Car dashboard warning lights – do you know what they mean?
Most cars now are filled with electronics and sensors to help monitor how our vehicle is behaving and make our life easier.If a warning light was to come up on your dashboard, would you know what it means? If not, we have listed the most important lights below so you can understand which each one means.
Brake system / brake fluid – The brakes are one of the most important features on your car. So, if there is a warning light on the dashboard you should get these checked straight away.
Engine Warning Light- This light usually comes up with some kind of unusual symptoms like lack of power or stuttering as you press the accelerator for example. Sometimes this can be a minor electrical sensor fault, but it could be a larger mechanical issue. You should get a professional mechanic to look into this and shouldn’t drive until it’s been seen. By continuing to drive, you could make the problem worse.
Airbag Warning – A faulty airbag could mean that your airbag won’t go off in a crash which will put yourself and your passenger in more danger and won’t protect you from potential injuries. The other reason could be that the air bag might go off at any time, which will give you a nasty shock and may cause more injuries.
DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) – Most modern diesel cars are fitted with a DPF which remove harmful soot from exhaust gases to reduce emissions. If this light is on, it means that you are releasing toxic black smoke every time you press your accelerator down and are causing damage to your engine. If you fail to get this looked at, it can lead to the DFP being blocked and it’s an expensive job to get fixed.
Coolant – When this light comes up it means there is no coolant in your vehicle or your running very low. You need to check the gauge on the side of the coolant tank under the bonnet and top if you need to. In conjunction with a temperature gauge reading well into the red, it could mean your engine is overheating. This can mean a bigger problem like a head gasket failure or something minor like a leak.
Oil warning – This light appears when the oil temperature gets too high, the level is low or the oil pressure is too low. The oil lubricates the engine to keep it going. Failing to do so can lead to very expensive engine damage.
Tyre Pressure – Many cars are fitted with tyre pressure monitoring system. This means when your tyre pressure is low or have a puncture, the light will come up.
Battery charge – You should see this light when you first turn on your car but if it doesn’t go out a few seconds after the engine has started it can mean you have a problem with your electrical system. This could be to do with a faulty alternator, faulty battery, a bad connection or damaged cabling somewhere in the engine bay. If your car isn’t charging its battery when moving (the job of the alternator), then you could eventually run out of electrical power and grind to a halt.
These are the main warning lights on your dashboard but cars are different so there may be some extra ones. You can always check your car handbook and if these lights come up, and be sure to get it checked out as soon as possible.
In the unfortunate event of breaking down, we are partnered with Kindertons Accident Management who are open 24/7 365 days a year. If you want to find out more information, call our friendly team on 0333 202 3173 or read more about it on our breakdown cover page here.