23 Dec, 17

Dashboard Warning Lights – What Do They Mean?

Dashboard Warning Light On?

Modern cars are packed with sensors, monitoring the behaviour of the vehicle and improving our driving experience. When something goes wrong, a warning light will illuminate on the dashboard, alerting us to the problem. It’s important to know what the car dashboard warning lights mean because they can pre-empt a car breakdown, potentially saving you from a lot of inconvenience and expensive repair bills.


Ignoring the warning lights could lead to a full-on failure, causing devastating damage to your vehicle. Below we list some of the most important warning lights to look out for and what they mean:

Brake System Warning Light

Brakes Warning LightArguably the most important part of the vehicle is the braking system. This warning light will be illuminated when the handbrake is engaged, so always check to ensure the handbrake is off. If this warning light is still illuminated on the dashboard, it is best to get it checked out right away. Your vehicle may have an ABS + Traction/Stability control warning light as well.


We specialise in ABS repairs. All built units are returned with a Lifetime warranty

Engine Management Light

Engine MIL Light OnThe engine warning light is linked to 100s of sensors and so there are many reasons that this light can be illuminated. It is often accompanied by a poor running engine/lack of power, commonly caused by a preconfigured “Safe Mode / Limp Mode” to prevent further damage. The vehicle may also misfire and stutter on acceleration but sometimes the light can be illuminated with no other symptoms.


This warning light can sometimes be related to a small electrical fault but sometimes it can be a larger mechanical issue. A faulty ECU can also give out false error codes. We recommend getting it diagnosed right away. Ignoring this warning light could cause further and potentially irreparable damage.


Sinspeed offers a cost-effective ECU Repair service for a full range of vehicles.

Airbag Warning Light

Airbag Warning LightThe airbag was a major step in driver and passenger safety, so if this light is illuminated – get it seen to right away.


If this warning light is illuminated, it could mean there is a fault with the airbag system. In the event of a collision, your airbag may not deploy, meaning you and your passengers won’t be as well protected from any potential injuries. Another possibility is your vehicle’s airbag could deploy at any time unexpectedly, causing you potential harm but also, it could put many more lives at risk if it happens whilst you are driving.

Power Steering / EPAS Warning Light

EPAS Warning LightThe conventional power steering system consisted of an engine-driven or belt-driven hydraulic power steering pump and a hydraulic power steering rack.


Modern vehicles are now turning to EPS (Electric Power Steering) also known as EPAS (Electric Power Assisted Steering), which reduces engine load and makes the vehicle more efficient. When a problem occurs, the vehicles on-board ECUs can pickup on any fault and alert the driver by illuminating the Power Steering Warning Light on the dash.


Electric power steering failure could result in the steering becoming heavy, meaning more effort is required to move the wheels. This can prove to be very difficult on larger vehicles at low speeds and dangerous at higher motorway speeds if you need to make a quick manoeuvre to avoid a collision.


Our team of steering specialists can offer Power Steering Repairs with a Lifetime warranty.

Diesel Particulate Filter / DPF Warning Light

DPF Warning LightMost modern diesel vehicles are fitted with a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter), which is designed to remove harmful soot from the exhaust gases before they exit into the atmosphere.


DPF Full LightThe DPF does require regular maintenance by using low-sulphur diesel, regular oil changes and frequent dual-carriage/motorway miles to effectively regenerate the DPF and prevent it from blocking up. Besides the filter itself, the DPF system will include a pressure sensor and exhaust temperature sensors. If any part of the system fails, a DPF warning light may illuminate on the dash and eventually put the vehicle into Safe Mode/Limp Mode, restricting the vehicle’s performance. The filter cannot regenerate whilst in this mode and by failing to rectify any faults immediately it can cause devastating and irreparable damage.


We offer DPF Removal solutions for all vehicles as an off-road service.

Coolant Warning Light

Coolant Warning LightCoolant is required to prevent the engine from getting too hot. If the coolant light appears on the dashboard, you need to check if your coolant level has dropped. If it has dropped, then top up as necessary – if it hasn’t dropped, then you should get the issue checked out right away as it could be more serious. Without coolant circulating efficiently, the engine could get so hot it would effectively ‘weld’ itself together.


If your vehicle has a temperature gauge, anything in the red would indicate the engine is overheating and should be switched off when it is safe to do so to avoid further damage. Failing to act in time may cause the head gasket to fail and repairs will become very expensive.

Oil Warning Light

Oil Warning LightThe oil warning light may appear if the engine oil becomes too hot or if there is a drop in the oil level or oil pressure. Engine oil is used to lubricate the engines moving parts and other parts such as the turbocharger. An oil sump at the bottom of the engine is used to spray the fluid to all corners of the engine but if the oil is too hot or there is a drop in the oil level/pressure, it may reduce the effectiveness of the lubrication.


Oil starvation is a very common reason for engine and turbo damage – so if you see this warning light, stop right away and get it checked out.

Tyre Pressure Monitor Warning Light

Tyre Pressure Monitoring LightMost modern cars are now fitted with Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS). The system is designed to pick up on any loss of tyre pressure and alert the driver with either a solid or flashing warning light, indicating a potential puncture – you should check the pressure across all tyres. If the tyre pressures are okay, you may have a faulty TPMS Sensor.

Battery Charging Warning Light

Battery Warning LightIf you see this warning light illuminated on the dashboard, you may have a fault with the vehicles electrical system. Some of the most common reasons for this warning light to appear will include:

  • Alternator Fault
  • Battery Fault
  • Wiring Fault
  • Blown Fuse
  • Instrument Cluster Fault
  • Alternator Drive Belt Broken/Slipped

The alternator drive belt uses the power from the engine to spin the alternator and commonly it will also run other ancillaries including the power steering pump and water pump. If the drive belt has failed, this could cause multiple issues to arise.


Our cluster repair specialists offer Instrument Cluster Repairs for all vehicles with a Lifetime warranty.

Warning Light Woes

It’s not a game of warning light bingo – if your dashboard is lit up like a Christmas tree or even if there is just one small warning light illuminated, you should get it checked out right away. It might be something small like a blown fuse, faulty sensor or a broken wire but it could also be something more serious and ignoring the problem won’t make it go away – it could cause lasting and expensive damage.


Sinspeed carries the latest dealer-level diagnostic equipment for all makes of vehicles. If the warning light on your car has illuminated, get in touch for a diagnostic session.

Tags : Dash Warning Light, Dashboard Warning Lights, MIL Light On, Speedo Warning Lights.
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