Dashboard warning lights explained

Vehicle warning lights could be alerting you to a serious problem and if you ignore these signs, you could cause excessive damage to your vehicle. These warning lights are usually an indication that you need some vehicle maintenance or a car service.

“Some warning lights are more serious than others, and the colour of the light usually signifies how urgent the problem is,” explains Barend Smit, Marketing Director of MotorHappy, a supplier of motor management solutions and car insurance options.

Not surprisingly, red warning signs are often the most serious and should be dealt with almost immediately, as this can indicate a safety issue or serious mechanical problem. The yellow warning signs usually indicate that a car service or vehicle maintenance is needed. However, if a yellow warning light flashes, it should be attended to immediately. Lastly green and blue dashboard lights usually simply let the driver know that a system is active and working.

Some symbols on your car’s dashboard are more obvious than others. MotorHappy explains the meaning behind the most common warning lights. Smit reminds readers that it’s important to consult your owner’s manual for an explanation, too.

Red warning lights: Serious and should be looked at asap

  • Check engine light: This light warns of any engine-related issues and can include something as small as a loose cap or something more important like a misfire.
  • Temperature warning light: Usually looks like a thermometer with wavy lines underneath it. This light is a serious warning, as it indicates your engine is overheating and there could be a cooling problem.
  • Oil warning light: This indicates low oil pressure, which means there is not enough oil in your engine to lubricate all moving parts. Generally, if this light comes on you should turn your engine off to prevent damage from occurring.
  • Brake warning light: The brake warning light could easily be one of the most important warning lights that should be looked at right away, as it indicates something is wrong with your brakes or braking system, and could cause you to have trouble stopping your vehicle.

Battery charging light: This light indicates something is wrong with your charging system and your battery could be in critically low condition. It’s important to get your battery checked.

Orange warning lights: Car maintenance

Green and blue lights: Not problematic

“The best way to avoid problems with your vehicle is to ensure your car services and vehicle maintenance are up to date. With MotorHappy, it’s easy to budget for your car care, thanks to our comprehensive Service Plan and Maintenance Plan offerings,” concludes Smit.