Meanings of the Dash Lights on a 2002 Ford Escape

by Kyle McBride

The dash lights on the 2002 Ford Escape are indicators giving a combination of alerts and warnings. Some indicators are purely informational, such as the turn signal and high beam indicators. Other indicators are warnings of system malfunctions and need to be addressed promptly to avoid damage to the vehicle, such as the oil pressure indicator and brake indicator. Understand the alert and warning indicators on the Escape's instrument cluster to determine if a dash light requires immediate action or is simply providing you with information.

Check Engine Soon and Turn Signals

The turn signal indicators flash when the respective turn signal is active. The turn signal indicators are the left and right arrow icons on each side of the instrument cluster.

The malfunction indicator, also called the check engine indicator, is to the left of the left turn signal indicator. This indicator illuminates when a system malfunction has been detected by the Escape's computer. If the check engine indicator comes on and stays on while the engine is running and no other indicators are lit, have the Escape diagnosed and serviced. If this indicator comes on in conjunction with another indicator, focus first on the other indicator.

Left-side Instrument Cluster

The first indicator to the left of check engine is the seat belt warning light, represented by a person with a seat belt drawn across the chest. This light remains lit when the driver's seat belt is not fastened.

The air bag warning indicator is the next light in the row, represented by an icon of a person in the seat with an air bag deployed in front of him. When lit while the Escape is running, this indicator warns of a malfunction with the air bag system that needs immediate attention.

To the left of the air bag indicator is the low coolant indicator. This indicator is present only on Escapes equipped with the 3.0-liter engine and looks like a rectangular box with fluid in it. The low coolant indicator lights when the level of coolant in the reservoir is low.

The last indicator on the left side of the instrument cluster is the speed control indicator. This indicator looks like a small speedometer and is present only if the Escape is equipped with speed control (or "cruise control"). The speed control indicator is lit when the speed control system is in use.

Top Center and Right-side Instrument Cluster

The light at the top-center position of the instrument cluster is the high beam indicator. The icon looks like a light beam in profile. This indicator is lit when the Escape's high beams are in use.

The indicator on the far right and at the bottom of the instrument cluster is the overdrive indicator. Escapes equipped with overdrive have this indicator on the instrument panel that lights when the overdrive is turned off. If this light is flashing or does not come on when the transmission control switch is turned off, have the Escape serviced immediately.

The low fuel indicator is the next light above the overdrive indicator. The low fuel icon looks like a gas pump. This indicator lights when the gas tank is almost empty. The light goes out after fuel is added to the Escape's gas tank.

If your Escape is equipped with four-wheel drive, the next indicator is the "4X4" indicator. This indicator is lit when the four-wheel drive system is engaged. A flashing 4X4 indicator is warning of a malfunction in the four-wheel-drive system that requires service.

Indicator Lights In and Near Tachometer

If your Escape is equipped with anti-lock brakes, the ABS warning indicator is located at the bottom of the instrument cluster, to the left of the tachometer. The ABS indicator will come on during starting, then go out once the Escape is running. If the indicator light comes on or flashes while the vehicle is running, the anti-lock braking system requires service.

The door ajar indicator is located top row and left of the indicators inside the tachometer face. The icon is an overhead view of a car with all four doors open. If this indicator is lit while the Escape is running, it indicates that a door or the Escape's lift gate is not closed and properly latched.

The oil pressure indicator is to the right of the door ajar indicator. The icon for this indicator looks like a can with a long pour spout. If this indicator lights while the vehicle is running, the oil pressure is low. Check the oil level and fill as necessary. If the oil level is full and the light is still illuminated, have the Escape serviced immediately.

The parking brake indicator is the next indicator to the right inside the tachometer face. This indicator comes on while the ignition is in the "on" position and will come on again when the parking brake is applied. If the indicator does not illuminate in those instances or if it stays on after the engine is running and the parking brake is released, check the fluid level in the master cylinder. Add brake fluid as needed and take the Escape to a qualified mechanic for service.

The check fuel cap indicator is on the left under the door ajar indicator. The check fuel cap indicator comes on when the fuel cap has not been properly installed. Remove the fuel cap and reinstall it. The indicator light may not go out immediately, but will go out after driving awhile.

The charge system indicator is to the right of the check fuel cap indicator. If the charging system in the Escape malfunctions and the battery is not recharging, this indicator will come on. Have the Escape's charging system diagnosed and repaired if this indicator is on while the engine is running.

To the right of the charge system indicator is the theft indicator. This indicator will flash when the anti-theft system is armed.

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