Find out more information about what to do if you have a flat battery and how to tell here. It’s important to know what car dashboard warning lights mean because you might be able to avoid a car breakdown or full-on failure. They should then go off. To fix these problems, I recommend connecting an OBD2 scanner and reading the trouble codes or seeking help from a skilled car electrician to find your vehicle’s problem. If you notice this warning light on your car, turn off your car’s engine as fast as possible. For electric powered systems, this problem could be as simple to fix as rebooting a computer. © 2021 RAC Motoring Services. This light should turn ON after you turn your ignition ON for a couple of seconds (depending on the car model) and then shut off. You can do this by reading the trouble codes. If the oil level is OK and the light is still ON, it can be a problem with the oil level sensor or the wires to it, and it needs proper troubleshooting. You can but if the power steering system fails you will notice that the car is harder to manoeuvre and you should take extra care – it could be dangerous to drive at high motorway speeds without power steering assistance. RAC Motoring Services and RAC Financial Services Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of insurance mediation activities. If the particle light just showed up, it will not damage your car if you do not drive too far with it. If the problem is not serious, you can carry on driving with it but remember that your engine may shut off essential functions like diesel particle cleaning functions when the engine light is on. How serious is the check engine light? The fog light indicator should light up when the fog lights are on and are therefore not dangerous to drive with. If your car battery is getting drained, the car will stop, and you will not start it again without external power. How to solve it: To get rid of the ABS light, the easiest way is to read your trouble code memory. If playback doesn't begin shortly, try restarting your device. If you lock all four wheels due to hard braking, you can’t steer your vehicle. As well as releasing a plume of toxic black smoke every time you press the accelerator, driving with a blocked filter could cause more serious damage to your car. How serious is the EPC light? Do not open the radiator while the engine is hot. If the i-stop symbol illuminates on the dashboard in amber, despite continuously pressing the i-stop OFF switch and other when the bonnet is open and where the driver is not in the vehicle with the seat belt unfastened and the door open, there’s a fault with the system. In some vehicles, it is the opposite; you have to short the two wires. Replace the bulb to extinguish the light. How serious is the oil pressure light? How serious is the coolant temperature light? What it means: This warning light could mean two different things depending on which car model you have. It could also be a false sensor alarm and may not damage your engine, but you shouldn’t take the chance if you are not sure it’s a sensor problem. Use our search tool to find your nearest RAC approved garage. If you see this light come on while driving, stop the car as soon as it is safe to do so. This could be due to a problem with your car’s electrical system and it could have several causes, such as a faulty alternator, faulty battery, bad electrical connection or damaged cabling. Engine Temperature Warning Light. When the particle filter light is on, the particle filter’s cleaning processes will be shut off, and it may cause your particle filter to clog up the filter entirely, and your car will stop. If you have replaced your tires, you may need to reprogram the new sensors to the control unit with a TPMS tool / OBD2 scanner. All rights reserved. If you keep driving with the light on and your fuel level goes to zero, your vehicle will stop. If it starts with the other key, there might be a problem with one of your car keys. Stop and wait until the engine has cooled off before checking the gauge on the side of the coolant tank under the bonnet, topping up as required. So here's what the different yellow and red warning lights on your dashboard mean, why they come on, how urgent the problem is and what you should do when you see them. There is a problem with an ABS ring, sensor, or the wirings to it usually. If this red light remains on after you fully release the parking brake, or comes on when you’re driving, it may indicate that the brake fluid level is low. Search RAC Drive for news, reviews, advice and more. Power Steering/Steering Control Warning Light, 19. If the ABS warning light is also illuminated this signals that the braking system has malfunctioned and your brakes may not work properly. Watch our video guide to checking your car’s engine oil. To find out more about how to diagnose this warning light, you can check our article Traction control light. After you have filled the tire pressure light, you have to reset the TPMS system. If the sensors detect a problem, you’ll be alerted to it by warning lights, which are typically displayed within the speedometer and rev counter dials or elsewhere on the dashboard of your car. When the light is on, the whole ABS function is shut off, and it is not safe to drive with if you are not familiar with it. To learn more about this light and system, you can check out our other article ABS Light. To diagnose this problem, I recommend letting a skilled car electrician