Common car warning lights explained

Posted on: May 19, 2018, by :

This blue warning light (shown in main image above) will illuminate when your high beam headlights are activated. You need to dip them if theres oncoming traffic to avoid dazzling the driver and causing a collision.

Your cars battery light should illuminate for a second or two when the car is started, but if it hasnt gone out once the car is idling then theres likely to be an issue. That issue could be with your cars alternator, which keeps the battery charged while youre driving around, or it could be a bad connection, or it might fade in and out when starting the car indicating the battery is dying. If your cars battery warning light does illuminate and your car wont start then you should contact roadside assistance or, if youre handy, buy a replacement battery and swap it over yourself.

How To: Beach Driving with your 44

Refreshed 2019 Ford Ranger detailedhere later this year

Volkswagen Amarok TDI550 Ultimate Review

Leave this field empty if youre human:

If you see what appears to be a car with its doors open or the boot up, then itll mean that either one of the doors or the cars boot is ajar. You should pull over to the side of the road and close the door again. Sometimes the door can look to be closed and even feel like its caught on a catch, but the light will also illuminate if the door is only lightly closed. Modern cars tell you which door is open older ones just tell you one of the doors isnt closed properly.

Traction control / stability control warning light

Get our weekly wrap of Practical Motoring delivered FREE to your inbox every Friday at 5pm

Would you start the car buying process online if you could remain anonymous and were guaranteed a discount?

Common dashboard warning lights, showing (from left) Cruise Control; Brake Warning Light; ABS Warning Light; Low Fuel Warning Light; High Beam Warning Light; Stability Control; Engine Warning Light; and Diesel Glow Plug Warning Light.

Watch This: Driving on Unsealed Roads

What to do when a diesel particulate filter needs to be burned off and youre offroad

Common car warning lights explained

Leave this field empty if youre human:

What to do when a diesel particulate filter needs to be burned off and youre offroad

It can be easy to inadvertently activate your fog lights, both front and rear (if your car has them) but, if theres no fog then its illegal to drive with them switched on.

Website by Blue Mountains Web Design

Volkswagen Amarok TDI550 Ultimate Review

MODERN CARS are filled to bursting with technology. There are sensors to monitor engine temperature, brakes, airbags, oil, batteries and more. And while there are a series of common symbols, which weve explained here, some will be common to your vehicle and so its vital you look through your cars owner manual.

It could also mean your wheel alignment is so far out of true that the electronics cant cope and throw up an error.

Refreshed 2019 Ford Everest detailedmirrors Ranger update

This ones obvious. If you see the low-fuel warning light illuminated on your dashboard then it means youre running low on fuel and have somewhere between 80-120km of fuel left. Many cars will also show a distance to empty readout on the dashboard.

Common dashboard warning lights, showing (from left) Cruise Control; Brake Warning Light; ABS Warning Light; Low Fuel Warning Light; High Beam Warning Light; Stability Control; Engine Warning Light; and Diesel Glow Plug Warning Light.

Engine Warning Light (or Check Engine Light, CEL)

Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) Explained

Theres no way you can miss this one. If you see the ABS light flash up on your dashboard it will mean theres a problem with the ABS system in your car. You should be able to drive the car without ABS (although this isnt true of all cars) and you should be careful about hitting the brakes too hard as without ABS theyre more likely to lock up. Drive your car to your local mechanic without delay.

Many modern cars have a tyre pressure monitoring system that will alert you if one of your tyres drops below its set pressure. This needs to be reset every time you fill your cars tyres with air. If this symbol illuminates, then youll need to check your tyres always carry a tyre pressure gauge in your car.

HSV Chevrolet Camaro will be automatic only

If you see what looks like a windscreen with a fountain flash up on your dashboard then it means you cars washer fluid is running low.

The Australian Overtake and why we shouldnt be proud of it

If you see this symbol permanently illuminated on your dash (see below), then it means youve deactivated your cars traction control system. Practical Motoring doesnt recommend deactivating the traction control in general driving. Therell be a button somewhere on your dashboard that turns this safety system back on.

