Chevy Avalanche Warning Lights and Dashboard Symbols

Chevy Avalanche Warning Lights

Detailed are the dashboard warning lights for the discontinued pickup truck, the Chevrolet Avalanche. Production of the Chevy Avalanche ceased in 2013. The Chevy Avalanche warning lights provide an explanation of their meaning and based on manufacturer’s guidelines, what action to take.

1  Oil Pressure Gauge

The Chevy Avalanche oil gauge displays the current oil pressure. For US versions of the Avalanche, the oil pressure gauge shows the engine oil pressure in psi (pounds per square inch) when the engine is running. Canadian vehicles indicate pressure in kPa (kilopascals). Readings above the low pressure zone indicate the normal operating range, but oil pressure will vary depending on outside temperature, engine speed and oil viscosity.

If the oil pressure reaches the low pressure zone, a warning message: ‘Oil pressure low stop engine’ will illuminate on the driver’s information display. To avoid severe engine damage, you should discontinue driving and switch off the engine. Low engine oil levels can trigger the oil warning. Check oil levels and top up up using oil grade SAE 5W-30. Only continue driving if after adding oil, the warning light goes off.

2  Engine Coolant Temperature Gauge

This gauge displays the engine coolant temperature and a general indicator of how hard the vehicle’s engine is working. During normal driving, the gauge will read 100°C (210°F) or less. If the truck is pulling a load or going up hills, it’ll be normal for the temperature to fluctuate and approach the 122°C (250°F) mark. If the gauge reaches the 125°C (260°F) mark, it indicates that the cooling system is working beyond its capacity.

If the engine begins to overheat, you will see the message: ‘Engine overheated Stop Engine’, or ‘Engine overheated Idle Engine’ and ‘Engine Power Is Reduced’ warnings. If there’s steam coming from under the hood, wait for it to subside before lifting. Check cooling fans are running, if not switch off the engine and seek recovery. Check coolant levels and top up if required. Check for coolant leaks.

3  Voltmeter Gauge

When the engine is off, but the ignition is on, the voltmeter gauge displays the battery’s state of charge. When the engine is running, the gauge displays the conditions of the vehicle’s charging system. It is normal for the voltmeter gauge to fluctuate from lower to higher readings and the gauge may display low readings during fuel economy mode or when a large number of electrical accessories and operating, particularly when the engine is idling.

If there’s a problem with the battery charging system, a warning message will display: ‘Service Battery Charging System’. This could be related to an ageing battery, the generator belt or the generator. If driving, switch off any unnecessary electrical accessories and make your way immediately to a auto repair shop.

For more information about the voltmeter gauge and the battery warning light, see why is my car battery warning light on.


4  Safety Belt

The safety belt warning light flashes and an audible alert to remind the driver to buckle up.

5  Airbag

The Chevy Avalanche airbag warning light remains lit indicating a fault. In the event of a collision, the airbags may not deploy, or they may deploy randomly. Along with the warning, you may receive the message: ‘Service Air Bag’ on the instrument display. Some of the possible causes of the airbag light coming on include a sensor problem, water damage, seat belt buckle problem, wiring dislodged under front seats and airbag clock spring.

6  Engine Malfunction

The Chevy Avalanche engine malfunction warning light comes on as an indicator a a fault with the emissions control system. In general, the emissions control system consists of:

  • Air pump
  • Catalytic converter
  • Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR)
  • Filters
  • Gas cap
  • Evaporative system
  • Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF)
  • OBD-II System
  • Oxygen sensor (O2)

Any components that make up the emissions control system from the gas tank, through to the exhaust system can trigger the engine warning light. As such, diagnostic tools are required to read fault codes that are generated when the engine light comes on. Diagnostic tools should help to locate the fault.

You can usually continue driving with the engine warning light on, but continuous driving without having the fault fixed is likely to make the problem worse, and perhaps more costly. Avoid high engine speeds and heavy loads. If the engine light is flashing, immediately reduce speed and keep engine revolutions slow.