take a look at it. How to solve it: To fix the tire pressure monitoring system light, you should first ensure that you have the correct tire pressure in all your tires. If the light comes back on again after topping up you should get it checked out at a garage to fix the underlying problem. If the fuel tank is full and the symbol is still there, there might be a problem with the fuel level tank sensor or its wirings. How to solve it: This light should shut off when pushing your brake pedal and turn on when releasing it in the “Parking” gear. February 7, 2019. If you opt to wire the light to a switch on your dashboard, however, the installation will be a bit more in depth. Dash lights not working more details more specific How too. The shift lock light is not a warning light, and therefore it should be on, and it is not dangerous to drive with. What it means: When the oil can is yellow, it usually means that the oil level is low or the oil temperature is a bit high (depending on the car model). This light should be ON when the ignition is on but the engine off, but if this light appears when idling or driving, it means that the alternator is not charging your car battery properly, and your vehicle may stop suddenly. For roadside assistance, you can call the RAC on 0330 159 1111 even if you’re not a member. The images to the left are more variation. Have a look for any obvious oil leaks under the car, and then check the oil levels, topping up if necessary. You can either do it at home or let a car workshop check the trouble code memory for you. Traction Control (TCS) Dashboard Warning Light, 8. The following list of car warning lights are the most common lights used by auto manufacturers. The engine oil pressure warning light may illuminate with the STOP symbol (see above) to indicate oil pressure is low. If it’s flashing, you should definitely stop driving! Note that your car may have two washer reservoirs (one for the headlight washer), and you may have to fill up both. If it’s a sensor problem, it will not cause any damage if you are driving with it. Overheated Engine Coolant DASHBOARD WARNING LIGHT. DPF (Diesel Particle Filter) Warning Symbol, 18. There are several methods to reset the TPMS system depending on what car you have; some vehicles have to drive for 15 minutes, and some cars have a button for the reset. These often have an option to switch on when the front (or any) passenger doors are opened. If you have a puncture, watch our video to learn how to change a tyre in 10 simple steps. Often, the fuel level tank sensor can get stuck inside the tank, and it can help drive and refill the tank a couple of times. How to solve it: Normally, this problem will be fixed if you relock your car a couple of times. When the engine management light is illuminated it’s often accompanied by tell-tale signs that the engine is not working properly, such as a lack of power or stuttering as you press the accelerator. If you can’t find your engine oils dipstick, check your service manual for the correct information. Pull over and stop as soon as it’s safe to do so - keep your speed low and avoid braking suddenly. If this light appears, it’s wise to pull over and check your gas cap and other systems in your vehicle. You can find this warning light on models with electric power steering. If it lit continuously, it means that hydraulic pressure has been lost in one side of the brake system or that the fluid level in the master cylinder is dangerously low (due to a leak somewhere in the brake system). How serious is the washer fluid light? If it’s a sensor problem, it can also fill up the diesel particle filter if you drive too far with it. What to do: If the warning light comes on while you are driving, it means the ABS is not working properly. Unless you know how to check your brake fluid levels yourself, this will be one for the professionals, so get yourself to a garage. How to solve it: To fix this problem, you have to measure the voltage the alternator charges the battery on idle. Occasionally, even after a problem has been solved, the dashboard light associated with it may still be active. Also known as the check engine or ECU warning light. Always check the trouble codes to make sure if you can keep driving with it or not. The easiest way to fix this is to read the trouble code memory to find the trouble code. If your car battery is getting drained, the car will stop, and you will not start it again without external power. While dashboard lights may vary by vehicle, the following are some examples of very common warning and informational lights that could appear on the dashboard of your vehicle: BRAKE SYSTEM The brake system light could mean the brake fluid level is low, the parking brake is on or there is an issue with the anti-lock braking system (ABS). That’s why I recommend repairing it quickly. When this light goes red it means that at least one element of the airbag safety system is not working correctly: either the airbag system itself; the front passenger occupant classification system (which detects the front passenger’s weight and position in order to safely deploy the airbag); or the seat belt pretensioner system, which tightens the belt in the event of a crash. Usually, the immobilizer light may cause your vehicle not to start, and you can’t drive with it. The ABS is made not to lock your brakes entirely when you panic brake your vehicle. Therefore, it’s not recommended to drive with the EPC light on; drive