In the past, car dashboards were quite straightforward, with warning lights being the blue main beam light and the red oil pressure light. Now that cars are a lot more ‘electronic’ you almost feel like you are a pilot in an aircraft with all the many warning lights on the dashboard. The key issue is that each light has a specific message for the driver, so it’s vital you understand them why they come on.
What are ‘dummy’ lights?1
These are lights that stay on after you have turned the ignition key to a certain position. These lights could be symbols for airbags, petrol, oil temperature, check engine, and battery. It is best is to check the owner’s manual to see what each symbol means, because manufacturers may vary these lights’ positions.
Lights for reminding and maintenance1
When any of these symbols light up, you don’t have to attend to them immediately.
Seatbelt warning light1
This light comes on when you have forgotten to buckle up. A shrill, repetitive sound may come on after you have travelled a few metres and will go off after you have clicked the seatbelt into position.
Warning light for an open door or boot lid1
The light indicates which door or boot lid is not entirely closed.
Cruise control light1
When using the cruise control feature, a light will appear on the dashboard.
Lights for main beams and fog lights1
These light up when switching on main headlight beams, as well as fog lights.
Windscreen liquid light1
This light alerts you when the windscreen liquid level is low in the container.
Diesel car’s glow plug indicator1
Some diesel cars are equipped with a glow plug that needs to heat up for a minute or so before it switches off. You can only then start the car.
The following are warning lights that require our immediate and urgent attention.
Petrol tank warning light1
When this light comes on, it means only a few kilometres are left before the car runs out of petrol. The owner’s manual will tell you exactly how much fuel you have left. Prevention is better than cure, so keep an eye on the fuel gauge for timeous visits to the petrol station.
Battery warning light1
If on, the warning light indicates that the battery is failing. Visit a battery centre as soon as possible to have the battery and alternator checked.
Airbag warning lights1
When on, these lights warn the driver that the airbags are not activated. This means that they won’t operate on impact, thus leaving you and your passengers unprotected.
Tyre pressure warning lights1
Some cars are equipped with a ‘Tyre Pressure Monitoring System’ (TPMS), which tells you if the tyre’s air pressure is too low. Underinflated tyres will increase fuel consumption and experience significant wear.
Lights for oil pressure and engine oil1
The correct oil pressure is crucial to your engine’s wellbeing and should always be maintained by checking the oil dipstick level. Be meticulous about attending to all the services as recommended in the service manual.
Looking after your car by obeying the warning lights as required is one thing but what about the ‘warning light’ that tells you it’s time to check your car insurance cover? PMD can provide you with all the information you need regarding affordable car insurance products with exceptional, unique benefits like fixed premiums*. T’s and C’s apply.
This article was prepared by Eric Sandmann in his personal capacity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. The views and opinions in the article should not be attributed to anyone but the author unless expressly stated. Nothing in this article should be relied upon as advice, this publication is presented for informational purposes only. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found in this article, without first obtaining proper financial advice from the appropriate professional. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, or completeness, of any information linked from, referred to, or contained in this article. The author reserves the right, to edit and change the content of this article.