Why Is The Check Gauges Light Jeep Turned On? Possible Reasons

Like any other vehicle, Jeep also incorporates a warning light system that informs drivers of whatever is going on with their vehicles.

One such system is the check gauges light Jeep.

And I must admit, comprehending the messages behind these lights isn’t the easiest task in the world, even for seasoned drivers, let alone beginners.

Hopefully, my inclusive guides can enlighten you about certain triggers behind the check gauges light. Keep scrolling for more.

Why Is The Check Gauges Light Jeep Turned On? Common Causes

check gauges light jeep
Check Gauges Light Jeep

Common reasons are numerous; it’s difficult to narrow down the list.

But in the meantime, you might expect issues/defects in the oil pressure, fuse, vacuum, water pumps, accessory belts, charging systems, thermostats, and gas caps.

The Oil Pressure Is Low

For Jeeps or any similar car, oil pressure that takes too long to arrive to spec will cause the light to blink. In such cases, I often find my oil light activated along with Check Gauges, too.

So what is the reason behind the problematic engine oil level? 

From my experience, it boils down to broken oil filters, malfunctioning oil pumps, or bad oil pressure gauge/ pressure sensors that fail to detect significant oil drops.

And don’t forget ambient temperature – the biggest culprit of vehicle oil turning cold, which causes lower oil levels.

The Engine Is Overheated

Engine overheating and refusing to start is another issue that I often encounter with my old Jeep!

One of the gauges’ designated purposes is to inform drivers of heat issues that go beyond control.

In cases like these, either something has gone wrong with your radiator (in my case, there were some serious seam cracks), or the coolant is kept from properly circulating.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Burning coolant smells
  • Decreased power delivery
  • Coolant depleting quicker than usual
  • Blown head gaskets, seized pistons
  • Damaged engine block

Approach them on your own or with some help from professional mechanics. Once the root causes are detected, replace all defective components immediately.

The Sending Units or Sensors Are Faulty

My Jeep has performed so well in the past years due to fully-functioning sensors that show accurate reading data.

It doesn’t take a genius to imagine what might happen if these sensors were defective! 

As the Check Gauges lights are lighted up upon receiving the incorrect data, other consequences follow suit: 

  • Bad fuel economy
  • Worsened catalytic converter
  • Fouled spark plug
  • Failure to pass the emissions test

And that’s only to name a few! 

I myself do not face these issues often – but when they do come, my immediate solution is to have the faulty sensors identified or replaced.

These fixes will help reset the 2000 Jeep Wrangler check gauges light almost right away.

The Gas Cap Is Loose

Loose gas caps will prompt both the Check Gauge light and Check Engine Light to flash – something I have learned from a not-so-pleasant experience.

One may ask me, How? Isn’t it just a harmless cap? 

Well, this so-called “harmless” cap has more deadly impacts on the Jeep’s performance than one would think! 

Not only does it disrupt the entire fuel delivery, but loose fuel caps also keep the Jeep from distributing power under the right pressure, resulting in irreversible fuel loss.

Tightening or replacing the gas cap would usually do the trick for me and turn off the light. If it doesn’t work for your car, refill the Jeep at a pump station before trying out the cap again.

There Are Issues With The Thermostat

A leaking or defective thermostat cannot regulate engine coolant appropriately; worse, a few years back, it even contributed to corrosive/contaminated coolant level in my Jeep, causing the engine to heat up!

Thankfully, I have discovered a great and simple method to tackle the issue: increasing the coolant fluid level in the Jeeps’ reservoir.

The 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee check gauges light is turned off instantly without leaving behind any damage to the ECT or thermostat sensor.

The Water Pump Is Bad 

Another compartment you should look for is the water pumps, whose malfunctions may freeze the Jeep’s belt and turn the lights erratic. 

There are no shortcuts to go about it; I had to fix the pump by extracting all shrouds, clutches, fans, and radiator hoses out for re-installments.

With some expertise, I can do it by myself at home; still, I understand this is not an option for everyone. The best bet is to leave the job to trusted professionals.

The Vacuum Is Leaking

An upset vacuum system due to leaking or cracked fittings is never a good thing; my Jeep would surge at abnormally high RPMs, which trigger the 2000 Jeep Cherokee check gauges light, error codes, and tons of phantom problems.

Once the vacuum leaks are patched up, you should probably consider installing vacuum/pressure gauges to keep better track of the engine’s status.

My Jeep didn’t arrive with one, so I opted for aftermarket products.

The Fuse Is Blown

Even just one blown fuse can cause your Check Gauges light to activate. Fortunately, in my opinion, this is among the easiest issues to handle.

Before checking, ensure the fuse boxes don’t receive any power supply. Then look out for tell-tale signals:

  • Are there broken metal strips?
  • Do you see any blackening filaments? 

“Yes” to either of these quick questions signifies the need for fuse replacements. Swap the blown fuse with a new substitute of the same amperage.

Issues With The Charging System Arise

I was startled out of my seat when the check gauges light went berserk after I had released the accelerator to press on the brake.

Similar stories have been reported by numerous Jeep drivers, so I’m clearly not the only one! 

