Dashboard Warning Lights Explained


Your dashboard is filled with helpful icons, ready to let you know as soon as an issue with your vehicle arises. It can be worrying when a new warning light pops up on your dashboard, especially if it’s one you’re not familiar with, but our guide can help you get to the bottom of the problem quickly.


Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)

This light indicates an issue with your anti-lock braking system, which prevents wheel-lock from sudden deceleration. A problem with ABS can be extremely dangerous and needs to be addressed immediately.

ABS System

Brake Pad Monitor

This light indicates fatal wear to your brake pads. You’ll need to replace your brake pads quickly after this light appears, or your braking could be seriously impaired.

Brake Pad Monitor

Brake System/Brake Fluid

If this light glows red, your car has detected an issue with the braking system. This light can also indicate your handbrake is still on, but if it’s fully released, it could suggest a more serious issue with your braking.

Brake System


Engine Cooling System

This warning light means your engine is beginning to overheat, often due to broken fans or coolant issues. Turn your engine off immediately, then seek further assistance.

Coolant Warning

Engine Management

If your dashboard displays a red engine management light, your car has detected a serious issue involving your engine. Turn it off and have your car looked at by a qualified mechanic.


Engine Oil

The red engine oil light often indicates an issue with oil pressure or supply. Check your oil level and adjust if necessary, or call a mechanic for further diagnosis.



Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF)

Usually seen on larger vehicles, the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) light means it’s time to change the fluid. You won’t need to pull over immediately, but you should change this as soon as you can – as it reduces emissions.

DEF Light

Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

If it’s time to clean the diesel particulate filter (DPF) in your diesel model, it’s likely you’ll see this warning light. Usually driving at higher speeds for ten minutes or more will do the trick, but visit a garage if the issue persists.


Fuel Level

If you see this little yellow warning light, get to a petrol station as soon as you can. You’re running dangerously low on fuel, and your car could break down if you don’t fill up soon.


Glow Plug

If your glow plug warning light stays solid, your car could be telling you the plugs are warming up – simply wait until the light goes out to start your car. If this issue persists, or the warning light is flashing, there’s a bigger issue you’ll need to repair immediately.

Glow Plug

Petrol Cap Open

If you see this light, you haven’t screwed your fuel cap on properly. Pull over as soon as you can to secure the cap, otherwise you run the risk of a fuel leak.

Petrol Cap


Change Oil

If you see this on your dashboard, it’s time to change your engine oil. You can do this yourself at home, or you can consult a mechanic if you’re unsure.

Oil Change

Service Vehicle

This light indicates that it’s time for a scheduled service, or your car has detected another maintenance fault. Take your car to see a professional mechanic as soon as you can.

Service Vehicle

Washer Fluid Level

This light indicates your windscreen wash is running low. It’s a legal requirement to keep your washer fluid topped up at all times, so add more as soon as you can.

Washer Fluid


Broken Bulb

This light means one of your bulbs is faulty. You should find and replace the faulty bulb as soon as you can – driving with faulty headlights, brake lights or indicators can lead to hefty fines.

Lamp Out

Fog Lights

This light confirms that your fog light is currently on. If you didn’t mean to turn it on, or visibility has now improved, don’t forget to turn it off – this light can dazzle other drivers.

Fog Lamp

Safety Features

Doors Ajar

This light indicates that one of your doors isn’t closed correctly. Make sure to pull over and ensure all of your doors are shut securely before setting off again.

Door Ajar

Cruise Control

If you’ve activated your cruise control feature, you should see this light pop up on your dashboard. Usually, orange means you’ve yet to select your speed, and green shows your speed has been set successfully.

Cruise Control

Security Warning Light

This light suggests a fault with your car’s security system. Issues with anti-theft features leave your car vulnerable – get your car checked out as soon as you can.

Security Light


This light means a passenger doesn’t have their seatbelt on. If this light is showing while no passengers are onboard, there could be an issue with your sensors.



A red airbag light suggests a problem with any of your airbags. As a crucial safety feature, you’ll need to get your airbags repaired immediately.



Battery Charge

You’ll see this light if there’s a problem with your car’s electrical system – often your battery. You may need to jumpstart your car, and you’ll need to have it checked out if issues persist.


Electronic Throttle Control

This light indicates an issue with your accelerator. You’ll need to pull over if you’re driving, and call a professional mechanic for further assistance.

Electronic Throttle Control

Rear Windscreen Heater

This light shows that your rear windscreen is demisting. If you haven’t turned your demister on, or the light is flashing, this light could suggest a problem with the heater.

Rear Window Heating

Reduced Power

You’ll see this light if your car has detected a serious issue, and it has reduced engine power to prevent damage as a result. Also known as “limp mode”, you’ll need to have your car assessed immediately if this light comes on.

Reduced Power



This light suggests overdrive is off, but a blinking overdrive dashboard light indicates a problem with your transmission.

Overide Light

Transmission Failure

You’ll see this light if the transmission in your automatic car has failed. You should have your car checked as soon as possible – continued driving can cause further damage.



Traction Control

You should see this light on your dashboard when driving in slippery conditions. It indicates that traction control has been activated to assist with challenging steering.

Traction Control

Traction Control Malfunction

This light means a problem with your traction control system has been detected. This system is essential when driving in poor weather, so make this a priority before the colder months.

Traction Control Malfunction

Tyre Pressure Sensor

If you see this light on your dashboard, you should measure your tyre pressure immediately. Adjust the pressure accordingly as soon as you can, or visit a garage if pressure readings are incorrect.

Tyre Pressure

Power Steering System

This light means an issue with your power steering system has been detected. Try turning your engine off and back on again, and if the issue persists, visit a garage immediately.

Power Steering

Dashboard warning lights are designed to keep you safe and prevent further damage to your vehicle. No matter how minor, you should never ignore a dashboard warning light. You can find a wide range of car parts and products available at excellent prices at Euro Car Parts to minimise repair and maintenance costs. For more motoring advice, take a look at our other blogs.