What Do the Lights On Your Dashboard Mean?

Do you know what all of the lights on your dashboard mean? This might be something that people are embarrassed to admit, but actually this is very common and a study by Robins and day revealed that only 21% of motorists could identify the basic warning lights. This does not make it ok, though, as knowing the lights on your dashboard is incredibly important.

Why it is Important

So, why exactly do you need to know what all of the different lights mean? This is important because a warning light could indicate a serious problem, which could put you and others at risk. It also means that the car could be in need of repair work and significant (and expensive) damage could occur, plus it is also illegal to ignore the lights and could invalidate your insurance.

Learning the Lights

In terms of the dashboard lights and what they mean, the best way to learn is to look through your owner’s manual. There are a number of key ones that you need to be aware of, though, such as:

  • Brake system/brake fluid warning
  • ECU/Engine warning light
  • Airbag warning light
  • Power steering/EPAS warning light
  • Coolant warning light
  • Oil warning light
  • Tyre pressure monitor warning light
  • Battery charge warning light

Traffic Light System

These are the lights that could indicate a serious problem that needs to be addressed straight away. Additionally, you need to know that there is a traffic light system used to indicate the urgency of the issue:

Red: Issues that need to be dealt with immediately or as soon as it is safe to do so.

Amber: A fault that should be diagnosed within a month but you should also pay closer attention to performance and take action if this drops.

Green: Lights are purely informational and there is no issue at present.

Learn When You Change Car

Being aware is key when it comes to your dashboard lights, so it is important to educate yourself and pay attention when a warning light comes on. Lights can be different depending on the vehicle, so if you were to find a new Citroen C1 for sale then you should always take the time to go through the manual and make sure that you know exactly what each dashboard light means.


Hopefully, this post will encourage you to learn what each dashboard light means and when you need to take action to solve the issue. Motorists not knowing what the lights mean is highly common, but it is also dangerous, reckless and could lead to legal issues and expensive repairs.