Indicator and warning lights in the car

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warning and indicator lights in the car: overview, meaning& search for a garage

After getting into a car, the driver will find a whole series of instruments and warning lights in modern automobiles. These warning lights are intended to warn of danger and indicate malfunctions. The attention of the car warning lights and the car control lights can prevent expensive consequential damage to the vehicle in the case of errors or defects as well as in the extreme case a breakdown of the vehicle. Especially the red indicator and warning lights should be taken seriously.

In modern vehicles, a tribute to complex technology and electronics, there are also many warning lights, which potentially also leads to a higher risk of error indications. Absolute certainty can ultimately only bring the readout of the fault memory in a motor vehicle workshop. The analysis of the fault memory allows a comprehensive diagnosis and then a professional repair. So do not hesitate to ask for professional assistance.

on the fairgarage page you will find an overview of the most important warning lights in the car, their meaning and what to do when the light comes on. At the same time, you can find garages in your area for expert diagnosis and repair, and conveniently make an appointment online via fairgarage.

What do the colors of the indicator lights in the car mean??

Depending on the type and urgency of the message or warning. information the indicator and warning lights in the car have different colors, each color of the indicator lights having its own meaning. The individual warning lights in the car serve to inform you about processes and conditions while driving. They also warn of defects and protect your car and passengers from possible damage or accidents. In addition, the type of illumination (steady/flashing) can also provide further information or a warning. Issue warnings. When a car symbol lights up, action should be taken.

Yellow indicator lights in the car

The orange or yellow indicator lights indicate individual functions, problems, defects and malfunctions. If an orange or yellow warning light appears while you are driving, it is advisable to find the cause as soon as possible and, if necessary, drive to your local workshop.

Red warning light in the car

Red indicator lights mean danger. Whoever sees such a light on should attach great importance to it and, for safety reasons, stop as soon as possible to investigate the problem. in addition, the vehicle should be checked in a garage if the indicator light is red. Driving on is then only possible if the light is only sporadic or flashing. Flashing lights.

Green indicator lights in the car

Indicator lights with a green tint show that a certain function is currently in operation on the vehicle. Most car drivers are familiar with this from the blinker.

White indicator lights in the car

If a white symbol is illuminated in the car, it is not an indicator or warning light in the true sense of the word. White lights are more of an indicator light. They inform the driver about the current status, give him recommendations and show hints.

Blue indicator lights in the car

The blue indicator light appears only once in the instrument panel. This light informs that the high beam of the car is currently on. At the same time, it reminds you to turn off your high beams in case of oncoming traffic.

A detailed overview of all control and warning lights of the car can be found – along with an explanation – in the owner’s manual of the vehicle. In a list it is explained what is behind it, if one of the small lights flashes or is permanently on.

What do the indicator lights in the car mean??

Red check engine light is on - engine check is necessary

But it’s not just the colors of the indicator lights that convey information and warnings. Above all, the individual symbols of the lights provide information about the system, the cause of the malfunction or the source of the information. Especially with new cars, drivers have to spend some time with the displays until they have an overview of the engine control light, exhaust gas warning light, oil light or the warning lights for brake light, handbrake and exhaust gas control system.

The symbols of the warning lights are relatively the same for all car manufacturers, or at least very similar in appearance and meaning, because this is a legal requirement. in order to increase attention and provide additional clarity for drivers, modern vehicles often use a sound signal and a text message with behavioral rules – in addition to the illumination of a warning light – in the event of driving or serious malfunctions.

Overview of all the most important check engine lights in the car

The control and warning lights in the car can be very different – their meaning, however, is not. We have summarized the most important warning and indicator lights, symbols and explanations.

List of the most important warning lights in the car:

Oil warning light is on continuously

The red oil warning light with the small oil can

Meaning : the luminous light with the small red oil can, without jagged line resp. Without the indication "MIN" means that the oil pressure in your car is too low and there is not enough oil to lubricate the bearings and pistons. The possible causes can be, among other things, a leaking pipe, a defective oil pump or too low oil level. In the worst case, the problem can lead to engine damage.

What to do: if the symbol lights up, it is strongly recommended to stop the vehicle, turn it off and check the engine oil level. if the lamp lights up even if there is enough engine oil in the engine, the car should be towed to the workshop. To avoid possible engine damage, the vehicle should be checked and repaired at your trusted repair shop.

Warning light "oil level low" lights up

The yellow glowing oil level light with a small oil can and with a jagged line

Meaning: the yellow glowing oil level light with small oil can if necessary. Also with jagged line and with the indication "MIN" means the lack of oil. However, if the oil level light does not light up yellow but flashes, this is an indication of a malfunction in the engine oil system.

