this fault code as soon as it comes up as It can be indicative of a wiring malfunction or burnt headlight bulbs; faults that could drastically reduce your visibility and ability to drive at night.
BLIND SPOT MONITOR (BSM) INDICATOR
When parking or driving in tight spots, newer Toyota models have sensor driving assistants that help you maneuver better to avoid damaging your car. The BSM indicators assist the driver when changing lanes, parallel parking, or backing up.
It is activated on-demand and a malfunction of the BSM sensors would usually trigger this fault code. Clearing out the fault code using a car scanner, cleaning the sensors, or in a worst-case scenario, replacing the sensor would usually solve this problem.
BRAKE SYSTEM WARNING LIGHT
This fault code indicates a malfunction in the brake system or the fluid level is low. You should stop the vehicle immediately to take a look if you know how or drive slower and more carefully till you get to the nearest workshop to have it looked at.
If the light turns off after the parking brake is released then the system is functioning correctly, as, in some Toyota models, this warning light may be triggered if the parking brake is not released.
CHARGING SYSTEM WARNING LIGHT
This fault code indicates a fault in the vehicle’s alternator or battery charging system. It may be due to a faulty alternator or a dead battery unable to receive charge from the alternator. You need to stop the vehicle immediately and have your mechanic service the car.
CRUISE CONTROL WARNING LIGHT
Cruise Control is a system that allows you to lock the accelerator at a set speed on an open road without the need to engage the accelerator pedal. This light is usually green, indicating the cruise control system is active, but if the fault code light is yellow, it means there is a malfunction with the system.
This allows you to rest your foot for a while especially when traveling long distances. However, it is important to note that it is still up to you to steer and brake normally so you still need to remain at alert. Applying the brakes will usually automatically disengage Cruise Control in all Toyota models.
DOWNHILL ASSIST CONTROL (DAC) SYSTEM INDICATOR
DAC is a system that allows you to go down a steep without the use of the brakes at low speed in a safe and controlled way. You can turn this function on/off as required as it does not indicate any malfunction or failure.
If you are unable to activate it or it is lit up in red, this means, the function is not available and you may need to visit a mechanic workshop to troubleshoot and fix this.
ELECTRIC POWER STEERING (EPS) WARNING LIGHT
This fault code indicates a failure in the EPS system which may lead to maneuvering difficulty while driving. Your mechanic can have this rectified in no time.
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LANE TRACING ASSISTANT (LTA) INDICATOR
LTA uses sensors to keep your vehicle in your lane, if the fault code is orange it means there is a malfunction with the system
LOW ENGINE OIL PRESSURE WARNING LIGHT
This error or fault code is a very crucial warning as this may lead to possible damage to the vehicle’s engine. This indicates that the engine pressure is too low. Stop the car immediately and contact your mechanic.
PRE-COLLISION SYSTEM (PCS) WARNING LIGHT
PCS makes use of a front-facing camera and laser to detect objects in your path while driving. This is enabled when the car is turned on, but if the error or fault code flashes or comes on it means there is a system malfunction or the system is unavailable due to heat/cold or dirt around the sensors. You can have this checked and fixed by a mechanic.
SEATBELT REMINDER LIGHT
This indicator warns the driver and the front-seat passenger to fasten their seatbelt. Once you fasten your seatbelts the lights should go out. If it is still on after this step, call your mechanic to take a look at your seatbelt restraint system.
SPORT MODE INDICATOR
As the name implies this mode helps you drive in sporty mode with more powerful acceleration. While in some Toyota models, when going off-road. It increases your fuel consumption to be able to provide more engine power and vehicle stability.
TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEM (TPMS) WARNING LIGHT
TPMS error or fault code comes on because of low or excessive pressure or air in your tires. Usually, the warning light will go off once you put the correct air in your tires according to the recommended tire pressure.
If the indicator blinks continuously, with the right amount of air in your tires it might indicate a malfunction in the system. This ranges from faulty TPMS sensors that may need to be cleaned/replaced or a system reset/recalibration.
These error or fault codes can be a serious malfunction or triggered randomly either by water, dirt, or mistakenly. If these codes are triggered, the best solution is to visit your mechanic, bearing in mind that these codes can be cleared manually as well.