For more information about the engine malfunction light / check engine light, see reasons why the engine warning light is on.


7  Brake Warning

The brake warning light comes on when the parking brake has been set. If the parking brake has not been set, it means there’s a problem with the braking system. The Chevy Avalanche has two hydraulic brake circuits. If one circuit fails, the second will still stop the vehicle. Both circuits need to be working to stop the vehicle normally. If the warning light comes on, it may also indicate low brake fluid levels. Top up with DOT 3 brake fluid if required.

8  Anti-Lock Braking System

During heavy braking, if your front wheels lock, it becomes difficult to steer the vehicle. Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) help to avoid wheel lockage by automatically releasing and applying brake pressure very quickly. If the Chevy Avalanche ABS warning light flashes, it means the system is operating, but if it remains constantly lit, it means there’s a fault. The most common cause of an ABS fault is due to a  malfunction in one of the wheel speed sensors.

9  Tow / Haul Mode

Tow / haul mode when activated allows for increased performance, control and transmission cooling when driving up or down steep hills and towing heavy loads. Tow / haul mode adjusts gear shift patterns to reduce shift cycling. Tow / Haul mode Grade Braking can be activated by pressing and holding the Tow / Haul button for 3 seconds. This mode helps in maintaining desired vehicle speeds when driving on downhill gradients by using engine and transmission braking to slow the vehicle.

10  Stability / Traction Control

StabiliTrak is Chevrolet’s version of the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system and assists the driver by helping to control understeer, oversteer and to improve tire traction when accelerating. When the system is operating, the StabiliTrak warning light flashes. If there’s a fault with the system, the StabiliTrak will remain constantly on. One of the most common reasons for a StabiliTrak fault is a malfunctioning wheel speed sensor. Other issues can relate to the yaw rate sensor, the lateral acceleration sensor, the steering wheel sensor or StabiliTrak module.

11  Stability / Traction Control Off

StabiliTrak can be switched off by pressing and holding the TCS / StabiliTrak button. The system is on by default and is recommended to leave on. Turning off StabiliTrak can be beneficial when your vehicle is stuck in snow, mud etc. Sometimes when the engine warning light is illuminated and reduced engine power is in operation, ESC / StabiliTrak is intentionally disabled.

For more information on StabiliTrak (ESC), see What ESC is in Cars and How Does ESC Work in Cars.

12  Tire Pressure

For versions of the Chevy Avalanche fitted with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), , the tire pressure warning light will come on when the system detects one or more tires has become underinflated. If the tire pressure light initially flashes for around 1 minute, then stays on, it means there’s a fault with the TPMS. A fault with the tire pressure monitoring system is often due to:

  • A fault or damaged pressure sensor
  • Use of a non-approved tire sealant
  • A wheel has been fitted that does no contain a sensor
  • The TPMS sensor matching process was not done or not completed successfully
  • Replacement tires or wheels do not match the original equipment tires or wheels
  • Electronic devices are interfering with the sensor / receiver radio signal

13  Security Light

The Chevy Avalanche security light (car and lock symbol) should come on briefly when the engine is started to indicate the system is working correctly, then go off. If the security light stays on, it means there’s a problem with the theft-deterrent system. When the ignition is switched off and the arming process begins, the warning light will flash rapidly to indicate that one or more vehicle entry points is not closed.

If attempting to start the vehicle and the security light comes on and the engine fails to start, remove the key and try again. If it still fails to start, if possible, try another key. Take a look at the fuse.

14  High-Beam Headlights

This blue symbol illuminates when the high-beam headlights are switched on.

15  Cruise Control

This symbol comes on when the cruise control function has been set. Cruise control allows for a set speed of 25 mph or more without having to keep your foot on the accelerator pedal. When the brakes are applied, cruise control is turned off. Operate the system via the steering wheel controls.

2 thoughts on “Chevy Avalanche Warning Lights

  1. A triangle system light came on with a car next to it then engine light came on and is still on any idea why

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