One of the most useful features of your vehicle is its ability to alert you when there is an internal problem brewing. There will rarely be an occurrence that is unexplained, which makes it imperative to ensure that you remain fully aware of what each warning light means. Although all warning lights are an indication that there is an issue, each differs in severity. While some can be solved at home through a little DIY, others prove potentially dangerous which means that your vehicle will need to be taken to a reputable local garage immediately.
CVS MK recognises that it can be somewhat time-consuming to spend hours investigating the meaning of each light that has the potential to pop up on your dashboard. So, with this in mind, here is a list of the most common warning lights explained, along with what you need to do if any of them appear.
12 Car Warnings Lights Explained
There are 12 main warning lights that you may notice appear on your dashboard; some of which are in all vehicles and others may only appear in those that are a little more modern. With years of experience providing customers with car repairs in Milton Keynes, before beginning our guide to the difference in warning lights, it is important to highlight that, no matter the severity of the issue, it should never be ignored. Regardless of how small the problem may be, all are capable of quickly growing into a serious problem that is likely to result in costly repairs.
The colour in which each light appears is an accurate indication of the severity of the issue. Those that are red in colour are always the most serious and any that are orange, blue or green are less of a problem, yet should still be seen to immediately.
Engine Management Light
The engine management light can either flash or remain static. If the engine light pops up and is static, you are still safe to drive your vehicle, however, must ensure that you book in for it to be checked by a mechanic as soon as possible. It is a warning that there is a potential problem with your engine that must be resolved before causing irreparable harm. Allowing a vehicle engine light to remain unsolved is not only causing damage to the engine itself but also the catalytic converter.
On the other hand, if the engine management light is flashing, then it indicates a more severe issue. In this instance, you must slowly stop your vehicle in a safe location, avoiding heavy acceleration and turn off your engine. After 2 minutes, restart the engine and look whether the flashing engine light is still there. If it is, you must contact breakdown recovery.
Brake System Light
The brakes are one of the, if not the most, critical component of your vehicle to guarantee safety. If the brake system light is to show up, you must pull over immediately. First, check that your handbrake is fully released as this is sometimes the simple reason as to why the light has popped up. If the handbrake is fully released, but the light is still appearing, do not try to continue driving. Instead, you must call for roadside assistance and arrange for your vehicle to be taken straight to a mechanic.
The brake system light can indicate anything from merely a low brake fluid level to a serious issue with the braking system. Either way, attempting to drive your vehicle is not worth the risk. CVS MK specialises in car brakes in Milton Keynes and are always happy to take a look at your car if you are concerned of its safety.
Oil Pressure Warning Light
The oil pressure warning light is one of the most serious warnings your vehicle can give you, which means it is vital to ensure you know exactly what to do if the light appears. If the oil warning light is to appear, your vehicle is no longer safe to drive, and you must pull over in a safe place.
Depending on the problem with your oil pressure, you may not need to call for professional assistance. Once pulled over, allow the engine to cool down and then check your oil level. Dummies have put together a super easy to follow article on how to check your vehicle’s oil level. If your oil level is below average, then ensure that it is topped up; your vehicle manual will include information on the best oil for your car.
In some cases, you may have an adequate amount of engine oil, yet the oil pressure light has not disappeared. In this instance, it is a sign that you have a faulty pump that may be leaking meaning that a mechanic must check over your vehicle.
Battery Charge Warning Light
It is imperative that, if you notice the battery charge warning light appear, you pull over immediately as your car is not safe to drive. Failing to pull over may mean that your headlights, power steering, brake servos and the engine itself will stop working. Ensure that once pulled over, you turn off the engine and call for roadside assistance, as trying to restart your engine is likely to make the problem worse.
Many different reasons may cause the battery charge warning light to appear including a faulty battery, issues with the wiring or a problem with the drive belt; all of which can only be resolved with the help of a qualified mechanic.
ABS Warning Light
The ABS warning light relates to the anti-lock braking system of your vehicle. In most cases, the ABS warning light does not indicate a serious problem and could be something as simple as a sensor fault.