or tow it to a car repair shop as soon as possible. Car dashboard lights: what to look for. Info. What it means: This warning light can have a lot of meanings depending on which car model you have. The brakes are one of the most important safety features of your car, so it’s important to act immediately when you see this red warning light. The following are warning lights and indicators found in vehicles built by Volkswagen. The transmission locks the gears when you are not pushing the brake to minimize the risk of accident switching to the Drive or Reverse gear. Unless you know how to check your brake fluid levels yourself, this will be one for the professionals. If this light is red you should stop straight away, as without enough coolant your engine could get so hot that it effectively welds itself together, causing irreparable damage. Turn off engine and wait a few minuted for engine to cool. Modern cars are filled with electronics and packed with sensors to monitor how your vehicle is behaving. When you turn your car’s ignition, all of the dashboard lights should temporarily illuminate to indicate that they’re working correctly - if they remain on you may have an issue that needs to be resolved. How to solve it: Normally, you have to refill your fuel tank to get this light to turn OFF. In this case call for recovery if you have breakdown cover, as driving any further could damage the engine. If it doesn’t turn off, there might be a problem with your fog light switch or any other electrical problem type. You have to use an OBD2 scanner to read the airbag control system. TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) Warning Sign, 9. That's why it's lit up with a variety of lights. Replace the bulb to extinguish the light. Avoid making any long journeys without sufficient coolant: you should stop and top up as soon as possible otherwise you risk causing serious damage to your car. If the battery warning light comes on the Renault TWINGO dashboard along with the warning light, it indicates an overload or discharge in the electrical circuit. How to solve it: Typically, you have to connect the seat belt for every person inside the car. But it will not damage anything more if you keep driving with it. This light will come on when the engine is overheating. How serious is the service engine soon light? You can also check the fuses for the ABS control unit. The light will most likely not damage any other parts, but it is a traffic security question. I recommend checking it at a repair shop quickly. CAR dashboard warning lights communicate information about the vehicle and any potential issues or problems that need addressing immediately. If it’s flashing it means the ESP system is intervening – for example, if you’re driving on a slippery road. An overheating engine can cut out as well. This is easily done with only a set of pliers or a wrench. The dash of your vehicle provides a host of important information, and you'll need to see everything on your dash at night. Hi, I’m Magnus, the owner and the writer of Mechanic Base. What to do: Do not drive while this light is illuminated! What it means: It means that one or several seat belts are not fitted correctly in one of the car seats, or there is a problem with any seat buckle. You can often find these warning lights together with the ABS light because the systems are working together and use the same wheel sensors. The control units need to inform the driver there is a problem with the system, and therefore all these different warning symbols exist. Also called the brake pad wear warning light, if this symbol shows up it means a sensor has detected your brake pads are too thin. If you have filled up the reservoir, but the light is still on, there might be a problem with the washer fluid’s level sensor or a wiring issue to the sensor. It can also be a faulty coolant level sensor causing this light to appear. How serious is the fuel level indicator light? The battery light is red, and when this light is on, maybe your alternator is not charging, and your car battery will be drained. This could happen over time or it could be because of a puncture. Note: The cheapest obd2 scanners can only read the engine control unit; if you want to read the airbag control unit, you may need a more advanced one or let a workshop read it for you. In most car models, it says that there is a minor problem with your engine. What it means: This light means there is a problem with your Airbag / SRS control system. The check engine light can signify a lot of problems with your engine. Dashboard lights may be disabled as a result of a blown fuse. So, what is that light on your dashboard? In most vehicles, a flashing check engine light signals that you have a serious problem that could cause … If the light comes up, drive the shortest way to a safe spot to call for towing of your vehicle. How serious is the power steering light? A common cause for the airbag light is the connector plug under the driver or passenger seat. Many warning lights indicate that […] Remember that the cheap obd2 scanners can often only read the engine control unit, and you may need a more advanced one to read the power steering control unit.A common problem with this light is a faulty steering wheel angle sensor or a defective fuse. Most petrol stations and garages will have an air compressor you can use to check your tyre pressure. Read our guide to checking your engine coolant. A warning light flashing