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48% of motorists misunderstand dashboard warning lights

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Almost half of UK drivers (48%) do not understand dashboard warning lights, study reveals


The shocking results led The Car People to create a guide to key warning signals and when you should take a trip to the garage:


Engine Maintenance/ECU

If this light flashes up on your dashboard, it may be accompanied by other symptoms, too.

Your car may lack power, for example, if it has gone into safe or ‘limp’ mode.

Sometimes the symptoms may be very subtle, though, and can be down to something as minor as a faulty sensor.

If you see this symbol, it is always best to take your car to a garage, and rule out any serious issues.


Airbag Warning Light

An important safety feature of any car, airbags can be lifesavers in the event of a crash.

If this warning light appears, it’s best that you go to a garage for a check.

It could mean an airbag is faulty and won’t work if you crash, or that one is about to go off which in itself could cause a serious accident


Brake System/Brake Fluid Warning

​As well as a reminder that your handbrake is on, this light can also mean that there is a fault with the brakes - if you have your handbrake off and this light appears it could be a sign of something more serious.


Power Steering/EPS Warning

​This symbol indicates an issue with the power steering, and you’ll notice that driving starts to feel very heavy and difficult.

It can pose a huge risk at higher speeds, if you need to change direction quickly.


DPF/Diesel Particulate Filter Warning

A DPF filters the harmful soot out of exhaust gases, and most diesel cars are now fitted with one.

If the system becomes clogged up, often caused by taking lots of shorter trips rather than long motorway drives, it can cause irreversible damage that is often expensive to fix.


Warning light colours

Red warning lights indicate a serious problem, but may also be a reminder, such as not putting a seatbelt on whilst driving.

Yellow or orange means a service is required or a part needs repairing. If this symbol is flashing, it means that it’s important that you contact a garage soon.

Finally, a green or blue light means that a feature, such as cruise control or  full beam headlights, is currently switched on.

The Car People's director Jonathan Allbones (pictured) said: “It’s easy to ignore the car dashboard when negotiating busy roads, junctions and other drivers, but it is surprising that so many drivers are not familiar with key dashboard symbols that could have just as big an impact on their safety.

“Your dashboard can be a key indicator of the health of your car, and ignoring any symbols can be potentially dangerous for you and other drivers.

"We hope this guide reminds drivers of the symbols to look out for, and what to do should they light up on their dashboard.”

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