If the ABS warning light is to appear, your vehicle is still safe to drive, but you should ensure that you take extra care, especially in more adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain and ice. You should try to get your car booked in with a mechanic as soon as possible. The only time that there may be a more severe problem brewing is if your wheels begin to make an unusual noise. In this case, get booked in immediately.
Temperature Warning Light
The temperature warning light is one of the easiest notifications to remember as it is somewhat self-explanatory. It indicates that either the engine is too hot or your vehicle is running low in coolant. A problem in a vehicle’s temperature can be potentially fatal and lead to a blown head gasket or overheating. In other cases, your car’s radiator may be broken due to a leak or blockage, which can be spotted through checking whether there is coolant dripping from the heater.
If the temperature warning light is to pop up, you must stop the car immediately in a safe location and contact breakdown recovery.
Seatbelt Warning Light
The seatbelt warning light, again, is pretty must self-explanatory but is usually only fitted in more modern vehicles. In newer cars, seatbelts are equipped with pressure sensors which are able to tell whether the individual belts are secured or not. This means that the seatbelt warning, simply, lets drivers know whether any of their passengers have not secured their seatbelt; therefore, maximising safety.
Airbag Warning Light
The airbag is one of the critical components of your vehicle that work towards protecting your safety in the event of a collision. Although airbags have the potential to save lives, they are often left without maintenance.
The airbag warning light indicates that your airbags may be faulty and in the event of an accident, you cannot guarantee that they will go off. On the other hand, a faulty airbag may also mean that the vehicle’s airbag could go off at any moment, not only when you don’t necessarily need it but also when you aren’t expecting it, proving incredibly dangerous.
Tyre Pressure Monitor Warning Light
In more recent years, manufacturers have taken to fitting vehicles with tyre pressure monitor warning lights, also known as TPMS. Tyre pressure is essential in ensuring that your car remains safe on the roads as incorrect tyre pressure can significantly affect your braking, cornering and ability to reach high speeds.
The TMPS system consistently keeps track of the amount of air in your tyres and will alert you when it begins to drop below average. If you are to notice your tyre pressure warning light, then you must ensure that when you next arrive home, you take time to inflate your tyres. All tools required to check your tyre pressure and inflate tyres can be purchased from Tool Station.
Traction Control Light
The traction control light comes in incredibly helpful when driving in trickier weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow. It will pop up when your tyres begin to lose grip against the surface, so is an accurate indication that you need to gently brake and regain control. If you notice that your traction control light is continuously on, no matter the weather condition, it isn’t a problem, it usually just means that you’ve deactivated the feature.
Fuel Indicator Symbol
The fuel indicator symbol, also known as the low-fuel warning light, is a super useful feature that notifies you when the fuel in your tank has passed a particular level. Most vehicles pop up with the fuel symbol when they have around 70 miles of fuel left in the tank, and although it may seem high, it means that you have plenty of fuel to get you to a filling station.
Door Warning Lights
Similarly to the seatbelt notification, the door warning light is a helpful safety feature to ensure that both the driver and passengers are not in danger. In many vehicles, there are three different door warning lights relating to different parts of the car including the doors, boot and bonnet. The light will signal on your dashboard when the door, boot or bonnet has not been closed property; this often also comes alongside a sound notification.
Service Required Warning Light
Photo Credit to The Car Key Man
The service required warning light is a great way to remind yourself that your vehicle is in need of its annual service. It tracks how many miles you drive and calculates the intervals in which a service is required. Along with reminding you that your service is due, this particular warning light is also a good indication that you would benefit from changing the oil and filter.
If your annual service is approaching and you’re on the search for a reputable garage, then please feel free to contact CVS MK. Our fully trained mechanics have years of experience providing customers with car servicing in Milton Keynes.
Understanding Dashboard Warning Lights
While it may feel as if there are tonnes of different warning lights that you must memorise, there are just a few that are an indication of a severe problem with your vehicle. Particularly when noticing the brake system or oil pressure warning light, it is imperative to ensure that you pull over in a safe location and call roadside assistance. If there are any lights that you are ever unsure of and not too sure of their meaning, it is recommended to take a look through your vehicle handbook for more details.