up on your dashboard has always been something which should make you stop, check your car and maybe consult your manual. Most cars have at least one "dome light" (or "courtesy light") located in or near the ceiling of the passenger compartment, to provide illumination by which to fasten seatbelts and enter or exit the car. The washer fluid light is not very serious about keeping driving with. What it means: This warning light indicates that the immobilizer could not recognize your car keys or there is a problem with the immobilizer system. How serious is the traction control light? If you put a lot of stuff on the seat, you may have to connect the seat belt to get the light to go off. How serious is the seatbelt warning light? Check out our car manufacturer-specific warning lights pages: Also known as the brake system warning light, parking brake warning light or brake fluid warning light. 4. The oil pressure warning light indicates a loss of oil pressure, meaning lubrication is low or lost completely. This list covers general symbols that appear in the most common car models. In some cars, you have to drive for a while to update the oil level if the vehicle uses an electronic oil level measurement. Check if any of the above-mentioned reasons have occurred. If this light comes on often, get your car serviced to check there isn’t a leak somewhere. Car dashboard symbols and meanings – warning lights guide, Anti-lock brake system (ABS) warning light, Electronic stability problem (ESP) system light, diesel particulate filters and how to maintain them, video guide to checking your car’s engine oil. Not all warning lights are universal, some have different meanings. Wait for the engine to cool down before topping up. If the ABS light comes on by itself you should still have normal, unassisted braking, so it's safe to continue your journey – but keep your distance, take extra care, and get it checked as soon as possible. If the light fades after the run, it means that the coals in the alternator are worn out, and they have to be replaced, or usually, you will need to replace the whole alternator. When you are driving, your car is making regenerations when the engine is hot, and you drive long distances. To measure the voltage, you need a Multimeter. 1. If the light remains on after restarting get it checked at a garage as the ESP system is an important safety feature. You will often not have any symptoms with the EPC light on, but often, it comes together with the ABS light, and if the abs light is on, the abs functions will be shut off. Take it apart and clean it and erase the trouble code memory. Also known as the battery charge light or battery charging system light. Different cars can have slightly different looking symbols. Restart the engine after 2 minutes to reset the engine management system. How serious is the particle filter light? The service engine soon light often lit up because of minor engine problems that are safe to drive with. Shopping. NOTE: The coolant may be boiling, and you should never open the cap if the engine is hot as it may cause serious injuries. and What does the SRS light mean?. If you live in a cold country, always make sure that you are using the right mix of washer fluid and water. If the check engine light comes on you should get it checked as soon as you can, as by continuing to drive you risk causing further, potentially irreparable damage to your engine. It will most likely not damage any further parts if you keep driving with the light on. You’ll find the 14 most common warning lights, and what to do. If the oil levels are fine, then the oil pump may be faulty. Find a safe place to stop and try turning the car off and back on again after 30 seconds. The dashboard gauges in your car tell a complex story about everything from your current rate of speed to the state and health of your engine, and even whether or not things like your headlights are switched on. What it means: This light means there is a problem with the ABS (Anti-lock Brake System). How to Fix Dashboard Lights That Won't Light. The coolant should not disappear by itself, and you will either have an internal or external leak of the coolant on your engine. Check your service manual if there is more than one reservoir. The ABS control units use a wheel sensor at each wheel to check the speed of each wheel. There are hundreds of different warning light symbols and signs in modern cars. RAC Insurance Ltd is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. If you notice that the dash lights on your vehicle are not working, it's important that you have the issues addressed. If this light is red you should stop straight away, as without enough coolant your engine could get so hot that it effectively welds itself together, causing irreparable damage. This light could indicate a number of faults, from minor issues like a broken electrical sensor to a much larger mechanical issue, like a fault with your emission control system or catalytic converter. Some easy fixes are checking all fuses, checking for any vacuum leaks around the intake, and making sure that your gas tank cap is tightened correctly. If any remain lit or light up during your journey, then they demand your attention. How to solve it: To find the problem with this warning light, read the ABS control unit’s trouble code memory to see any stored trouble codes. Always refer to your owner’s manual when you’re not 100% sure what the light indicates. Also