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Improved Drivability | Good Fuel Saving

What does the warning light on your dash mean?

Car dashboards relay important pieces of information to the driver. Utilising a vast range of sensors and sophisticated on-board equipment, your vehicle is able to self-diagnose a wide range of issues relating to its condition and performance. 

It is therefore vital that you take the time to understand the warning signs on your car’s dashboard – the last thing you want to see is the glow of an unrecognisable warning light! 

With on-going advancements in vehicle technology, it’s not uncommon for a car to have over 30 different warning lights on the dashboard, each pointing to a different area of the vehicle’s health. A Mercedes-Benz E Class has the most symbols with 41 compared to a Nissan Micra which only has 21. 

Understanding what each of the lights relates to can be a struggle for even the most competent driver, so it’s no surprise that a recent survey from Britannia Rescue shows that 98% of drivers were unable to identify all of their warning lights. The survey also found that nine out of ten drivers failed to recognise the sign for a faulty catalytic converter and that tyre pressure, engine emission and fog light indicators were most confusing.  

Whilst a yellow warning light indicates that you should proceed with caution, a red warning light indicates an immediate danger and should be assessed immediately. Symptoms that usually cause a red light include the engine overheating, low oil pressure, the transmission overheating, low battery voltage and brake failure. 

The onboard computer resets and re-tests all sensors and indicators each time the car is started. Although the system should be capable of correcting some minor abnormalities, if the light continues to come on after multiple car start attempts, it means that the problem should be addressed by a professional mechanic.