Warning Lights

Understanding your car's warning lights

Modern cars are fitted with a host of warning lights that pop up on the dashboard when a component of your car seems worn, damaged or low on fluid. Your owner's manual should explain the meaning of all your warning lights, and it is important not to ignore them if they do appear. Catching potential faults early will ensure your safety on the road and help you avoid expensive repair bills.

We highlight a few of the most important warning lights below.

Brake System
If this flashes, you could be low on brake fluid or your brake pads could be worn. Book your car in for brake maintenance urgently. You can find out more about brake maintenance here.
Engine Warning Typical symptoms causing this sign to light up include lack of power, misfiring, faulty electrical sensors or a larger mechanical issue. Don't make any unnecessary trips or you could cause irreparable damage – book into an approved service centre immediately.
Airbag Warning This lets you know that something is preventing your airbags from deploying properly. They could go off unexpectedly or fail to activate in a genuine accident.
Power Steering If you notice the steering has become heavy and this sign is illuminated, you could encounter major difficulties manoeuvring at speed or making sudden changes. Abstain from driving until a qualified technician has inspected the vehicle.
Coolant Warning If your coolant levels are running low, your engine could overheat and break down on the road. Check your temperature gauge – if it's in the red, you'll need to see a technician. If the temperature looks OK, check the coolant levels and top them up accordingly.
Oil Warning Like the coolant warning, this light flashes if the oil temperature gets too hot or if the levels are running low. Engine oil is crucial for lubricating the powertrain, so check the levels immediately and seek further assistance if you can't find the source of the problem.
Tyre Pressure Monitor Many cars are now fitted with tyre pressure monitors which flash if your tyres are below their optimal pressure. Keeping them topped up to their recommended level will help you preserve fuel and achieve the best possible performance from your vehicle.
Battery Charge Warning This light typically pops up as soon as you turn the ignition, but it should disappear after a few seconds. If it sticks around, there could be a problem with your car's electrical system. Potential causes include a faulty alternator, faulty battery, damaged cable or bad connection in the engine bay. Report your concerns with an approved service centre as soon as possible.

Our technicians are on hand to explain warning lights and provide answers to all your dashboard warning queries. Please contact your nearest Charles Hurst service centre today.