A Beginner’s Guide to Dashboard Warning Lights

The warning lights that appear on your dashboard are usually one of the first signs you’ll see that something is just not right. These lights are there to help you and if one appears whilst you’re mid-drive, it’s best to stop somewhere safely as soon as possible.

Our guide will help you with the more common of dashboard warning light, but although some can be found on all vehicles, others may be specific to your car, so it’s important to take a look in your handbook to familiarise yourself with each one.

Battery Charge Warning Light

What does it look like?

This light often looks like a battery with plus and minus battery symbols.

What should I do if it appears?

Although this light should always appear when you initially start your car, if it hasn’t disappeared after a few seconds, it could indicate a problem with the electrical system.  If the light appears, get your car checked over as soon as possible to determine the cause of the fault.

Oil Warning Light

What does it look like?

This light is easy to point out as it looks like a small oil can.

What should I do if it appears?

If this light comes on, it could mean your oil level is too low.  It’s important that you stop in a safe place as quickly as possible and switch off your vehicle.  Start be looking in your vehicle handbook and checking your engine oil level.  If it is too low, top it up*. If you don’t think it’s the oil level then get your vehicle looked over by a professional. *Remember to use the correct oil for your vehicle.  Your handbook will indicate the correct oil, but if you’re not sure just give us a Call, we’ll be happy to help.

Brake System Warning Light

What does it look like?

Your brake system warning light will often look like an exclamation point in a circle.

What should I do if it appears?

This light appearing could potentially mean that your brake fluid is low, so it’s a good idea to safely park up and take another look in your handbook. If low, you’ll need to top this up to the maximum mark although it’s worth getting it checked over when you can to see if there’s a reason the brake fluid is so low.  If your brake fluid doesn’t seem to be low, there may be a sensory fault and your vehicle will need taking to a garage.

Engine Warning Light

What does it look like?

The light is a jagged box in the shape of an engine, often with an exclamation point in the centre.

What should I do if it appears?

If the engine warning light is flashing on your dashboard, try slowing your vehicle down to see if the flashing stops. If it doesn’t, pull over in a safe spot and turn off your engine.  If the engine warning light is on continuously (with no flashing), stop your vehicle and try to reset the engine management system by switching off the engine, waiting a few minutes and restarting the engine again.

Airbag Warning Light

What does it look like?

The airbag warning light looks like a seated person with a circle (Airbag) in front of them.

What should I do if it appears?

The point of an airbag is to keep you as safe as possible whilst in your vehicle. Your airbag warning light can indicate a problem, potentially resulting in a failure of the airbag in the event of a crash.  Alternatively, your airbag could inflate when you’re not expecting it which could lead to accident or injury.  It’s vitally important that airbags are working safely; get your vehicle checked over as soon as possible by a specialist.

Coolant Warning Light

What does it look like?

The coolant warning light looks similar to a thermometer in water.

What should I do if it appears?

If this light appears on your dashboard, it could mean your coolant level is lower than it should be, meaning your engine could overheat.  Using your handbook, check the coolant tank** and top it up if necessary. The coolant warning light could also mean your engine is overheating, so you’ll need to get that looked over by a mechanic to determine the problem. **Only check the coolant when the engine is completely cool. Checking the coolant when the engine is hot is very dangerous and you could be scalded by a sudden release of pressurized hot water. If in doubt, ask an expert to do it for you.

Although these are just a few common dashboard warning lights, it is advised that you take a look at your vehicle’s manual to familiarize yourself. If you find you’re having any issues with your vehicle or you don’t know why your car is displaying warning lights, book your car in to get a professional opinion.  Here at Eden Tyres & Servicing we would probably advise a Diagnostic Health Check to pinpoint the source of the problem, something we offer at all 12 of our branches.  Diagnosing a problem when a light first appears is always advisable as the problem is unlikely to go away and early diagnosis can save you £££’s in the long run.  Here at Eden Tyres & Servicing, we’re happy to help with any issues you may have with your vehicle. Get in touch today via our Contact Page or be giving us a Call on 0845 299 7955.

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