Dashboard Lights and what they Mean

What’s the first thing you see when you get into your car? The dashboard HUD (Head-up display) is a critical interface that provides us with important information, such as speed, revs per minute, engine temperature, and fuel levels. Newer models also tell us the outside temperature, which gear is engaged, and even the radio station you’re tuned into. But every so often, one of these little icons light up that we don’t easily recognise.

These on-dash icons are almost always linked to your vehicle’s warning light information system. There are many and they can seem confusing at times, especially when you don’t know what they mean. Don’t worry though – your car won’t suddenly stop running when a light starts flashing en-route to work. Their purpose is to warn us, rather than to cause panic and alarm.

Let us take a look at some of these more common indicators and what they mean:



Engine Light

Quite possibly the most important, this light tells us that your car’s computer has run a diagnostic and found some trouble. Take your car to a service professional to have it checked.


Oil Pressure Warning

This important indicator means that you’re out of oil or have lost oil pressure. Head to the nearest petrol station for an oil top-up. If it persists, check for leaks under your car, which indicates a serious problem and needs to be booked in for a repair.


Engine Temperature Warning

This light means that your car is getting a little too warm. Try taking it easy on the accelerator, stop riding the clutch, check your water levels, or make sure you have enough coolant in your car. This could also mean things are chilly under the bonnet. Tip: In winter, drive off slower in the morning for a few minutes before to let the engine warm-up properly. 


Brake System Warning

You either still have the handbrake engaged or your brake fluid is running low. You may also have an ABS problem. Release the handbrake fully, top up your brake fluid or, if the problem still shows, head over to a service professional.


Battery Warning Light

This means that the power voltage level of your car battery is not where it should be. Take a peek at the power terminal, check that it’s clean and all connections are secure and well fitted. If the light remains, visit a battery specialist to have the unit tested.

There is a myriad of other warning indicators on your dash HUD, some indicating minor problems such as an empty windscreen washer fluid reservoir and others, indicating more serious issues that need to be investigated immediately.

Always take action when you see these dashboard light indicators. They’re your little helpers – a way for your car to tell you that it needs a little TLC.

When you buy a car from Auto Pedigree, your car sets off on the right foot with a 116-point check. From the instruments and lighting to engine transmission and braking, your vehicle is inspected to ensure complete driving peace of mind.