Red symbols in a car: What to do when they light up?
Red symbols on the dashboard, unlike other warning lights, indicate a serious problem that must be solved immediately. If you ever find yourself in a situation where a red warning light comes on, don't ignore it!
It can be an applied handbrake, an opened trunk or door, low oil pressure, or engine overheating. In any case, you should pull over and, if possible, solve the problem. Every minute counts, and if you don't want to risk damage to the engine or other components, you must act.
If the problem cannot be solved, or if you do not know how to do it, it is better to call a mechanic, but in some cases, it is necessary to turn off the engine as you stop your car.
AdBlue warning light
The light signals a low level of AdBlue additives. In most cases, the warning light also displays information about the stated range, and you cannot start the engine after the additive has been used up.
Airbag fault warning light
This light signals an error in the electronics of the airbag system. It may happen that the airbags do not fire or fire on their own during an impact. We recommend rather a quick visit to a car service center.
This symbol is almost identical to the warning light that indicates a fault in the airbags. However, if the airbag symbol is crossed out (i.e., the red circle contains an "X"), the airbags are disabled manually by the driver. We do not recommend doing so since if the collision occurs, the airbags won't be functional.
Air suspension malfunction
This red symbol indicates a malfunction of the air suspension system, either due to air leakage or insufficient inflation. As with suspension shock absorbers, driving carefully and going to a car service center is recommended.
Battery warning light
You may have noticed this red light upon starting your vehicle. If the light remains on, it might either be an alternator failure or a torn alternator drive belt. With such a malfunction, you can only go to the service center if your engine does not run after the battery is discharged. However, a much better alternative is to call a tow truck immediately. Read more
Illuminates when the bonnet is not correctly closed. Contact an authorized car service center if the warning light remains on after adequately closing the bonnet.
Illuminates when the boot lid is not correctly closed. Contact an authorized car service center if the warning light remains on after adequately closing the boot lid.
Brake pads fault
This symbol indicates a problem with the brake pads or their excessive wear. In any case, we recommend an immediate replacement, as the brakes may not have sufficient effect. Read more
Brake warning light
If the red brake light is on, you probably have the handbrake applied, in which case you should release it immediately. If the light continues to illuminate, stop and check the brake fluid level (top it up if it's below the correct level), as the brakes may stop working.
Cruise control warning light
This indicator lights up in red if the maximum set speed is exceeded or there is a malfunction in the system.
Distance warning light
The light signals that the vehicle in front of you is too close! In such a case, you must immediately slow down and maintain a safer distance.
Doors open warning light
This light comes on if the door is ajar or insufficiently closed.
Electronic parking brake malfunction
The electronic parking brake has malfunctioned, and it is necessary to go to the car service center immediately. A warning light without a wrench symbol indicates that the parking brake is engaged.
Engine coolant warning light
This red light comes on if the coolant level is below the minimum level or the engine is overheating. If this happens, you should stop and check the coolant level. If the coolant fluid needs to be topped up, you can do so only after the engine has cooled down to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit). It usually means waiting a quarter of an hour or more, depending on the outside temperature.
Suppose you don't have coolant fluid or distilled water at hand. You can also use ordinary water in an emergency but must visit the service center later.
A damaged water pump, a cracked head, leaks in the cooling system, or a cracked radiator can cause coolant leakage. If the coolant is not leaking, a malfunctioning switch or fan can cause the engine to overheat. Read more
Engine oil pressure warning light
This red symbol warns of insufficient engine oil pressure, one of the reasons may be that the oil level is too low. You should stop the car immediately and turn off the engine, as the lubrication is not sufficient. If the warning light remains on even after topping up or the oil level is normal, turn off the engine and call a tow truck. Otherwise, you risk seizing the engine, as the oil pump may be damaged. Read more
Front Assist warning light
This symbol lights up if the Front Assist system has detected a risk of collision. Brake immediately or take evasive action to avoid collision! The Front Assist should disappear when the risk of a crash is avoided. A malfunction might occur if it remains lit even under normal conditions. In such case, you should visit a car service center.
This warning light indicates a severe problem with the gearbox. Pull over immediately and call a tow truck. Continuing to drive can cause fatal damage to the gearbox, which is very expensive to repair.
This symbol indicates that the gearbox is overheating due to the excessively high gearbox oil temperature. Park the car immediately and let it cool down. If you continue driving, you may cause fatal damage to the gearbox, the repair of which is costly. If the warning light appears again or does not go out even after cooling down, it is necessary to call a tow truck.
This symbol alerts the driver that the hazard lights are activated. Don't forget to turn them off when you don't need to use them anymore, so as not to confuse other drivers.
Ignition switch malfunction
This symbol may indicate a problem with the ignition switch or the key. If it comes on, do not turn off the ignition because you might be unable to turn it back on. Immediate visit to an authorized car service center is recommended.
The ignition switch symbol also has an orange variant, indicating the same problem. Although this may not call for immediate action, it is wise to schedule a visit to an authorized car service center.
Key FOB warning light
The key FOB symbol with an exclamation mark can have several meanings. It might indicate a weak battery in the key, a faulty antenna receiving the signal from the key, or a failure in the vehicle's security system. For cars with keyless start, it can alert the driver to place the FOB key near the ignition for safety reasons.
Low brake fluid level
This warning light comes on when the brake fluid level is too low. Stop the vehicle as quickly as possible, check the brake fluid level, and top it up if necessary. Brake fluid can leak for various reasons, but do not continue driving with insufficient brake fluid as the brakes may stop working altogether.
Low engine oil level
It is similar to the oil pressure warning light, but this red symbol indicates a low oil level. Stop the vehicle immediately and turn off the engine. If the warning light remains constantly lit even after topping up the oil, turn off the engine and call a tow truck. Otherwise, you risk seizing the engine since the lubrication is insufficient.
This warning light indicates that the parking brake is engaged. Stop the vehicle and release the parking brake before continuing to drive. After disabling the parking brake, the warning light should go out. If it continues to light up, leave the car parked and contact an authorized car service center.
Power steering wheel warning light
You will encounter this warning light if you have a problem with the power steering. The fault may be in the electrics or the servo pump. Driving such a vehicle is possible, but you have to put up with the reduced or zero effect of the power steering.
Red triangle warning light
The red triangle symbol with an exclamation mark may be on or flashing and is often accompanied by an acoustic warning, while other warning lights may also illuminate. WARNING! Park the car immediately, and do not continue driving.
This is likely a severe problem, such as a lack of operating fluid. Depending on the situation, you may also need to turn off the engine, for example, with low oil pressure in the case of an internal combustion engine. If you can't solve the problem on the spot, it's better to call a tow truck.
Seat belt light
A seat belt light signals an unbelted passenger. In addition, a loud beep should alert you as well.
Start/Stop warning light
It lights up if the start-stop system has turned off the engine. After pressing the clutch, the engine starts. In the case of an automatic transmission, the brake pedal must be released.
Steering lock malfunction
Stop the vehicle immediately and call a tow truck. Otherwise, there is a risk of a complete steering lock while driving. If it lights up in orange, you should plan a visit to a car service center.
Wrench warning light
This indicator has various forms depending on the manufacturer. It lights up when the service check is needed. It could be a planned (set interval) check, an unexpected malfunction, or the need to go to the service center as soon as possible.