Camaro and Firebird: Warning Lights

The warning lights in your Camaro or Firebird reveal important information about the health and safety of your vehicle.

By Charlie Gaston - February 18, 2016

This article applies to the 4th/5th Gen Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird (1990-2015).

No vehicle owner wants to see a warning light illuminated across his or her dashboard. A warning light can offer advanced notification that some component or larger system within your vehicle requires your immediate attention before some greater (or more costly) problem arises. In other words, don't assume a warning light on your dashboard will always mean you'll need to make a trip down to your local dealership or mechanic's shop for repair work. In many cases, the problem could be as simple as replacing a bad sensor or adding more system fluid. At worst, you'll need to repair an aging part.

Warning Lights

Low Coolant Fluid

If your coolant fluid is topped up (full) and there are no traceable leaks within your coolant tank, but the warning light still displays on your dashboard, the likely culprit is a bad sensor. To replace the faulty sensor, remove it by hand, and then install a replacement sensor in its place. Or, unplug the connecting wire to the sensor and the warning light will immediately stop displaying on your dashboard. If your coolant tank is too full, you may also want to drain some of the fluid out of the tank, and then clean the sensor. This should prevent future inaccurate readings.

It's common for the sensor light to sometimes stay on without reason
Figure 1. It's common for the sensor light to sometimes stay on without reason.

Brake Light

Any number of reasons could cause the brake warning light in your Camaro or Firebird to display across your dashboard, including, but not limited to, multiple size tires on your vehicle (at once), a faulty anti-lock braking system (ABS), a faulty parking brake sensor (which can be changed quite easily on your own), a bad brake control module, a blown ABS sensor (or one that has failed to properly connect), and poor signal grounds. Check your trouble codes to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem.

Figure 2. Never ignore a brake warning light.

Wiring Warning Light for the Electrical Pump

Before you experience another fuse water pump or ground failure, it's highly recommended that you use the wiring diagram created specifically for your vehicle to wire up a warning light(s) for your water pump. Doing so will automatically alert you to any problem that occurs with your water pump at the exact moment that it arises. Generally speaking, having an updated wiring diagram for your Camaro or Firebird on hand will prove vitally important when dealing with a loose connection or when trying to correct a previous wiring mistake.

This illustration is for wiring and ground issues
Figure 3. This illustration is for wiring and ground issues.

Common Questions

What causes some warning lights to work and others not to work?

The issue could be a faulty fuse, assuming the fuse at play is connected to the non-working warning lights in a Camaro or Firebird. Another issue could be a problem with your instrument cluster. There could be a loose connection there, as well. Check your trouble codes. Also, keep in mind multiple warning lights could be the result of a bad battery. Or, in the case of multiple warning lights pertaining to your braking system, the issue could be your electronic brake control module.

What happens if a sensor gets wet?

Sensors can become wet when you wash your engine bay, for example, or during regular maintenance work. Usually, this is not a problem. However, it's recommended that you run your trouble codes just in case. If the issue is marginal (i.e., a sensor is wet), it will go away on its own.

Why does my ABS record false tire slips?

A variation in tire size from the front to the rear of your Camaro or Firebird is probably causing your Camaro or Firebird's computer to sense false tire slips. It's recommended that you correct the problem by fitting your car with the manufacturer's recommended tire size.

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