known as the DPF or exhaust particulate filter warning light. How serious is the TPMS light? Share. What follows is easily the most complete list available of symbols and warnings that may appear in and on your car’s dashboard or instrument cluster. This could mean that coolant levels are running low, perhaps due to a leak in the system, or it could be a sign of a larger problem, like a head gasket failure. Stop the car when it is safe to do so and turn off the engine. Some cars have scheduled service for a replacement of the diesel particle filter (Like BMW). As soon as safely possible, stop the car and turn off engine. It will not damage any other parts if you keep driving with the light on. How serious is the airbag light? What it means: This warning light means there is low oil pressure in your car’s engine. EPC Light (Audi, Skoda, Seat, Volkswagen), 19 Car Dashboard Warning Lights & Symbols & Meanings, 5 Reasons Why Your Brake Lights Don’t Work But Tail…, 6 Causes of Tail Lights Don't Work But Brake Lights Do, Throttle Control Warning Light (ETC) - Symptoms & Info, 5 Causes of Brake Lights Stay On & Won't Turn Off -…, Stop your vehicle immediately and tow your car to a car repair shop, Drive your car the closest way to a car repair shop. If you keep driving with the light on, and the oil pressure is low, it may cause major engine damage. Indicator light turns on when the handbrake is on. Some vehicles use load-monitored sensors in the back seat and passenger seat to see if they are sitting there. You should never drive with a red oil pressure light. This could indicate low oil pressure or overheating. In a situation where the temperature warning light gets turned on, you should immediately stop the car and pull over to the side of the road. Different vehicles have different gauges, and some instrument panels are much more complicated than others. To learn more about this warning light, check our article Service Engine Soon. Breakdown cover arranged and administered by RAC Financial Services Limited (Registered No 05171817) and provided by RAC Motoring Services (Registered No 01424399) and/or RAC Insurance Ltd (Registered No 2355834). Don’t risk driving when your brakes are not functioning properly: call for recovery if you have a breakdown cover policy. If it’s a fuel level sensor problem, it’s not dangerous to drive with. If the light's still flashing, turn off the engine and contact us … Dashboard lights are nothing new, but the messages are. In this event, you need to reset the system. If you are only driving short distances, you may need to connect a diagnostic scanner and do a manual regeneration. How to solve it: If you find this sign on a car with an electric power steering pump, you should check the power steering fluid level if possible. How serious is the battery light? When the light is on, your airbag system is out of function, and the airbags will not deploy if an accident occurs. How serious is the shift lock light? Watch later. The control panel's brightness control must be turned on for the dashboard lights to work. While, here you go! Drive or tow it to a workshop as soon as possible. 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It could indicate that the filter has become blocked with soot. You'll find that several lights illuminate as soon as you turn the car on, showing that the relevant systems are working. The light will illuminate on the dash along with an audible buzzer. Some but not all stone chips and cracks on the windscreen can require a new screen, it depends where they are in the driver’s sight and how bad they are. When this light comes on you should stop as soon as possible and turn off the engine. When the traction control light is on, your anti-spin and traction control will not work, and it can cause an accident if you are not familiar with driving without it. Your car dashboard can light up with a number of warning lights or symbols to indicate various problems with the car. The traction control system uses the ABS wheel sensors to feel each wheel’s speed and reduce the engine power if one wheel is spinning or slipping on a slippery surface. If the fluid level is ok, you have to check the trouble codes for your power steering control system. If the light stays on it means the ESP system is not working properly. Also called Electronic Stability Control (ESC), this warning light indicates a problem with traction control. It can also be a wiring problem between the sensor and the dashboard or a faulty dashboard. When this light is ON – the airbag control system is completely disabled, and you won’t have any airbags saving you in an accident. The electric power control system works with several different control units, like the engine, transmission, brake control unit. However, read the trouble codes and fix them as fast as possible, but it will not hurt your engine to drive the closest way to a repair shop. It can be a fault like the control unit does not communicate with one of the sensors. If the light remains on, you need to have a mechanic diagnose the ABS light issue as soon as possible. Some use an electric pressure pump and use the old-style power steering rack, and some have an electric engine around the steering column. To read the trouble code memory, you have to use an OBD2 scanner. You should check your motor oil level and pressure as soon as you can. This yellow warning light will come on when coolant levels are running low, to remind you to top them up.