A dashboard light coming on – and staying on – is usually a sign that something isn’t right with your car. Ignoring it could lead to engine failure or put your life in danger, so it’s important to pay attention and act quickly.
Dashboard lights come in red, yellow, and green (or sometimes blue), based on their level of urgency. Most lights are universal across different car makes and models so it’s a good idea to learn this ‘car language’. Your car manual is also a great source of information if you aren’t sure about a light, or what action to take.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what the different colours of dashboard lights mean 👇
Red 🔴 – Red dashboard lights are a sign that you have a serious engine issue, like overheating, or a safety problem, like an open door or unbuckled seat belt. You should stop your car as soon as possible (but only when it’s safe to do so).
Yellow 🟡 – A yellow light is a warning to take action, but your safety and the car are not in immediate danger. Common examples include the low fuel warning light (or low engine power light in an electric car).
Green 🟢 – A green (or blue) light is for information only, telling you that different functions in your car are in use – like indicators or headlamps – or that you need to do something, like pump your foot on the clutch.
Here’s a little more info about the different types of dashboard lights you’ll see.
Here's a few examples of some common red warning lights.
Here's some examples of some common yellow warning lights.
FYI, some of these may occasionally be shown as red warning lights depending on your car make or model.
Finally, here are some examples of green dashboard lights. Some may show up as blue, depending on the specific light or the make and model of your car. They normally give you a status update or an instruction, and aren’t indicative of anything wrong.
We’ve put together some other helpful tips and tricks for learner drivers, or any driver hoping to improve their skills or learn a little more about how everything works.