11 Common Vehicle Warning Indicator Lights You Should Pay Attention To

Posted by: Dan on 24/01/2017

Category: Maintenance

Warning lights can be annoying. Warning lights can be a nuisance. Warning lights can even leave you tempted to get a piece of black tape and simply just stick it over the dashboard to make the problem disappear. But while it's tempting to ignore warning lights, it's ultimately never wise.

This is particularly true as cars are set to incorporate electronics even more in the future. By 2020, it's estimated that 35% of a car’s total cost will come from its electronic components; and that means a whole ton of new technology for a driver to deal with when an issue arises. Knowing which warning lights are common will help you understand how to respond when a light pops up. Let’s look at 11 of the most common warning lights now.

1. Door Open

This is the most common warning light drivers face and is always an easy one to address. Be sure to close your door before you start a drive, but also check to be sure that all other passenger doors are shut (the one that is always farthest away from you as a driver is usually the cause of the issue).

2. Seat Belt Not Secured

This is an obvious one, but it’s easy to forget. Depending on the model of your car, you may find your seat belt warning light also comes with a chime, whereas others may just blink. Whether it makes a sound or otherwise, be sure to strap in and stay safe as you drive.

But what if your seatbelt light is still blinking even when all passengers are buckled up? Check all belt buckles and click them in and out with your thumb to ensure all belts are registering properly.

3. Cruise Control

If your cruise control is on and you want it to be on, this is a light you can expect to flash as normal. If you do not desire your cruise control to be on – but you notice your car is underperforming – then check your dashboard to see if you’ve accidently left the car in the mode on your last drive.

4. ABS Error

If your ABS light is flashing, it is an early warning sign there is something wrong with your car’s anti-lock braking system. While this does not mean your car will be unable to brake without this being fixed, it does mean the extra protection in place will be missing.

This is a warning light that doesn't require you to immediately pull over and call for roadside assistance, but it is important to get it checked quickly to ensure no other problems exist with the car, as well as to have your car’s ABS ability restored, and to give you a safer and smoother drive.

5. Airbag Fault

Just like an ABS light, an airbag fault is a serious issue that needs attention quickly – but should not cause you to panic and worry if the light flashes on while you’re driving. While the warning light does mean your airbag(s) need be checked, often this can be an electronic issue (and so your airbag could still deploy as normal in the unlikely event of a crash). Nonetheless, as long as a light is flashing, it's important to visit your mechanic as quickly as possible to have an inspection done.

6. Check Engine

There is only so much room on the dashboard to put information – and with an engine having so many parts, signalling all potential problems would be impossible – so a check engine signal is deliberately vague. Nonetheless, your engine is the most important part of your car, so be sure to get your engine checked if this light appears to address the underlying problem.

7. Change Battery

While not as vague as a warning light to check your engine, a warning light for your battery can also be vague. This warning light always appears when something is wrong with your car’s voltage level. Sometimes this means your car’s battery has simply reached the end of its useful life, while other times the problem can be more complex, involving battery terminals and your alternator belt. As always, if unsure, seek the advice of your mechanic.

8. Oil Pressure

Now and then, some lights can flash off and on. Some of them, like your warning light for your seatbelt or open door, can be fixed right away. Your oil pressure warning light may be more temperamental. Rather than play it by ear, if this light does pop up more than once, check your oil to ensure the pressure is maintained.

9. Change Oil

You are likely to get an indicator occasionally that it’s time for an oil change. While some warning lights that require you to open the bonnet can mean serious work is required, this one is simple. Get some new oil, replace your old oil, and watch the light disappear.

10. Engine Fail

If you see this light, it’s time to immediately bring the vehicle to a stop and call for assistance right away. Often an engine failure will just bring your car to a stop, with maybe a bit of smoke coming from under the bonnet. Now and then, though, an engine failure can prove very dangerous, so take all precautions just in case.

11. Service Now

This is the warning light your car gives you when it has given up trying to pick out a problem for you from all the warning lights available. Rather than flash them all in front of you for problems that might now exist, this little light comes on and simply indicates it’s time to get your car to a garage and let the professionals diagnose what is going wrong.

Warning lights are your first clue something could be wrong, and oftentimes your last line of defence just before something does go wrong with your vehicle. They can be annoying, but they are also useful.

By changing your thinking and learning to regard warning lights as helpful alerts, you’ll find your driving will be smoother and safer. You’ll also find your car’s length of service lasts longer, as problems identified and fixed quickly maintain the vehicle far better than fixing them after a long delay.

This means money saved, and less time spent in the mechanic’s workshop; a win-win all round.

What other vehicle warning lights have you encountered? Let us know in the comments below:


Image: Pixabay