Modern vehicles come with a multitude of added electrical and mechanical features that are all monitored by built-in sensors and circuits to monitor behavior and functionality. If and when any of the vehicle's components fail or begin to deteriorate a symbol may illuminate on the dashboard to warn you of the issue, it is strongly advised that you get the fault diagnosed and rectified immediately to prevent causing further damage to the vehicle.
Not all lights on a dashboard are universal so it is always best to check the owner’s manual if you are unsure. However, here are the most common warning lights you should look out for:
1. DPF / Diesel particulate filter warning light
A DPF filter reduces the vehicles carbon emissions as it filters out harmful soot from the exhaust gases. If the DPF light comes on this could be an indicator that you are releasing harmful gases and the diesel particulate filter may release black smoke on acceleration.
2. Battery warning light
Cars have an alternator which charges the battery as the car is moving if the battery warning light comes on this could be an indicator that there is a fault with the alternator. It could also be a fault with the battery, a loose connection or damaged wiring.
3. Tyre pressure monitor warning light
Normal tyre pressures should be monitored regularly, however, if the TPM light comes on this will indicate a deviation in normal pressure or a puncture.
4. Oil warning light
Oil is important as it lubricates the engine, without it the engine may blow up or seize. If the oil warning light comes on it may indicate that the temperature is too high or that the level is low or oil pressure is reduced. Low oil or a drop-in pressure can affect the lubrication of the engine and cause serious damage.
5. Coolant warning light
Engine coolant is used to prevent the engine from getting overheating, so if the coolant warning light appears, check the level of coolant on the tank under the bonnet and refill if necessary.
6. Power steering warning light
Also know as an EPAS light, if this warning appears on the dash it will indicate a fault with the cars steering abilities. The steering may feel hard affecting the overall drive and manoeuvrability at both low and high speeds.
7. Airbag warning light
Airbags are an important safety feature in any vehicle so if the airbag warning light comes on this may indicate that there is a fault which could potentially to cause the airbag to go off at any time, or not go off in a collision.
8. Engine management light
Also known as an ECU light, this could illuminate for a number of reasons, some more significant than others. There could be a faulty electrical sensor, mechanical engine fault or lack of power if the car falls into limp mode.
9. Brake system/fluid warning light
Any brake fault indication should be looked at immediately. This could indicate a fault with the main brakes or handbrake.