What to do: it is recommended to stop the vehicle. If possible, check the oil level. If the oil level is low, top up the oil and watch the indicator. You can also check that there are no oil stains under the car. If the warning light does not subsequently go out or. If there is an oil spot, you should go to a garage and have the vehicle inspected.

Engine light on (red)

The red engine light with the thermometer symbol

Meaning the red engine light with the thermometer means that the coolant temperature is too high and the engine may overheat. The possible reasons for this are that the engine is either overloaded or that there is a lack of cooling water.

What to do: if the red light is on, you should stop immediately, switch off the engine and allow it to cool down. then top up the coolant and check if the engine light goes out. If not, then it is necessary to tow the vehicle to the workshop for an engine check.

Engine control light or. Exhaust gas control system (yellow)

The red engine control light or emission control system light with the engine block

Meaning : the yellow indicator light with the engine block, if necessary. With indication "CHECK": indicates the problems with the engine control system. The causes can be very different and can even lead to engine damage: from the mass air flow sensor, lambda sensor, exhaust gas recirculation and catalytic converter to the ignition system.

What to do: the yellow engine or battery. Exhaust gas control light, the car must be taken to the workshop for an engine check as soon as possible.

Blue engine light flashes

The flashing blue engine light with the thermometer symbol

Meaning the flashing blue engine light with the thermometer means that the coolant temperature is still low.

What to do: you should avoid high engine speeds and a heavy load on the engine until the indicator goes out. This should be the case after a few meters/kilometers. finally, the light indicates that the engine is still to be preserved.

battery warning light is on

A red battery warning light with a battery symbol

Meaning : the red battery symbol indicates a fault in the car’s charging circuit. If the battery warning light comes on, your vehicle may not be able to start next time. This can be caused by problems with the battery condition, the voltage regulator, the alternator or a broken V-belt.

What to do: if possible, drive directly to a workshop in the vicinity to have it checked. If the car is stopped, it is possible that it will not start. If the car does not start, you can check the battery and the fan belt, if necessary. Charge the battery and visit a repair shop for further troubleshooting and repair. If your car is equipped with an electric power steering system, it is best to call a roadside assistance service.

Brake indicator light is on

The red brake control light - the exclamation mark in the circle

Meaning if the red brake indicator light – the exclamation mark in the circle – is illuminated together with a warning tone, the handbrake/parking brake is still applied. Without the warning tone, the brake light then signals when a car has too little brake fluid or the brake pads are already completely worn out. Then a brake failure is imminent.

What to do: you should stop and, as far as possible, make a visual check of the brakes, fluids and pipes. It is advisable not to drive to the workshop yourself, but to call the roadside assistance service.

Brake pad wear" warning light is on

The yellow warning light

Meaning the yellow brake pad symbol indicates that the brake pads of your car have reached the wear limit. but there is no acute danger.

What to do: If the brake pad wear symbol is illuminated, you should go to the workshop at the next opportunity and have the brake pads replaced.

Electromechanical steering symbol lights up

The red electromechanical steering symbol with steering wheel in a circle and exclamation mark

Meaning : the red circle with steering wheel or exclamation mark indicates malfunction of the electric power steering (EPS) system. If the light is yellow, it is still possible to continue driving, but the steering is more sluggish or reacts more sensitively than usual. If the light is red, the steering is certainly defective and the steering assistance may have failed.

What to do in this case: if the symbol is yellow, you should drive the car to the garage immediately and very carefully. When the EPS light is red, the vehicle must be stopped immediately and towed to a workshop.

Transmission indicator lamp lights up

A red transmission indicator light with a red circle and an exclamation mark

Meaning: a red circle, if necessary. With exclamation mark, indicates a problem or malfunction of the or. In the transmission (especially with automatic transmissions) to.

What to do: when the transmission indicator light is on, the driver can do almost nothing himself. For a precise diagnosis of the transmission fault, the vehicle should be towed to a workshop. If the vehicle is driven further, there is a risk of further damage to the transmission.

Diesel particulate filter indicator lamp lights up

The yellow diesel particulate filter light

Meaning if the yellow diesel particulate filter light is on, there is a fault in the particulate filter system. Then the filter can be exhausted or self-cleaning is not possible.

What to do: the exact cause should be clarified in the workshop. The diesel particulate filter may need to be replaced.

Tire pressure control lamp lights up

The yellow tire pressure control light with the tire cross section and exclamation mark

Meaning : if the yellow tire cross section with exclamation mark is illuminated, the sensors measure a too low tire inflation pressure. If the warning light flashes after a wheel or tire failure, check the tire pressure. Tire change, it can also be a false alarm, because the system does not yet know the new values.

What to do: adjust the tire pressure at the next opportunity, for example at the gas station, according to the manufacturer’s specifications. The correct tire pressure values for your vehicle can be found on the B-pillar on the driver’s side with the door open, in the fuel tank cap or in the manual. In most cases a reset is necessary and the control lamp goes out.

