Car Dashboard Warning Lights – What do they mean?

Car Dashboard Warning Lights – What do they mean?

What do all these symbol, lights and buttons mean?

Have you just got out of your old car and into a brand new one, turned the key and had the dashboard light up momentarily like a christmas tree? It can be a little daunting if you haven’t driven a modern car that’s packed to the eyeballs with new and modern technology, all working towards monitoring your vehicles behaviour and health, to make your motoring life easier.

You could be tempted to ignore any flashing lights, similar to when you may have owned an older car and ignored a grinding or knocking noise, something easily fixed by turning the radio up loud! (this is not a recommendation). Nor is it recommended to attempt any kind of re-wiring of fuses to disable a dashlight bulb (true story).

It is important to remember that all dash lights have a valid purpose, so it is worth noting, what the main ones mean if not all, because they can pre-empt a car breakdown or full-on failure, potentially saving you from an expensive repair bill and keeping you safer on the road.

Here are a few warning lights you should watch out for:
You will also find detailed information regarding all your vehicle features, warnings and safety instructions in your vehicle owners manual.




Brake system / brake fluid warning light
Indicates one of three possible conditions: parking brake is on; problem with the braking system/brake fluids low,or ABS problem. Check brake fluid and make sure the parking brake is fully released. If the problem is in the ABS system, it may need a professional diagnosis.


Engine Warning light
If your car’s engine warning light remains on, it’s advice to get it looked at by a professional mechanic to assess the fault that could be affecting your emissions (EOBD). Ignoring this warning could potentially cause irreparable damage. If this light is flashing, turn the engine off and contact your local dealer ASAP.


Airbag warning light
The invention of the airbag was a major step forward in vehicle occupant safety, so if your car’s isn’t working properly, get it seen to. A faulty airbag potentially won’t go off in a crash, meaning you and your passengers won’t be as well protected from any potential injuries. The other possibility is that your vehicle’s airbag could deploy when you least expect it, giving you a nasty shock – or even actually causing­ an injury – and an expensive fix to put right.



Power Steering The power steering warning light will illuminate if your fluid levels are low or if there is a fault within the system. Check power steering fluid levels and top-up if necessary. If fluid levels continuously fall, there may be a leak in the system. Steering is possible without the aid of power steering although may become difficult at low speeds.


DPF / Diesel particulate filter warning light
When the DPF warning comes on, it’s time to take the vehicle on a longer run, preferably on a faster road such as a dual carriageway or motorway to prompt the DPF to go into ‘regeneration’ mode and burn off soot which will clear any blockage. If this doesn’t fix the light a trip to the garage is a must!
coolant-warning-icon Engine Temperature warning light
Overheating is the most common cause of an irreparably damaged engine, so you should always take a temperature warning light seriously. The most common culprit for when an engine overheats is low or weak coolant. How to check and change engine coolant. On starting your engine this symbol may show as a blue light, this is just the engine warming up and may depending on the make and model of your vehicle. If the symbol turns red, your engine is over heating – safely pull over and turn the engine off to let it cool down.
oil-warning-icon Oil Pressure
If the oil pressure warning light lights up it is like is says on the tin – your oil pressure is low. This could be a result of a punctured oil pan, a leak or a number of problems. If you run the engine without oil, it will seize because the metal parts won’t be able to move against each other. Do not drive your vehicle if this light is on. How to check and change engine oil
tyre-warning-icon Tyre Pressure
The tyre pressure warning light will become illuminated when the tyre pressure monitoring system detects a possible reduction in tyre pressure, use this as a guide and always keep an eye on your tyres.
How to change a wheel
battery-warning-icon Battery Alert
The battery light indicates a battery charging problem. If the battery light comes on and stays on while you are driving, the most common cause is a broken alternator belt
symbol6-01 Traction Control
The traction control system in your vehicle exists as a driving aid during adverse conditions, such as rain, snow, ice, or poorly maintained roads. In the event of this light staying on, a fault has been detected and it’s advised you visit your local dealer centre for an assessment.
symbol5-01 Washer fluid low
If your Washer Fluid Level Warning Light is on, it is time to top up your windscreen clean. During winter months ensure you add anti-freeze to your water, as freezing in the tubes can causing problems. We offer a FREE winter health check to ensure you and your car are safe and fit for the winter months.
symbol2-01 Service requiredthe ins & outs of car servicing


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