Dashboard Warning Lights Explained

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Car dashboard lights can be a mystery even to the most seasoned of drivers, so don’t worry if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. In this guide, we’ll be showing you exactly what some of the more common warning lights mean, equipping you with the knowledge to avoid a breakdown before it happens in the future.

The warning lights on your dashboard are governed by a traffic light colour system:

  • Green means that the function in question is working properly
  • Amber means there is something wrong with the function and needs to be looked at
  • Red means there is something seriously wrong with the system or function and could be putting you in danger

Red Warning Lights

red warning lights on car dashboard

Airbag warning light

When this light goes on, it means that the airbag system isn’t working and may not go off at all in the event of a collision. There’s also a chance that it could go off unexpectedly and cause a collision, so this is something you should sort immediately.

Power steering warning light

Also known as the EPS/EPAS warning light. This can often be fixed by simply restarting your car, so try this first before heading to the garage.

Engine temperature warning light

When this light goes red, it means your engine is overheating, something which could indicate you have a coolant leaking problem or something more severe. Stop immediately when you see this light and call your breakdown service.

Engine oil warning light

This light will turn red when either the temperature of the oils ramps up or the pressure is too low. Assuming there are no obvious leaks under the car, check the oil level using the dipstick and top up if necessary.

Battery warning light

When this light goes read, it means, for some reason, your battery is no longer charging. Assuming you’ve got a fair bit of juice left, you should have plenty of time to head to a garage. Do make sure you go straight there though; once you run out of battery, none of your car’s systems will work!

Amber warning lights

yellow warning light on car

Engine management light

When this light turns amber, it could be any one of a whole number of issues. If you notice a lack of power or stuttering while driving, this is a good indication that the problem is serious.

Particle filter warning light

Something that only exists in diesel vehicles. If it turns amber, this could indicate that the filter has been blocked with soot and should be seen to ASAP.

Tyre pressure warning light

This could indicate a puncture has occurred, or it could simply be that the pressure has decreased over time.

ABS warning light

Your ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) plays a vital role in ensuring you avoid a collision in poor driving conditions, so make sure you get this checked out.

Brake pad warning light

If this light comes on, it means that your brake pads are becoming too thin and will need replacing. This light should come on well before the pads become dangerously thin, so you should have plenty of time to replace them.

1st Call Windscreens are the leading windscreen repair and windscreen replacement company throughout Maidstone, Sittingbourne and the wider Kent area. For a quick and easy solution to your chips and cracks, call our team today.


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