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How to Read Warning Lights?

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

Colors of the Warning Lights

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

Red: Generally red lights mean that there’s a serious problem. You should stop your car as soon as it’s safe to.

Yellow: Generally yellow lights 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, the 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

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Engine oil warning light: This 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 the mark of leakage underneath 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 the mechanic. This sign does not show how much oil is left in the tank.

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Battery warning light: If 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.

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 a crash because the brake or power steering does not work and you are out of control if the engine stops. Immediate repair is required. Pullover, call the road service center, and get towed to the nearest garage.

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Engine coolant temperature warning light (red): It flashes/illuminates when the temperature of engine coolant water is higher than normal. Flashing is a precaution of Illuminating. It will illuminate if you keep driving.

When the light is on, the water temperature could be overheated.
Now pull over, call the road service, and get serviced by a mechanic.

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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 an essential part of the safety, it needs to work perfectly to prevent the accident.

Make sure that the parking brake is released. Otherwise, stop the car and get it checked as soon as possible.

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Master warning light: It flashes/illuminates together with other warning lights 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.

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Exhaust temperature warning light: You see this light when the exhaust catalytic device is overheating. Stop the car instantly 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 the 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.

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SRS airbag/ seat-belt pre-tensioner warning light: It illuminates when a problem found in SRS airbag or seatbelt pre-tensioner. Usually, it comes on when you start the engine and stays in 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 blow up our while driving normally.

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Security warning light: This 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 indicates the smart key is out of the car.

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Hybrid system warning light: It illuminates when there is a malfunction in the 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 for assistance.

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Door ajar warning light: You will see this light if the bonnet, boot or any door has not been closed properly. If you keep driving while the light is on, the door may open and it would be very dangerous for the life of drivers and passengers.

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Safety belt minder warning light: If you haven’t got your seat belt on then you will see this light. And some cars will make a sound to remind you. Please don’t ignore this warning light of the safety seat belt.

A blue warning light that requires immediate attention

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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 requires immediate attention

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AT warning light: What happened? What shall I do? when AT Yellow warning light alerts. It shows up when the AT (Automatic Transmission) oil is overheated.


Pullover as soon as it’s safe and opens the bonnet to cool it down until the light goes off.

Yellow/Amber warning lights

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Low fuel level warning light: This light warns you that you have low fuel.
Refuel as soon as possible as your car might stop in the middle of the road.


It may go off when the fuel level in the tank is uneven on the slopes or curves.

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Washer fluid warning light: You 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.

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Fuel filter warning light: It 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. This should be fixed immediately. This warning light is only available on diesel cars.

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Brake system warning light (yellow): It indicates a malfunction in the electronic control system.
Please get checked by a mechanic as the brake system is crucial.

Yellow lights generally mean that something requires attention when possible or needs servicing.

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Malfunction indicator light: If this light is on when the engine is running then there is a malfunction in engine or transmission. Driving with this light may add more problems.


If this yellow warning light continues to flash on the car dashboard now it’s time to call the mechanic.

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Slip indicator: It flashes when the wheels are slipping and the brake control system is operating. No worries when it flashes temporarily on the rough road.

If this yellow warning light continues to flash on a normal road, you must get it fixed immediately.

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ABS warning light: This indicates a 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 on.

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Lithium battery warning light: This warns you of the low lithium-ion battery.
Charge the battery as soon as possible before the battery becomes flat.
*Electronic cars only

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