Pull the Jeep aside, then check the wiring and battery’s condition. If needed, inspect the alternator’s output with a voltmeter to confirm there is no battery drain at play.

The Accessory Belt/ Fan Has Gone Loose

Jeeps that suffer from wet weather for too long (or worse, treading through deep water like mine) will likely initiate both the Check Gauges light and a series of squealing noises below the hood.

They indicate slipping or wet belts that completely halt the alternator’s charging process! 

Back then, I only had to wait until the weather warmed up, and the lights disappeared right after that.

Still, to stay safe, you should check the drive belts for slippage and wear issues as frequently as possible.

The Jeep Mechanism Malfunctions

Though not as common as other reasons, malfunctioning mechanisms DO set off the light under serious circumstances. The error codes/ glitches might stem from:

  • Poor electrical connections with the PCMs
  • Other wiring problems
  • Engine failure
  • Sticky valves

Pinpointing the exact reason is not easy, considering my and your Jeeps are not exactly identical. It would be best to inspect every component visually for damage or looseness.

The ECU/ECM Is Defective

The OBD (onboard computer) is comparable to our human brain – except that, unlike most humans, this “brain” can go seriously wrong without proper maintenance.

As a result, it sent off a bunch of false warnings, indicating non-existent problems with the car. I have freaked out for nothing! 

If every component on your car works fine – yet the light goes on – chances are you also encounter the same OBD issue as me.

I will gladly return to this issue in the latter half of the article.

Irregular Car Maintenance

Ask yourself when you last brought the Jeep to the maintenance service center. Six months? A year? Or you couldn’t even remember?

Skipping basic maintenance tasks – along with other issues like bad ignition switches, key cylinders, etc. – can easily trigger the light.

And trust me, only a fool would choose to ignore them; time to seek assistance from certified mechanics! 

Symptoms of Bad Gauges in Jeep: How to Diagnose Them

1997 jeep wrangler check gauges light
Some Sign of Bad Gauges in Jeep

As I briefly mentioned above, sometimes, it’s the mechanical gauges themselves that break down and give off warning messages about non-existent car issues.

For tight-budget customers, bringing the car to the nearest repair shop for exorbitant replacements – when there is actually no problem with the offroad vehicle at all – doesn’t sound all that tempting! 

So how can one be certain that the gauge/instrument clutter is at fault and not the other features? I hope the suggestions below can help.


The gauge/instrument cluster must be failing if you spot any of these signals:

  • Dim lights
  • Sporadic CEL
  • Inaccurate readings (ex: my Jeep has no gas left, but the gauge still claims it’s 1/2 full)
  • Occasional glowing up
  • Stuck needle
  • Audio failure (ex: once, I purposefully left the keys in the ignitions. Yet, when I opened the door, the warning signals didn’t go off at all)


Before digging deep, I decided to rule out all the fuses first: 

  • Open the Jeep’s hood to locate its fuse box. (In other Jeep models, the box might be below the kick panels instead) 
  • Check every fuse related to your gauges. Does it have any noticeable damage (broken wires, soot, etc.)?

If there are, replace the wires soon. And if it doesn’t, your can proceed to inspect the cables:

  • Look through every wire in the instrument panel using a flashlight.
  • Keep an eye out for breakage or fraying, and remember to confirm the connections are still good.

Everything still looks fine? It’s time to get down to the gauges themselves: 

  • Confirm their power supply is still sufficient.
  • Visit the ground wires, then investigate the gauges’ monitors and bulbs.

And what if you still feel unsure even after checking everything? Not exactly my favorite solution, but well – just replace the entire cluster.

Sometimes, removing the whole compartment sounds much more effortless than pinpointing the exact problem.

How to Clean And Maintain Your Gauges in Jeep

jeep tj check gauges light
Washed And Maintain Your Gauges in Jeep

Frequent and proper gauge maintenance is important; it’s hard to imagine how to manage the Jeep and fix its problems on time if the warning lights don’t even work.

I often clean my check gauges light Jeep panels and lens with a cotton cloth (as damp and clean as possible). Once done, I pick up a dry rag to wipe out those areas.

Tips to keep in mind:

  • Never use polishes or cleaners that deepen the gloss on your gauge’s upper portion. The dull finishes on the  Jeep TJ check gauges light actually protect the cluster from windshield reflection; do not change them.
  • Have you contacted certain products (ex: suntan lotion, insect repellent, etc.)? Then wash your hands before touching the gauges. Otherwise, paint damage is to be expected.
  • Avoid glass/household cleaners at all costs; they are the death of cluster lenses and interior trims.
  • Never allow hand sanitizers or washer fluid to spill over the interior surfaces of old-model clusters, such as the 1997 Jeep Wrangler check gauges light or 1998 Jeep Cherokee check gauges light. If that happens, wipe them off quickly.


Troubleshooting the check gauges light Jeep is not easy; ANYTHING can be the triggering cause.

At least keep in mind my above tips to carry out a proper diagnosis process and avoid costly repairs, and contact me if you still struggle with your check gauges light Jeep Cherokee.

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