Car warning lights: how to read them and what to do


Car warning lights: how to read them and what to do

When an engine warning light comes on, it could indicate a serious problem with the car or the need to check something: here we talk about how to read them and what to do.

What to do if an engine warning light comes on

A car’s dashboard has various coloured warning lights that could indicate malfunctions and problems with the engine or other parts of the car when they light up. Particularly after the current emergency that the world has been facing, which has forced cars to be off the road for a prolonged period of time, some warning lights may come on in your vehicle when you start it up again. That is why it is very important to know the meaning of car warning lights and what to do when they light up.

Firstly, it is important to know that car warning lights can be one of three colours: green, yellow and red. Green lights simply provide information about the operation of the safety system and driver assistance, such as direction indicators and position lamps, therefore their presence should not concern the driver at all. It is a different story for yellow and red lights, which could indicate a problem or even the need to stop at a service centre as soon as possible.

Yellow engine warning lights


Yellow engine warning lights should not be underestimated as they can have different meanings and can anticipate problems that are not easy to solve. Engine warning lights can indicate possible faults with the ignition system (flashing yellow light), the catalytic converter or the injection system (steady light), or even faults with the exhaust system or the fuel supply system. To sum up, there are many possibilities and if a yellow warning light comes on, the best solution is to not force the engine and head to a service centre.

It should also be noted that a flashing or steady engine warning light does not always indicate a serious problem and if the warning light is on but the car seems fine, you will probably be able to drive to the first garage or nearest service centre to check what is actually causing the problem.

Red engine warning lights


You should consider stopping the car immediately if as well as the engine warning light there are other lights on, such as those relating to the engine overheating, to the oil level or coolant level and to the exhaust gas temperature gauge: in these cases, it is likely that the problem is particularly complex, and carrying on driving could further compromise the condition of the vehicle.

The oil warning light is another of the most important indicators to monitor because low levels of oil in the engine could seriously damage the car. The oil warning light is red and indicates a loss of internal pressure in the lubrication system, possibly due to excessive oil consumption, leaks or other problems. If the car is particularly old or used, it is not uncommon to encounter these kinds of problems, but if the warning light comes on in a new vehicle, it’s possible that an external factor (such as a crash) could have caused the damage. In any case, if the oil warning light is on, it is important to avoid driving and check immediately whether there is a leak or another type of problem, so that it can be fixed at a garage and you can safely return to driving.

Ordinary and extraordinary car maintenance


Knowing how to read the warning lights on your car’s dashboard is very important so that you do not risk the car breaking down and can always drive the car in optimal conditions in terms of comfort and safety. Another important way to prevent engine problems is ordinary and extraordinary maintenance, which should be carried out on a regular basis on any type of vehicle. This maintenance keeps each part of the car in good condition, preventing faults and malfunctions as much as possible.

That is why Leasys includes maintenance services in its rental packages, which are carried out by specialist garages that periodically check the condition of the engine and other parts of the vehicle.