What Do Your Dashboard Warning Lights Mean?

14th September 2016

Dashboard warning lights can appear for many reasons, read our helpful advice on what to do if one of your dashboard lights illuminates.


The blue coloured symbols on your dashboard (which may also appear in either white or green) indicate that certain exterior lights are on. This is informational and enables you to see if you are using the right light for the correct weather conditions, like the fog light (6), and it can serve as a reminder that you have got your full beam on (7).

In addition, the right and left arrow (8) will tell you that your indicator is on and which way you are signaling.


The green coloured symbols (which could be blue or white on your dashboard) provide useful information about your vehicle or the conditions that you are driving in. For example, the snowflake (2) symbolises that the temperature outside is close to freezing, so you should be aware that there may be ice on the roads.

The low windshield washer fluid symbol on the dashboard (1) means that you need to fill your screen wash. This symbol is usually printed on the cover of the screen wash reservoir under your bonnet to enable you to find it easily.


Some lights serve as warnings, and this is usually in relation to your vehicle. If these lights switch on, you should always seek expert advice to prevent it from developing in to something more serious.

The engine warning light (9) may seem daunting but it must not be ignored under any circumstances. Often, the case for this light appearing is a faulty sensor or other minor issues but continuing to drive, whatever the cause, could result in irreparable engine damage. You must consult a specialist for a full engine check if this warning light does appear.

Your tyre pressure warning light (5) may appear in orange or red, and this signifies that one or more of your tyres have lost pressure. This sensor will appear if your tyre simply needs inflating or if you have suffered a puncture or blow out, which may be extremely dangerous if you are driving at high speed on a busy road. You should pull over as soon as safely possible to check the condition of your tyres.

The power steering symbol (3) may also illuminate in orange, or red, and signifies a problem with your power steering. This could be dangerous if you are travelling at high speed and if so, you must come to a stop gradually to prevent skidding. If your power steering fails, you will still be able to steer your car but the steering system could become heavy and difficult to manoeuvre. For this reason, you should stick to low speeds whilst driving and visit a specialist as soon as possible.

Urgent Warnings

Warning lights that appear in red and in some cars, orange, are urgent and must be taken seriously if they illuminate. These are the most important symbols that you need to be looking out for:

Brakes - the brake warning light (4) could be a potential danger as your brakes keep you safe on the road. Although this could symbolise something easy and inexpensive to remedy, such as your brake pads needing to be replaced, it could also mean something more complex. Either way, continuing to drive on ineffective brakes is highly dangerous, so contact a specialist as soon as you see this sign.

Battery - the battery warning light (10) indicates that there may be a problem with your battery alternator or a damaged connection. Whilst car batteries can run off a stored charge for a short distance, you must pull over and contact a specialist if you see this sign as you may find yourself grinding to a halt whilst on the road.

Oil - Engine oil (12) works as a lubricant for all the mechanical components of your engine so if there is a problem with it, it could result in engine failure whilst driving or even expensive damage to parts of your engine. You must stop driving immediately and visit a specialist if you see this sign, but it is not a major cause for worry as it will often mean that your engine oil needs to be topped up or changed.

Airbag - Many people ignore the airbag warning light (13), as they are rarely used, however, you cannot risk driving when they may be impaired! A faulty airbag may not deploy in a crash when required or it may go off whilst driving, both of these situations are fraught with potential dangers!

Coolant Temperature - This symbol (11) indicates that the engine has exceeded its normal temperature. If you see this sign, you should stop driving as soon as safely possible, wait for your engine to cool down and check your engine coolant. If your coolant is not low, or the light remains on after topping up, you should make an appointment with a specialist immediately as there may be a serious problem with your vehicle.

If you notice any of these dashboard warning lights when driving contact The Tyre Group as soon as possible and one of our specialists will be able to offer further advice.

Alternatively, if you notice a warning light appear that is not listed here or you require further information, do not hesitate to contact one of our trained specialists who will be happy to offer guidance.

Buy tyres online with The Tyre Group for fitment at one of our branches in the Midlands, South West England, South Wales and Scotland Contact The Tyre Group incorporating Malvern Tyres, Discount Tyres, County Tyre, King David Tyres Ltd and AutoTyre & Battery Co. We have more than 50 branches located throughout the Midlands, South West England, South Wales and Scotland