What do car warning lights mean?

When something goes wrong with your vehicle, you are made aware of this by a car warning light appearing on the dashboard. Depending on the fault and its severity, you will see a different icon and colour of icon. For example, a green light indicates the specific function is operating correctly. An amber light appearing means something is not working as it should and will need to be checked when possible. Any red warning lights on the dashboard means you will need to check this urgently, as soon as it is safe to do so. It is important to keep an eye on your car dashboard lighting so that you can solve the problem as soon as it arises. To understand what each warning light means, allow us to explain the most common options and their causes.

What do these warning lights mean?

Brake warning light

A common red light to appear on your dashboard is your brake warning light, which is shown by a red exclamation mark within a red circle indicating that there is an issue with your brake system. This could be caused by the handbrake not being released properly when moving away, which in some vehicles is shown using a P to represent the parking brake. It can also appear if brake fluid level is low, so you should top this up as soon as possible. If this does not solve the issue and you still see this red exclamation mark whilst driving, you should pull over safely and contact your breakdown cover provider.

Oil warning light

Another severe warning light that requires immediate attention, this is usually a sign that there is a problem with the oil pressure. The cause of this is usually one of three things: your engine oil level is low, your engine oil is dirty, or there is an oil leak. You should check the oil levels to resolve this as soon as possible and top up the engine oil if necessary, which should make this light disappear. If this light stays on, you should not drive the vehicle and arrange to have it looked at by a qualified mechanic.

Engine temperature warning light

Once this light appears, this is a warning to you that your engine is overheating. This means that your vehicle cooling system is not doing its job properly and is usually a sign that coolant levels are low. Continuing to drive with an overheating engine is only likely to cause further damage, so you should turn off the engine and top up the engine coolant or call an expert if this fails to resolve the problem.

Battery warning light

This commonly appears on your dashboard to indicate a problem with the battery or charging system, which could result in electrical failures that affect features such as headlights, putting yourself and other drivers at risk when driving in the dark. This could require a simple battery replacement or may indicate a more serious issue with the wiring. If you notice this battery light appear on the dashboard, or electrical problems within your vehicle, you should take your vehicle to the garage urgently.

There are also a number of warning lights exclusive to diesel vehicles which you should keep an eye out for, such as the diesel particulate filter and glow plug warnings. For a more detailed breakdown of car warning lights and checking your car, you may want to take a look through the owner manual, or read this in-depth guide. If you require assistance checking your car when one of these warning lights comes on contact our team at Double Dee Autos. From simple washer fluid top ups to full repairs for any severe faults such as traction control systems, our team have got you covered. To book in a repair or service with us, call now on 020 8460 3040 or email ben@ddautos.co.uk.