These are just a handful of the most common warning lights. Well add to the list over time.

…To provide you with real-world car reviews and car buying advice to help make buying a car easier.

FCAI hits back at Federal Governments plan for mandatory data sharing

Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) Explained

If you see this occasionally around corners when driving fast (or badly) it just means that traction control or stability control is working. If you see if illuminate around corners taken normally it may also mean low tyre pressuresas the car is sliding more on low pressure tyres and activating stabiity contrl.

© Copyright Practical Motoring. All Rights Reserved.

Watch This: Water Crossings Explained

Mitsubishis Super-Select 4X4 System Explained

Automatic shift lock or engine start warning light

Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) Explained

Your cars temperature gauge is one of those things you probably never even notice, and when all is going well and your cars coolant levels are bang-on the temperature gauge will usually rise to half-way and then stay there. However, if the gauge starts to show the engines temperature is rising, or you see a warning light on the dashboard before you notice the temperature gauge then it means youre either low on coolant/antifreeze or it could mean your engines overheating. A quick look at the temperature gauge will tell you which one.

Quite often youll see the brake warning light (shown in main image above) illuminate if the handbrake hasnt been fully released. The car will move off but the light will stay on and the car will feel retarded, quite often the light will be accompanied by a chime. If youve released the handbrake and the light is still illuminated, then youll need to have your car checked out by a mechanic immediately. It could mean youre low on brake fluid, or a sensor has failed. Either way, itll pay to have this issue checked out.

2016 Toyota Hilux all the details you need to know

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable hed fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 44 Australia, TopGear Australia, Mens Health, Mens Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.

Windscreen washer fluid warning light

Stay up to date with the latest posts, delivered weekly on Friday

Looking like someone balancing a ball on their stomach, this warning light being illuminated suggests theres a fault with one or more of your airbags, although like most warning lights it is normal for it to illuminate on startup. Take your car to your local mechanic for a check-up.

Why a 3500kg tow rating may not really be a 3500kg tow rating

Refreshed 2019 Ford Everest detailedmirrors Ranger update

Volkswagen Amarok TDI550 Ultimate Review

Bear in mind that when you turn your car on, all of the warning lights will usually momentarily light up as the car cycles its systems. If one of the dashboard warning lights stays illuminated once the others have extinguished, then its either alerting you to an issue, or it could just be a faulty sensor.

Looking like a foot on a 45-degree angle, this warning lights telling you you need to place your foot on the brake to either move the gear shifter (for an automatic) from P for Park to D for Drive, or that you need to have your foot on the brake to start the car.

Ford announces five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty

This ones fairly self-explanatory. If you see the seatbelt warning light flash up then it means that someone in the car isnt wearing their seatbelt. Most car seats have inbuilt pressure sensors to tell when someones sitting in the seat but that a seatbelt isnt being used, there are also sensors in the seatbelt receiver to tell when its engaged.

All cars have dashboard warning lights, but do you know what those lights are trying to tell you? We explain them here.

If the oil warning light flashes up onto your dashboard, then it could be one of three things. And that is that the oil temperature is too high, or that the oil level or pressure is too low. While the latter two are the worst case scenarios you dont want the temperature to get too high either. Oil keeps your cars engine lubricated and, so, if you see the oil warning light illuminate then stop your car and contact your local mechanic.

If the engine warning light illuminates, then its likely to be accompanied by a mechanical symptom. Either a sudden loss of power (which suggests the car has gone into limp mode to protect itself), or a stutter, or anything that suggests the engine is not behaving as normal. If the warning light stays on and there is a definite mechanical symptom then pull over the side of the road, as long as its safe, and then call for roadside assistance. Even if you dont have roadside assistance cover you can arrange for it over the telephone. You dont want to risk driving the car to your local mechanic as it could cause further and irreparable damage to the engine.

Watch This: Rocks Ruts Explained

2016 Ford Ranger Wildtrak Vs 2016 Toyota HiLux SR5

Leave a Reply