Warning light ABS on

The yellow ABS indicator light

Meaning If the yellow circle with the three letters "ABS" and lateral lines is lit, there is a problem with the anti-lock braking system. In many cars, the ABS light switches on and then stays on permanently as long as the problem is not corrected. Depending on the vehicle manufacturer, flashing intervals are also possible. The causes are very different due to the complexity of the ABS.

What to do: a visit to the workshop is unavoidable here, because the problem can be relevant to safety. However, the journey there should be made carefully and with sufficient safety distance. The fault memory is read out to diagnose the problem.

Airbag control lamp lights up

The red airbag warning light with yellow person symbol with belt

Meaning if the yellow person symbol with seat belt or airbag lettering is illuminated, there is a problem with the safety system, but it is rarely a fault. The cause can be a dead battery, a contact problem or a deactivated passenger airbag z.B. Be because of the child seat.

What to do: there is initially no acute danger. However, you should have the fault memory read out and the problem checked at a workshop.

Adblue® lights up

The AdBlue® light with refill container

Meaning : if the adblue® light with refill container (if necessary. Also together with a message "empty", "refill" or "refill – still …km"), the level of the diesel additive adblue® is too low. On some vehicles, the yellow or white warning is displayed in good time so that it is still possible to top up conveniently. If the car runs out of adblue®, the red light will come on and the diesel engine will no longer start.

The illuminated symbol together with the wrench means that the SCR system has malfunctioned or is filled with inappropriate Adblue®. If the combination of the two symbols lights up red, it is no longer possible to restart the engine.

What to do: top up with adblue® and check the level regularly; if this happens again, contact a workshop. If the white adblue® lamp lights up in combination with a remaining range, the diesel additive must be topped up within the indicated remaining range.

If the yellow or white symbol is illuminated together with the wrench, a specialist workshop should be visited immediately and the SCR system should be checked. If the combination of the two symbols is red, do not switch off the engine and drive directly to a workshop.

EPC light is on

The three yellow letters 'EPC

Meaning the three yellow letters “EPC” mean “electronic power control” and they are only found in cars with electronic accelerator pedal and point to the problems with the engine control system. Triggers could be, among other things, the sensor (gas pedal, intake manifold) or settings on the throttle valve.

What to do: here, too, the causes can vary, so a specialist at the workshop must read out the car’s fault memory to be able to assess the fault.

Preheating control light is on

The preheating control with the yellow spiral

Meaning the yellow spiral is only present on diesel engines and means the pre-glow. This light is normal when the engine is started from cold and shortly thereafter. A flashing light, however, indicates an engine malfunction, which can have many causes.

What to do: if the preheating control lamp is flashing, a detailed diagnosis at the automotive workshop is essential.

TCS, ASR and DTC indicator light

The traction control system (TCS) warning light

Meaning The abbreviations ASR, DTC and TCS all refer to the same function, namely traction control (ASR). At saab and mazda, it is called TCS (traction control system), and BMW has given it the name DTC (dynamic traction control). This system intervenes when the wheels spin (for example, due to slippery or wet conditions or when accelerating) and no longer have any grip. Occasionally this warning light flashes when the road surface is slippery. This is a warning to the driver that the system has had to intervene.

What to do: it is often enough to adjust the driving style accordingly. However, if the light is permanently visible while driving, it must be examined in detail in a workshop.

ESP lights up

The ESP light with yellow circle with ESP writing

Meaning : the yellow lamp with car symbol and jagged lane or yellow circle with ESP lettering does not appear in normal driving operation. In extreme situations (fast cornering), the stabilization can sometimes switch on, which is indicated by a flashing ESP light. If normal driving is resumed, the ESP light will also go out. A permanently lit indicator means that there is no ESP available. In some vehicles, the ESP can also be switched off. Then the lamp also lights up.

What to do: the ESP must be activated (by restarting the engine or by means of the ESP switch). If this is unsuccessful, you will have to visit the workshop.

WFS warning light is on

The red WFS light with yellow car symbol with key

Meaning : if there is a yellow car symbol, possibly with key, there are difficulties with the immobilizer. The signal of the immobilizer (WFS) or the code to unlock it could be missing.

What to do: it is recommended to repeat the starting procedure again. In most cases, there is also a specific position in the car to which the key is to be held in this case. The problem can also be due to overlapping signals or simply an empty key battery.

only if the car does not start even then, only a tow truck will help to bring the car with the key to the expert. Only in the workshop the problem can be found and – if necessary with a recoding of the keys – be eliminated.

on fairgarage you will find independent and contract workshops in your area for the professional diagnosis and repair of all problems that arise from the lighting up of warning lights. You can conveniently make a suitable appointment with your desired workshop online here.


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