Ever had a warning light show up on your dash and wonder or panic about what it means? Here you will find all the information about what each red, amber and green warning light means and whether action is required if they illuminate. Our helpful guide will show you all the common car warning light symbols and indicators you will need to know about.These icons may look slightly different in your vehicle, so make sure to check you owners manual.
It’s super important to know what your car dashboard warning lights actually mean, this will not only help you potentially predict the possibility of your car breaking down but may also end up saving you money in the long run and keeping you safe on the road.
There are 3 different categories of warning lights; red, amber and green:
If a red warning light appears it usually means that there is a fault or problem with something and action is required urgently and you should stop the car and get it checked out.
Brake System -If the light is on all the time, it could mean you simply forgot to release the handbrake. If it remains after the handbrake has been released it could mean you need to add brake fluid. If the light is still illuminated after topping up the fluid there could be something wrong with your braking system and you will need to get it checked out.
Engine Coolant System - This light means that your coolant levels are running low. You will need to check the gauge on the side of the coolant tank and top up if necessary.
Oil warning light- This light illuminates when the oil temperature is too high or the level / pressure is low.Oil temperature is too high or the level / pressure is low. Stop driving, turn off the engine, and once cooled, check the oil level. If necessary get the oil changed and if light continues to stay on, book your car into a garage to get it checked out
Power steering -
When this light shows, It means there is a problem with your power steering, the wheel can go heavy and may make maneuvering more difficult. Make sure to get this problem checked out
Airbag and Seatbelt system - An illuminated air bag warning light can mean a number of things. The main thing to note is that it means your airbag won’t deploy. You should take your vehicle into a mechanic so they can diagnose the problem.
Vehicle Charging System -This light will illuminate when the vehicle control system detects a problem with either the battery or the alternator and will need to get checked out right away.
Steering Lock -
Only comes on when the ignition is in the off position and the lock is engaged. If you see it come on at any other time, you should have the car checked out.
Ignition Lock -
It could indicate an issue with the ignition switch or show that there is a problem with the key being used.If this light comes on while you are driving, chances are the key can longer be verified so you will need to take the car to get checked out.
Seat Belt Buckles -
This light will appear when a passenger in the vehicle has not fastened their seatbelt.Make sure all seat belts are fastened and the light should turn off.
Doors - This light indicates that one or more doors of the car are not shut properly.Check all of your doors, including the boot, are properly shut.
Bonnet - This light turns on when the bonnet is not closed properly. Make sure the bonnet has been closed properly before setting off.
Boot - This light turns on when the boot is not closed properly. Make sure the boot has been closed properly before setting off.
Have any of these red warning lights appear on your dash and you are worried about them?
When a yellow warning light appears it usually means that there is some fault or problem with something and action is required.
Diesel Particulate Filter - If the engine isn’t able to burn soot due to a short trip, this light will indicate to warn the driver of the build up.
To fix this, take the car onto the motorway or dual carriageway and drive it for around 10 minutes at 40+ MPH. This should sufficiently raise the temperature to levels high enough to regenerate the filter and should turn the light off.
Electronic Power Control -
The Electronic Power Control system is controlled by the engine, brake, transmission and steering control units. Because of this the light could be indicating one of many problems. If this light appears get your car checked out for any problems.
Glow Plug Indicator -
This is a common light for diesel powered vehicles.
This light means that the engine’s glow plugs are warming up and the engine should not be started until the light goes out. If it flashes, an issue has been detected, such as a worn out glow plug and should be checked out.
Engine Oil level - This light indicates that the engine oil level is below the acceptable limit. Check your oil level and refill if necessary.
ABS - If the ABS light turns on whilst driving, it means that your ABS isn't working properly. If the light is still on after restarting the car, we suggest getting a technician to take a look at it just to be on the safe side and to reset the computer if necessary.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) - Usually this light will illuminate when the computer is trying to maintain traction control. This light will only stay lit whilst the vehicle is not under control and a malfunction has been detected so will need to get checked out.
