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What are your dashboard warning lights trying to tell you?

Your car might not be able to speak, but it can tell you what’s wrong!
Your car might be feeling a bit under the weather this winter, so make sure that you keep an eye on your dashboard for warning lights. The symbols that pop up on your dash are often letting you know that your car has a fault, so it’s really important that you know what they mean.

Don’t worry, it’s totally normal
It’s absolutely normal for your warning lights to come on when you start your car. However, these should go off within a few seconds. If one or more of these symbols stays lit up on your dashboard, it usually means there’s a problem.

If in doubt, check the manual
Your car will come with an owner’s manual, which is usually kept in the car. Can’t find yours? It could be in the glove box. It’ll have lots of useful information about what your individual car’s warning lights might mean.

Main rules to follow If a light is green, it usually means something is in use – for example, when your headlights are on, the symbol will normally be green. If a light is yellow, it’s usually a warning that something isn’t working quite as it should. So, you should take it to get checked out at your local garage. If the light is red, it’s a serious problem that could be dangerous, it’s time to stop driving as soon as you can and call a mechanic.

Here are the main ones to look out for:

Engine management light

This light can mean that there’s a fault with your engine, so it’s always best to get this checked out as soon as possible – even if it doesn’t seem like anything is wrong.

Engine temperature warning light

This symbol could be letting you know that your engine is overheating – this could be due to not having enough engine coolant, or a more serious problem. So, if you see this symbol, make sure to stop driving and give your mechanic a call straight away.

Engine oil warning light

This handy light tells you when there’s a problem with your oil pressure. It normally just means that you need to top up your oil, but if you do this and the light stays on, you need to get it checked out straight away. Having too little oil can really damage your engine and cost you a lot more in the long run, so keep your eyes peeled for this warning light.

Battery warning light

This light could mean that your battery isn’t charging properly, or that there’s a fault with your car’s electrical system. You should take it to your local garage as soon as you can, and they’ll run some diagnostics to check where the problem is. But make sure you get it looked at, as a flat battery means that nothing in your car will work!

Airbag warning light

This light means that your airbag system isn’t working as it should. You need to take your car to a garage as soon as you can, as this could mean that your airbags may not go off if in a crash – better to be safe than sorry, give your mechanic a call.

ABS warning light

If this light comes on, it means that your anti-lock braking system isn’t working properly. Your normal unassisted braking will still work, but it’s best to take extra care when driving with this light on. You should take it to et looked at as soon as you can, but it’s usually safe to complete your journey.

If this light comes on with the brake warning light, this could mean there’s a serious fault with your braking system and you should stop right away.

Low tyre pressure warning light

This helpful little light lets you know if you’re tyres need some more air! If you see this one, pop to your nearest petrol station to use their air machines (make sure you’ve got some change with you!) If you’re not sure what your tyre pressure should be, just check your manual.

Brake warning light

This light could just mean that you’ve left your handbrake on when pulling away, and making sure it’s all the way off will usually get rid of this light. However, if this comes on while you’re driving it could mean there’s a dangerous fault with your braking system, and you should stop right away. It could be as simple as running low on brake fluid, or a faulty sensor – but you should get it looked at immediately, to be on the safe side.

Thinking about getting telematics insurance? Why not get a quote today to find out how much you could save with our black box insurance?

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Posted on November 24, 2020
Category Car Ownership