Text size


10 Most Common Car Warning Lights and What They Mean

10 Most Common Car Warning Lights and What They Mean


Car warning lights are important in telling us all sorts of things about out car; but what do they mean?

Car Warning Lights

There's more to car warning lights than first meets the eye; what does it mean if the light is red, amber or green? And, with some it's just hard to work out what they mean. We look at the 10 most common warning lights and what they mean.

Remember the lights have different colours for a reason:

RED warning lights mean: Warning you need to take action now.

AMBER warning lights mean: Advice, you will need to take action soon.

GREEN warning lights mean: For your informtion, nothing to worry about.

10 Most common car warning lights and what they mean

1. Battery Light

Car warning light battery warning

When you first turn on the engine this warning light will be lit, however if this light stays on, or your car refuses to start, then you have an issue. It may be with the battery or with the charging system including the alternator or associated wiring.

2. Airbag and Seat Belt warning

Airbag warning light

This is main warning that your airbags or seat belts are not functioning properly. There could be something in your seatbelt mechanism fouling it up and giving rise to this light or there could be something wrong meaning your airbags will not deploy in the event of an accident. You need to have this warning light checked out as soon as possible as it may mean that you and your passengers are not being protected as you should be.

3. Hand Brake warning

Hand brake warning light

If you forget to release your hand brake before moving off then this warning light will remind you that there's something vital that you've forgotten to do! It will also remain lit if your hand brake has stuck on despite you releasing it.

4. Diesel Particulate Filter - DPF - warning 

 Diesel particulate filter warning light

Do not ignore this warning light. it's alerting your to the fact that the car;'s DPF filter is becoming blocked with sooty residue. You need to attend to this swiftly to prevent damage to your DPF as a new one is very costly indeed.

5. Washer Fluid warning 

washer fluid warning

Your windscreen washer fluid bottle needs to be topped up. This may not seem crucial but try driving with a dirty windscreen in Winter, when the sun is low in the sky and you'll wish you'd topped up your washer fluid when the warning light reminded you to!

6. Engine Oil Level warning

oil warning light

If this light comes on it means that your engine oil level is low, which could mean your engine has an oil leak or that you are overdue an oil change and top up. Either way don't ignore this or you could end up with a very expensive problem indeed.

7. Automatic Gearbox warning

automatic gearbox warning light

This light tells you something is wrong with your automatic transmission, ignore it at your peril. It could mean a number of things have gone wrong such as, fluid level, fluid temperature of the pressure inside the transmission system. Don't delay, get this checked out as relacing an automatic transmission is very expensive and early intervention may mean the fault can be repaired.

8. Coolant Level warning

coolant level warning light

Get low on coolant and you run the risk of your car engine quite literally welding itself together. If this light appears check your engine coolant level as soon as you're able; it could be a sign that your engine is overheating and there's a leak in your coolant system. Get this checked out swiftly.

9. Tyre Pressure warning

Tyre pressure warning

This is a light which lets you know the monitoring system has detected a drop in the air pressure in one or more of the tyres. It could sugnify a puncture or it could be that cold weather and a drop im temperature means that your tyres need a little more air in them. Check our your tyres to see what's going on.

10.Anti-lock Brake System warning

ABS warning light

Your car's anti-lock braking system prevents your car's brakes from locking up and causing a skid when you press on the brake pedal. You don't want to find yourself in a skid and anything to do with braking should be looked at with urgency.

Find out what your warning light means