How to know: what the warning lights in the car mean

Every year, thousands of car owners visit garages across the country because they haven’t noticed that one of the warning lights on the dashboard is on. It doesn’t have to be something bad when a warning light comes on, but it can be serious if you ignore the warning and just keep driving.

A vehicle is equipped with many different warning lights, all of which indicate that something is wrong with the vehicle. Some warning lights can illuminate yellow/orange as well as red.

When a warning light yellow or orange if the light is on, it indicates that you should check for a possible fault and stop the vehicle. check the fault and make sure that your vehicle is taken to the workshop in the foreseeable future.

However, if the warning light red if the light comes on, you should stop immediately and take corrective action.

pay attention to the warnings of your vehicle

Sentences such as "all the red lights came on" or "he overlooked all the warning lights" are not very helpful when it comes to your vehicle.

When a warning light comes on, it may of course be a fault that is easy to fix, but who wants to take the risk and just keep driving when there may be something wrong with the car?.

Most car owners are sensible enough not to drive on and go to a garage to have the fault checked, but it turns out that there are still many car owners who simply ignore the warning lights.

If you belong to this second group, it can cost you dearly. That’s why other garages in the country are urging drivers to be vigilant about their indicator and warning lights. if a warning light comes on, stop the vehicle before it’s too late.

The most important lights are also the most dangerous

not all warning lights in your vehicle have the same meaning. If you sort the lights by their importance, it’s the oil and engine lights that you need to react to immediately when they come on. If you ignore the warnings of these lights, take the risk that the engine breaks down because it lacks engine oil, for example.

The workshops participating in autobutler generally state that they receive a lot of inquiries from vehicle owners whose engine light is illuminated. An engine light that glows orange indicates a serious fault, as this means that the engine is running in emergency mode. as a driver you should take this warning seriously.

If you have ignored the warning light and the engine fails as a result, you must expect that this will not be covered by the warranty, since you as the driver have caused the damage yourself, as it is called in insurance jargon.

So it’s not just the warning lights that can turn red – you, as the driver, can also turn red with rage if something breaks and you end up with a repair bill for several hundred euros.

How much does a car repair cost?

Prices for car repairs vary greatly depending on what part of your car needs to be repaired, whether replacement parts are needed and need to be installed, and of course, how many man-hours it will take the auto mechanic to complete the repairs. Since many car owners lack technical knowledge about their car, they often cannot estimate how much a repair will cost them, which parts of the car will have to be changed and how they are related to each other.

Therefore, many vehicle owners are dependent on the information and knowledge they receive from their repair shop. With autobutler, car owners get more transparency in the process of choosing a repair shop, but also in the repair offers, because with us you get offers from repair shops in your area. in the offers, the vehicle owners can also see which services and spare parts are included in the price and thus have more security in the car repair.

Our customer service department will be happy to help vehicle owners with any questions or problems, so that they are always well informed. And the best part? Autobutler customers save an average of 21% on their car repair by comparing repair quotes, which is equivalent to 117 euros. You can also profit from this.

The main warning lights

Are you one of those drivers who ponder the meaning of the different warning lights?? Then we have listed the most important warning lights for you here.

some of these lights use different colors to indicate the severity of the fault detected. For example, an ignored amber warning light may turn red at a later time if you did not heed it.

Basically, the colors have the following meaning:

Red: stop the car as soon as possible and turn off the engine. Follow the instructions in the manual. if you have doubts, call the roadside assistance.

Yellow: an action is required. stop the vehicle and turn off the engine. follow the instructions in the manual – in most cases you will still be able to drive to the nearest repair shop.

Green: these lights are for the driver’s information only and do not require any action on your part.

