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Dashboard Warning Lights

The warning lights on your car dashboard serve to inform, alert and warn you. With so many different symbols, it can be hard to know what each one means and how you should act if it lights up.

Some symbols, usually in white, green or blue, are purely informative and will switch on to remind you that lights are on, indicators are in use or temperatures outside are low.

A symbol that lights up in red or orange, however, indicates that there may be a problem with your vehicle and if you do see this light, you should pull over somewhere safe as soon as possible and contact your local vehicle specialist.


Identifying Dashboard Warning Lights

When you switch your engine on, most of your dashboard warning lights will switch on but when you start driving they should all switch off. If any lights remain on when you start to drive or any switch on when you are driving, you should pull over when safely possible and contact your local Setyres branch.


Brakes

The exclamation mark in a circle indicates that there is a problem with your vehicle's braking system

The braking system is fundamentally your car’s safety system, so never ignore this sign which indicates that there is a problem with your brakes. If it switches on when driving, and your handbrake is not engaged, you must stop as soon as safely possible. This light could indicate any of the following:

  • Brake pads are worn and need replacing
  • Brake fluid needs to be replaced
  • Brake fluid is leaking
  • The brake system is not working properly

ABS

The letters ABS in a circle means there could be an issue with the ABS system and your brakes may be affected

Also associated with the brakes, the ABS light flags an issue with the anti-lock braking system. The ABS system stops you from losing traction when braking, and so helps you to retain control of your vehicle and avoid skidding, so you should have your vehicle inspected if you see this light appear. This light could mean:

  • Brake fluid is low in the ABS system reservoir
  • An electrical fault with the ABS system
  • A defective wheel speed sensor

Battery

If you have a problem with your vehicle battery a light portraying an outline of a battery will illuminate

Your car battery is the source of all energy in your car and the top cause of roadside breakdowns. If this light illuminates, you must pull over and stop as soon as possible, as it could indicate that your battery is struggling to provide enough power for your vehicle. If you are unable to safely pull over for some time, switch off all unnecessary electrical systems. The battery warning light may mean:

  • Problems with the alternator
  • A bad or damaged connection in your battery system
  • A broken alternator belt

Power Steering

Two symbols displaying a steering wheel and an exclamation mark indicate a problem with your power steering system

This light indicates a problem with your power steering and it may begin to fail. If your power steering fails at high speed it can be highly dangerous, as steering will become heavy and your vehicle may be difficult to control. If this sign switches on, reduce your speed when you safely can, and drive slowly and safely to a specialist. This light could indicate:

  • Power steering vehicle fluid levels are low
  • A fault in the power steering system

Engine

An image displaying the outline of an engine will switch on if you have an issue with the engine of your vehicle

The engine warning light indicates that there is a problem with one or more of the engine components. The reasons that an engine warning light has switched on can range from minor to vital, but regardless of what the problem is, continuing to drive could cause potentially irreparable and expensive engine damage. For this reason you must contact a specialist as soon as you see this light appear. Possible reasons for this light switching on are:

  • A faulty electrical sensor
  • High engine temperature
  • A blown bulb
  • More serious issues with the engine components

Engine Oil

An oil measuring jug diagram will flash up if there is an issue with your engine oil

If you see the engine coolant light appear on your dashboard your engine may be overheating. Pull over and allow the engine sufficient time to cool down. When your vehicle is cool you should check and top up your engine coolant – driving without a sufficient level of engine coolant could result in breaking down or even damage to your engine. If your coolant level already sits between the minimum and maximum markings or this light remains on once you have topped up this container, you need to contact a specialist. This light may mean:

  • Your engine coolant needs to be topped up
  • Engine coolant is leaking
  • A head gasket failure

Tyre Pressure

An exclamation mark inside the outline of a tyre illuminates if your tyre pressure starts to drop

Vehicles that are fitted with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System will receive this notification when tyre pressure has dropped below the manufacturer’s specification. This could indicate a general loss in pressure or more serious tyre damage, and so you should pull over when safe and check your tyres if you do see this sign. If there are no signs of damage, such as cuts, tears, lumps, bulges or punctures, simply inflate your tyres to your recommended pressure. This sign potentially indicates:

  • A loss of pressure in the tyre caused by general driving
  • A loss of pressure in the tyre due to tyre damage

If you notice any of these symbols switch on whilst driving, you should contact your local Setyres branch as soon as possible where one of our trained specialists will be able to offer guidance and advice.