Guide to essential dashboard warning lights

Guide to essential dashboard warning lights

Guide to essential dashboard warning lights

Modern cars are becoming increasingly more complex with the addition of brand new technology and features. All these new features come with a new button or symbol for drivers learn and understand. Dashboard warning lights have been around for decades and convey crucial information to drivers. These symbols can just look like a flashing light and be difficult to understand which can lead to the warning lights being ignored. However, it could be vital to know if you have a problem or a fault on your car that needs attention quickly.

That’s why we have prepared this quick guide to explain what all the dashboard warning lights mean and what you need to do when they activate.

Engine coolant light

What it is: This light comes on it means your engine is too hot.

What to do: Park up and turn off the engine off for 30 minutes to allow the car to cool down, check the coolant level and top up if needed. If it doesn’t need any more coolant, take it to a repair shop to check it over as soon as possible as it could be a bigger problem.

Engine light

What it is: The engine light can come on for a number of reasons – it can be due to a faulty electrical sensor, a misfire, or something else that will change how your engine normally works.

What to do: Take your car to a mechanic to get it checked over, don’t continue driving it as it could cause more damage.

Oil light

What it is: Ignoring the oil warning light can cause extensive damage to your car. If the light is illuminated it’s because the oil temperature is too high or the oil level or pressure is too low.

What to do: Stop driving as soon as the light comes on to avoid engine damage and get a garage to check the problem as soon as possible.

Tyre pressure light 

What it is: The light will illuminate if tyres aren’t at normal pressure or if there is a puncture.

What to do: Pull over and look at the tyres for any wear and tear, if it’s a case of topping up the tyre pressure, do it as soon as possible to avoid any further damage.

ESP Light 

What it is: This can be known as the Electronic Stability Light or Traction Control Light and means that your car is losing traction.

What to do: This light will pop up during snow and rain as these are slippery conditions. Never accelerate hard in these conditions, it’s better to ease off altogether to keep control of the vehicle.

ABS light

What it is: This light will come on if there are any issues with the anti-lock braking system or if your car is doing a bulb check.

What to do: If it’s a bulb check then stopping safely and turning the car off and on again should turn the light off, but if it remains on it’s best to get it looked at as soon as possible.

Battery light 

What it is: This should come on when you turn on your car but if it doesn’t go out after a few seconds then there may be a fault with the electrical system. This could cause you to come to a halt if the battery isn’t working properly.

What to do: It’s best to get it checked out at the nearest garage as it could be a faulty battery or it could be due to the alternator drive belt braking.

Airbag warning light

What it is: Fault with the airbag.

What to do: It’s important to get a faulty airbag looked at as soon as possible as it may not release and protect the driver and passengers during a crash. On the other hand, a faulty airbag could go off at any time causing shock, injury or blocking your view.

Seat-belt light 

What it is: The seat-belt light indicates when seat-belts aren’t plugged in correctly.

What to do: Ensuring all your passenger’s seat belts are done up properly before you set off means you shouldn’t ever see this light.

dashboard warning lights

Hazard lights 

What it is: This is to indicate that your hazard lights are on. Ensure that these are only used when there is an emergency and you need to slow down.

What to do: If they are on by accident it could cause disruption, as people will think there is something wrong with your vehicle.


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