handbrake light
if the handbrake light flashes, check that you have released the handbrake. Even if the handbrake is no longer applied, it is possible that it has either seized or that brake fluid needs to be topped up or that the brake pads are worn out.
Engine temperature is too high
the engine may be overheated. one possible cause is that there is too little coolant. Stop the car and check if coolant needs to be topped up.
seat belt indicator light
the symbol with a safety belt – one or more of the passengers have not fastened their safety belts. The light goes out when all passengers are wearing their seatbelts.
engine oil – red
if the red indicator light with the oil can symbol lights up, the oil pressure is too low. Stop as soon as possible and call the roadside assistance so that your car can be taken to the garage.
oil warning light
Engine oil – yellow
if the yellow oil can symbol lights up, then the engine oil level is too low. stop the car and wait 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, you can check the oil level, making sure the vehicle is on a level surface. The oil level should be between the minimum and maximum on the oil stick. If oil needs to be topped up, refer to the manual to find out what oil to use. Add oil and start the engine for a maximum of 5 seconds. If the light goes out, you can drive to a workshop. If the light remains on, you need to call roadside assistance.
the symbol with a battery – there are problems with the power supply. one reason may be that the car battery is no longer working. drive directly to a workshop. If the light is on, several of the vehicle’s electronic safety devices may be out of service.
brake system
the brake symbol – is the handbrake applied? It may also be that one or more faults have occurred within the braking system. Refer to the manual for more information.
ESP – electronic stability program, ESC – traction control
the ESP symbol lights up when the vehicle’s electronic stability program is actively intervening. This usually happens on wet and slippery roads. Drive carefully, avoid jerky braking and take your foot off the gas pedal to slow down.
Tire pressure
tire pressure sensor – this symbol indicates that the air pressure in the car tire needs to be checked.
Airbag/ seat belt pretensioner
airbag and seat belt pretensioner system fault – the passenger front airbag is deactivated. This may be the case if there is a child seat in the passenger seat. have a mechanic check if the system is working properly.
engine symbol – this symbol alerts the driver to an engine fault. If the orange light is on, drive to a workshop immediately, where a mechanic can read out the fault via the on-board computer and rectify it. The symbol lights red. Stop the car and call for roadside assistance!
ABS symbol – this symbol alerts the driver to a fault in the ABS and/or ESP system. In most cases, the brakes will work even if the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and/or ESP are faulty. You will still be able to drive to the nearest workshop to have the fault rectified there.
brake pads
brake symbol – the brake pads are worn out and the brake pads of the vehicle need to be replaced. You can still drive the vehicle, but the brake pads must be replaced immediately.
Low tire pressure/ TPMS
tire pressure plays an important role in both safety and fuel economy. Cars built after 2014 have the automatic tire pressure monitoring system, which checks tire pressure regularly. if this indicator light comes on, you should drive to a gas station and fill your tires with air until the proper pressure level is reached. Tire pressure is measured in bar and you can find the correct specifications in your car’s owner’s manual. Make sure your brakes have cooled down before filling them with air.
Diesel particulate filter
if this indicator light comes on, then the particulate filter on your diesel car is either clogged or otherwise defective. It is very expensive to have the diesel particulate filter completely replaced, so you should first have it cleaned by an automotive mechanic. Since it is mandatory to have a working filter, you cannot pass the TuV with a defective diesel particulate filter, as the applicable emission figures cannot be met this way.
Pre-glow check
this sign lights up in the dashboard of your diesel car when you insert the key into the ignition switch. you cannot start your car until the sign goes out, because only then the glow tube has been heated sufficiently. This will take about 5 to 10 seconds.
Low fuel level
the yellow fuel level sign lights up when you need to refuel your car. The amount of gasoline or diesel left in your tank at this time varies from car brand to car brand, but it is recommended that you drive directly to a gas station.
Rear fog light is active
this indicator light tells the driver that the rear fog light is on. Make sure this is appropriate for the weather conditions so you don’t confuse or endanger other motorists.

Ignorant drivers

Nowadays, modern vehicles have a large number of warning lights that inform the driver, for example, that a door is not closed correctly, that the rain sensor is not working properly or that the air pressure of the tires needs to be checked.

Some vehicles have more than 30 warning lights, and the many lights certainly contribute to greater road safety. However, as a driver, it can also be difficult to keep track of the different warning lights. A british inspection showed that 98% of all drivers surveyed were not even aware of the warning lights that are most common. Fortunately, this is only true in England, but the trend is probably transferable to German car owners as well. Because if you are not an experienced driver, the warning lights can quickly cause confusion.

At the same time, the many warning lights can also make the driver immune, as many of the lights do not necessarily indicate that there is anything seriously wrong with the vehicle. Even if a light comes on, it is usually still possible to drive on, which is why the flashing warning lights are being paid less and less attention to. However, when a warning light comes on indicating a serious fault, people often fail to react in time.

Failure to keep track of the various warning lights can have disastrous consequences. the most important rule when a warning light comes on is to first look up the meaning of the warning light in the manual before continuing to drive. When the lamp lights up red, you must stop as soon as possible.

Follow these three tips and avoid serious problems

Use the manual of your vehicle and remember the most important symbols. Always carry the manual with you in the vehicle so that you can use it as a "reference book".

As long as the lights are yellow or orange, you should check whether you can continue driving. However, you should have your vehicle checked by a workshop soon.

If either the engine light or the oil light turns red, pull off to the side of the road immediately and call for roadside assistance.

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