What Do the Warning Lights in the Car Mean?

Sometimes even the best car breaks down. When many thousands of parts are exposed to vibrations, temperature fluctuations and corrosion every day, sooner or later a link in the chain will break. Then there can be acute danger not only for the rest of the vehicle, but of course also for the driver and passengers. Fortunately, however, modern cars give the driver early warning of many defects. The warning lights in the car can convey a variety of different information and announce the most common problems before things get really dangerous. PKW.de has summarized for you what the various warning lights in the car mean.

–°heck engine light

check engine

The check engine light can indicate various problems. Often the problem lies in the lambda sensor, the spark plugs or the ignition coils. Sometimes, however, a leaking cylinder head gasket can also be the problem. The latter cause can quickly result in an expensive repair. When you first see this warning light, there is no acute danger yet, but a trip to the workshop is still in order at the next opportunity. When the check engine light flashes, however, the vehicle should be shut down immediately to avoid capital and very expensive engine damage.

Brake warning light

Brake warning lightMore important than acceleration is braking performance. This warning light indicates a problem with the braking system in the car, but also lights up when the handbrake is applied. So release the handbrake first. If the light does not go out after a few seconds, stop immediately and call roadside assistance. Defective brakes are a great danger to you and others.

Battery warning light

Battery_warning_lightThis warning light means that the battery is no longer being charged properly. So now, in addition to all electrical devices, the ignition is also drawing current from the battery. You will not get far this way. The reason can be an old battery or a defective alternator. A new alternator or a new battery is needed.


Oil level warning light

Oil level warning lightWhen the oil pressure in the engine becomes too low, this warning light comes on in the car. Without engine oil, the engine will not run and within a few seconds it will become a useless and very expensive block of metal. First, check the oil level. If refilling does not remedy the situation, do not continue driving in any case. Hardly any damage is more expensive than the so-called “piston seizure” that can result from insufficient oil pressure.

Temperature warning light

Temperature warning lightCars produce heat that must be dissipated. If this is no longer possible, the car is in danger of overheating, which is indicated by this warning light. Turn off the car and let the engine cool down. Only then should you open the coolant reservoir and, if in doubt, top up with coolant. As always, if that’s not enough and the car continues to run too hot, there’s no getting around a visit to the workshop soon.

Airbag warning light

Airbag warning lightThis symbol is not a record-breaking bubble gum bubble, but a warning of a defective airbag. However, it also lights up when the front passenger airbag has been deactivated. This is necessary, for example, if a child seat has been installed there. If you see this symbol but have not deactivated the airbag, it is probably defective. Under no circumstances should you attempt to repair this defect on your own! The mechanics at your trusted workshop are trained to handle the contained explosive charges professionally.

Brake wear warning light

Brake wear warning lightWhere there is friction, there is naturally also abrasion. So brake discs and pads wear out over time. This warning light in the car tells you that the brakes have reached the end of their service life. Ignoring this warning can have fatal consequences, and new brakes will be due at the next general inspection at the latest anyway. Also note that the braking effect can decrease. Caution is therefore advised when continuing to drive.

Tank warning light

Tank warning lightThis symbol should be self-explanatory: you need to refuel. But what is not clear to everyone is that if you break down due to a lack of fuel, you will be asked to pay not only by the breakdown service but also by the police. In Germany, drivers are obliged to carry enough gasoline.


ESP warning light

ESP warning lightWhat is actually ESP? This abbreviation stands for electronic stability program. The function prevents the vehicle from swerving in extreme situations. When this warning light flashes, the system is working at that moment to keep the car under control on slippery roads, for example. If the light is on continuously, there is something wrong with the system. Then you can no longer hope for help and should have the problem checked by a specialist.

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