Tyre Pressure Monitoring System -This light will display on the dashboard when tyre pressure is too low and could create unsafe driving conditions. Check your tyre pressures with a gauge and add air until the pressures reach the vehicle manufacturer specification.
Brake pad monitoring - The brake pad wear indicator warning light comes on when the brake pads are detected to be too thin. If the light comes on, you should bring the vehicle to a technician to have the brake pads replaced
Air bag or SRS light -
Automatic Transmission/Automatic Gearbox -This light means there's an issue with the transmission, possibly the fluid temperature, fluid level, or pressure. If this light comes on, it should be checked out as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
Air Suspension - This light will turn on when it detects any unusual activity. When this light comes on, the computer will save a code to identify any issues that it has detected.
Adaptive suspension dampers - Certain cars have sophisticated dampers in their suspension system, which can be set to be softer or firmer. If you see this warning sign, then the dampers will need checking.
Rear spoiler - The rear spoiler warning light indicates that a fault has been detected with the spoiler system. The system will be temporarily deactivated to prevent any damage from occurring.
Bulb monitoring -This light indicates that a light bulb is out somewhere on your vehicle. Make sure you check your bulbs and get them changed.
Brake Lights -If this light appears it means that the brake lights aren't working. You should have it checked out immediately and get it fixed.
Rain and light sensor -Automatic lights and windscreen wipers are becoming increasingly common on new cars. If this warning light appears, it’s telling you there’s a problem with one of them.
Headlight range control -This means there is an issue detected with the headlight range control system. The range control will be disabled temporarily until the problem has been solved.
Adaptive Lighting Indicator - This could mean a malfunctioning sensor or any issues with the motors functioning. Depending on the type of adaptive lighting in your car, this warning light could mean a few things. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific information on your vehicle’s lighting systems.
Tow Hitch -The trailer tow hitch light is designed to warn you when there is an issue with your car's tow hitch, possibly that it is unlocked. Make sure to check that everything it attached properly.
Convertible Roof -This light turns on when the roof is opening or closing, and will flash if repair is needed, such as cleaning or replacement.
Key Not in Vehicle -The key not in vehicle warning light tells you when your key isn't detected in your car, so you don't drive off without it. It can be red or orange. If the battery dies in the key fob, it won’t be able to communicate with the car and the car won't start.
Lane assist - This indicator light comes on when the lane assist system is switched on and road markings cannot be detected.
Washer Fluid - If this light appears it means that the windscreen washer fluid is low and you should top it up.
Rear fog lights - This is just an indicator to show that these lights are on.
Low Fuel Level - A warning light we are all familiar with. This light is to indicate that the fuel level is getting low and is to prompt a fuel top up.
Have any of these amber warning lights appear on your dash and your are worried about them?
Green vehicle warning lights are for information only, you don't need to be concerned when these illuminate as they are just indicating that something is working/on.
Cruise Control - This light means that the cruise control system is activated.
Press Brake Pedal - This light will only applies to vehicles that are fitted with an automatic transmission. The brake pedal will need to be pressed and held while the gear lever is moved out of the park position.
Lane assist - This light indicated when the lane assist system is switched on and road markings can be detected.
Adaptive Cruise Control - This light is to indicate to show that the ACC, cruise control, and speed limiter are active. If the warning lights start flashing, you have exceeded your maximum speed set on the limiter and should therefore reduce your speed.
Find out more about the most common dashboard warning lights here
Have any problems with your warning lights that you need help with? Whether it be Audi warning lights, VW warning lights or even Peugeot. Here at Swansway Group we are happy to assist you in any warning lights issues that you may have. With 13 different brands across a variety of different locations, our teams will be on hand to assist you getting to the bottom of the issue.
Our service teams at our dealerships will be happy to help with any questions you may have.