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[Bookmark!] How to Read Warning Lights

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Hi guys, today I’ll explain what each warning light means.

What are Warning Lights?

Warning lights are extremely important visual alert on the dashboard showing the driver that there is something wrong in the car. These signs are universal in all over the world so that every driver should recognise the warning.

Colours of the Warning Lights

Your warning lights have two different colours: Red and Yellow (or Amber).

Red: Generally red lights mean that there’s serious problem. You should stop your car as soon as it’s safe to.
Yellow: Yellow lights generally mean that something requires attention when possible or needs servicing. Although it does not seem as urgent as the red light, you should get checked or repaired where the light indicates.

In either colour the light is on, you are certainly in a dangerous situation. Please do not ignore the warning to avoid the worse trouble or even being wrecked in the worst scenario.
* Red light may not be so serious if the light disappears quickly. For example, seat belt sign in red light turned off once it has been worn.

How to Read the Warning Lights

Here, I will show you the most common warnings (except for very peculiar ones in specific models/grades.)

Red warning lights

SignsNameWhat happened? What shall I do?
Engine oil warning lightThis light warns you that the level of engine oil is incorrect.  Stop your car as soon as it’s safe to do so and check your oil level. If you keep driving despite the light is on, the entire engine could be damaged.
 Add some engine oil when the amount of the oil is less than it needs to be. Leakage of the oil could be the reason so please check if there is mark of leakage underneath of the car. 
The problem is when the oil level is correct and this light is still on. All you need to do is stop the car and call mechanic.
This sign does not show how much oil is left in the tank.
Battery warning lightIf this comes on, something goes wrong in your car battery.
 The battery is likely too low.
 If you keep driving, the battery will be flat causing that the engine could stop at any time. You are at the highest risk of crash because the brake or power steering does not work and you are out of control if the engine stops.
Immediate repair is required. Just pull over, call the road service and get towed to the nearest garage.
Engine coolant temperature warning light (red)It flashes/illuminates when the temperature of engine coolant water is higher than normal. Flashing is precaution of Illuminating. It will illuminate if you keep driving. When the light is on, the water temperature could be over heated.
Now pull over, call the road service and get serviced by mechanic.
Brake system warning light (red)It illuminates when the parking brake is on or it indicates low brake fluid or the brake system malfunction.
 As the brake is the essential part for the safety, it needs to work perfectly to prevent the accident. 
Make sure that the parking break is released. Otherwise, stop the car and get it checked immediately.
Master warning lightIt flashes/illuminates together with other warning light showing there is a malfunction.
 This may accompany an alert message in the multi-function display or sometimes make a sound depending on how serious the problem is.
Exhaust temperature warning lightYou see this light when the exhaust catalytic device is overheating.
 Stop the car immediately and make sure if there is no flammable object under the car especially the exhaust.
 * This warning light is only equipped to the car manufactured in 1990s. After that, there is no obligation to have this warning as a new control system that prevents overheating in advance is fitted to the exhaust system.
SRS airbag/ seat-belt pretensioner warning lightIt illuminates when a problem found in SRS airbag or seat-belt pretensioner.
Usually, it comes on when you start the engine and stays on a few seconds.
If it does not come on when you’ve started your car, or it does go off after 5 seconds, then there could be a problem.
 Get it checked immediately as the airbag may not function properly at the accident or it may blows up our while driving normally.
Safety belt minder warning lightIf you haven’t got your seat belt on then you will see this light. And some cars will make a sound to remind you.
Door ajar warning lightYou will see this light if the bonnet, boot or any door hasn’t been closed properly.
If you keep driving while the light is on, the door may open and it would be very dangerous.
Security warning lightThis flashes/illuminates when the immobilizer is working in order.
 Normally, it goes off in a few seconds after you switched on the engine. However, it will be still on or flashing if there’s a malfunction.
 You may not be able to start the engine when the light is on or flashing.
 It also flashes when the smart key has been taken out from the car.
Hybrid system warning lightIt illuminates when there is a malfunction in hybrid system eg. High voltage system, cooling system, electronically controlled shift. It also beeps.
 This problem is quite serious. Stop the car as soon as it’s safe and call the road service to get towed.

Blue warning light that requires immediate attention

SignsNameWhat happened? What shall I do?
Engine coolant temperature warning light (blue)It illuminates when the temperature of the engine coolant is lower than normal.
If you have started the engine that is warmed up and still the light is on then stop driving and call the road service to be towed away to the garage.

Yellow/Amber warning light that require immediate attention

SignsNameWhat happened? What shall I do?
AT warning lightIt shows up when the AT (Automatic Transmission) oil is overheated.
 Pull over as soon as it’s safe and open the bonnet to cool it down until the light goes off.

Yellow/Amber warning lights

SignsNameWhat happened? What shall I do?
Low fuel level warning lightThis light warns you that you have low fuel.
 Refuel as soon as possible as your car might stop on middle of the road.
 It may go off when the fuel level in the tank is uneven on the slopes or curves.
Washer fluid warning lightYou see the light when the washer fluid is less.
 Without washer fluid, it would be hard to maintain a clear view from the front window. Add the fluid immediately. It will go off when you have sufficient washer fluid.
Fuel filter warning lightIt illuminates when you have started the engine and water has mixed in the fuel tank through the fuel filter.
 If you keep driving while the light is on, the fuel pump may be burnt. It is recommended to get checked or repaired at earliest convenience.
 This warning light is only installed to the diesel cars.
Brake system warning light (yellow)It indicates a malfunction in electronic control system.
 Please get checked by mechanic as the brake system is crucial.
Malfunction indicator lightIf this light is on when the engine is running then there is a malfunction in engine or transmission.
 Driving with this light on may add more problems. Now it’s time to call mechanic.
Slip indicatorIt flashes when the wheels are slipping and the brake control system is operating. No worries when it flashes temporarily on the rough road. If it continues to flash on a normal road, please get it checked immediately.
ABS warning lightThis indicates malfunction in the electronic control system of the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System).
 You will continue to have the normal braking system when this light is on. But the sudden brake may lock as the ABS is not operating.
 It could be a problem if the light does not go off for a few seconds after you switched on the engine.
 Be careful with braking to stop the car as soon as it is safe when both ABS warning and brake system warning are illuminated.
Lithium battery warning lightThis warns you of low lithium ion battery.
 Charge the battery as soon as possible before the battery becomes flat.
* Electronic cars only

Well, that’s all for today. Don’t try to memorise them at a time as there are so many.
Just bookmark this post and come back when your dashboard displays any of those warning lights.

-Knowledge, Useful tips

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