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What Does Check Gauges Mean on a Ford F-150?

If your “Check Gauges” light in your F-150 suddenly turns on, it can be pretty concerning. 

But what exactly does “check gauges” even mean?

And how do you get the warning to go away?

The “Check Gauges” light in your Ford F-150 means that one of your gauges is reading too high or too low. So, you should examine all your gauges to identify the problem. Once you’ve figured out the issue, get it fixed, and the “Check Gauges” light should disappear. 

In this article, I will explain why the “Check Gauges” light comes on in a Ford F-150 and what you can do to fix it. 

I’ll also describe the different gauges in the car so that you can identify which one is causing the problem. 

What Does the “Check Gauges” Light Mean in a Ford F-150?

There are several gauges in a Ford F-150, the most prominent being gas, oil, coolant temperature, and battery power. 

If any of these gauges are not reading normally, your “Check Gauges” light may come on to alert you of this fact. 

How to Read the Gauges on an F-150

Before you can get rid of the “Check Gauges” light in your car, you need to understand how to read the gauges so you know which one is out of the normal range. 

Also, you should keep in mind that you have to turn on your engine to read your gauges. 

If you don’t, you won’t get the correct reading. 

Gas Gauge

The gas gauge, also called the fuel gauge, lets you know how much gas you have in your car. 

You can identify this gauge by its gas pump image. 

When you fill-up your gas tank, the arrow on the gauge will point towards “F,” which stands for “full.” 

But, if you don’t have enough gas, the arrow will point toward the “E” for “empty.”

If your gas gauge is too close to the “E,” your “Check Gauges” light may come on. 

Oil Gauge 

It’s easy to assume that the oil gauge in your F-150 is similar to the gas gauge, telling you how much oil is in your car. 

However, though the amount of oil can definitely affect the oil gauge reading, this indicator actually tells you the oil pressure. 

And oil pressure is important because incorrect pressure means your engine is not getting the lubrication it needs. 

F-150s use a simple oil gauge that quickly lets you know whether the oil pressure is adequate. 

You can identify this gauge by its oil can image. 

On one side of the gauge, you will see an “H” for “high,” and on the other side, there is an “L” for “low.”

If your oil pressure gauge is too close to either the “L” or the “H,” you have a problem with your oil pressure, which can make your “Check Gauges” light illuminate. 

Engine Coolant Temperature Gauge 

Your F-150’s coolant temperature gauge lets you know how warm your engine is running. 

You can identify the engine coolant gauge by its thermostat image. 

The F-150 has a traditional coolant temperature gauge, which has a “C” for “cold” at one end and an “H” for “hot” at the other. 

Generally, your temperature gauge should point somewhere near the middle of the range. 

If it’s pointing close to the “C,” though, this usually isn’t a problem, and your car will correct itself. 

However, when the arrow starts getting near the “H,” your car is in danger of damage, and the “Check Gauges” light will likely turn on. 

Battery Gauge 

Your battery gauge measures your battery’s voltage, so you can be sure your car is getting the correct amount of power

You can pick out the battery power gauge by its image of a battery. 

In older F-150s, the battery gauge is on the dashboard with the other gauges and has an “L” for “low” and an “H” for “high.”

Your gauge should read somewhere around the middle if your battery is working properly. 

Otherwise, you may get a “Check Gauges” light. 

For newer F-150s, instead of a gauge, a light shaped like a battery will appear to warn you of battery issues and may or may not be accompanied by the “Check Gauges” light. 

How to Get Rid of “Check Gauges” Light on Ford F-150

How you need to get rid of the “Check Gauges” light in your Ford F-150 depends on which gauge is out of the normal range. 

So, in the following sections, I will describe how to fix each abnormal gauge reading to get rid of your “Check Gauges” light. 

How to Return Gas Gauge to Correct Range

In most cases, if the “Check Gauges” light appears when your gas gauge is on “E,” you simply need to fill up your car with fuel. 

However, sometimes a gas gauge will go bad, causing it to give you an incorrect reading. 

So, if you just filled up your tank, but the gas gauge is still on “E,” you may have one of the following problems: 

  • Your fuel level sensor has stopped working 
  • There’s a faulty connection between your sensor and gas gauge 
  • A fuse has blown 

How to Return Oil Gauge to Correct Range

Probably the most common reason an oil gauge reads out of range occurs because of a problem with the oil or oil filter

For instance, not having enough oil in your car can make the oil gauge read either high or low. 

Putting the wrong grade of oil in your vehicle can also affect oil pressure and make it read too high or too low, depending on whether the oil you put in is thicker or thinner than it should be. 

Old oil can affect oil pressure, too, causing it to read high because the oil is too thick or because it blocks the oil chambers. 

Or, your oil filter may have become clogged, meaning oil can’t flow around the engine as it should. 

Most of the time, an oil and oil filter change will bring your oil pressure back to normal, which should get rid of the “Check Gauges” light. 

How to Return Engine Coolant Temperature Gauge to Correct Range 

Identifying why your engine coolant temperature gauge is reading high isn’t always easy. 

Yet, I can say that the most common reasons have to do with your coolant levels being too low. 

So, if your coolant temperature gauge is high, you should check your coolant levels to ensure they are appropriate. 

If not, add some coolant. 

You should also pay attention to coolant leaks because a leak can cause your coolant to run out, which will make your vehicle overheat often. 

How to Return Battery Gauge to Correct Range 

Most commonly, a battery power gauge that is reading abnormally usually signals an issue with the battery. 

If your battery gauge is reading too high or low, there is a good chance your battery is old or has corroded. 

In these cases, you will need to replace the battery to get rid of the “Check Gauges” light. 

Or, you may have a bad alternator, which you’ll have to replace or have fixed to return your battery gauge to normal. 

When Should I See a Mechanic Concerning the “Check Gauges” Light in My F-150?

You should see a mechanic if you can not get your “Check Gauges” light to go off. 

Since the “Check Gauges” light coming on can mean many different things, it’s better to be safe than sorry and have a licensed mechanic ensure there is nothing wrong with your F-150. 


Overall, the “Check Gauges” light coming on in a Ford F-150 means that one of your gauges is reading too high or too low. 

This light should go away once you fix the problem, and the gauges return to an adequate reading.

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