Car and van dashboard warning lights: what you need to know
Dashboard warning lights are useful to quickly identify faults with your petrol or diesel car or van, but what do they all mean?
Cars and vans nowadays are a complex mix of technologies and systems, but figuring out what’s wrong with them has never been easier. Even if they can’t always tell you exactly what’s amiss, colour-coded warnings displayed on the dashboard should give you a clue about the route cause of the problem and what you should do next.
Certain warning lights, such as the ABS light, engine management light, brake and fluid light and airbag warning light are specifically mentioned as grounds for a failure in an MOT test. These lights are directly linked to critical safety systems and proper function is essential for roadworthiness.
If those warnings don’t disappear right after you start the engine, then it’s important to pay attention to what they’re trying to tell you. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the most serious warning light in a car?
As a rule of thumb, drivers should treat every warning light as a call to action. However, faults fall into two categories, and these are colour-coded as follows:
Yellow warning lights
Many drivers question what the yellow/orange car symbols mean. These warning lights advise you to check something, and sometimes they are accompanied by a spanner suggesting a workshop visit. The vehicle will still be driveable, but addressing the fault as soon as possible is important.
Red warning lights
These car symbols are related to faults affecting performance and safety, requiring immediate attention. If you see a red warning light, stop in a safe place, turn the vehicle off, check the vehicle handbook and call for assistance.
What are the different types of dashboard lights?
What do I do if I see a warning light?
Take a look at the vehicle handbook to see what the symbol means, and try to understand the root cause of the problem. If it’s something that can be easily fixed (such as topping up fluids or topping up the air in your tyres you should do this at your earliest opportunity).
If the warning is more serious, and you have a LeasePlan vehicle and ‘with maintenance’ contract contact the LeasePlan DriverLine.
If you don’t have a with maintenance agreement with LeasePlan, depending on the severity of the problem contact your breakdown provider or book it in to your local dealership at your earliest opportunity.