What is Your Car Trying To Tell You With These Signs?


Fans of the famous series The Big Bang Theory will surely remember the scene in which Sheldon, one of the protagonists, travels with Penny, another of the most famous characters of the series, in her old car. Sheldon realizes that his engine light is on and alerts Penny, who ignores his warnings until the vehicle eventually breaks down. 

It’s certainly one of the most famous scenes in the entire series, and despite the humor with which it raises the issue, the car’s drivers can point to real issues to watch out for. However, not all drivers know the meaning of all the symbols that can be illuminated on the instrument panel. 

This is the meaning of the lights that can be turned on in a car. When you buy a used car in New Zealand do remember to check these lights before purchasing any car.


The motor pilot is perhaps the most recognizable of all. Its amber light appears in situations where abnormal engine-related parameters are recorded. For example, this light indicates faults in the exhaust gases, the ignition, or even the injection system. If it doesn’t go away after stopping for a while, the best option is to take the car to the workshop.

Check engine indication
abnormal engine-related parameters


This warning light warns that the engine must be preheated. If it lights up, wait for it to go out before starting the engine. If it lights up or starts to flash, it could signal an engine failure, so the car should be stopped and taken to the workshop.


This warning light warns with a red light that the oil pressure is lower than that necessary for the correct lubrication of the engine.  In some cars, it turns on while the car is started and then turns off, so there is no need to worry. When its light persists, it indicates that there is practically no oil in the crankcase and can cause significant problems.

Oil level low indication
lubrication of the engine.


Another of the most recognizable and red in color, this light comes on when the alternator has a problem and cannot recharge the battery or provide enough power for the car’s systems. If this is ignored, the driver will probably run out of battery in a short time or the car may even stall while running. 

Battery problem indication
has a problem


This warning light has no mystery, it will always be on when the parking brake is on. Depending on the manufacturer, the symbol may change and replace the exclamation point with a ‘P’. When it comes on, and the parking brake is off, it may be because the brake fluid is low. An amber-colored, no-exclamation-like light can come on when the brake pads are worn.

low fluid indication
fluid is low


This warning light alerts, with a red light, that the coolant is hotter than it should be, in case the liquid level is low or there is no liquid. If it is for the first case, the best option for the driver is to stop driving, stop the engine, and let it return to a suitable temperature.

hotter than it should be


As its name suggests, it will only light on cars with diesel engines. Its lighting will indicate problems with the particulate filter.

with the particulate filter


This amber light does not come on to indicate a fault or problem, but simply alerts the driver that the fog lights are on, which should go off when low visibility conditions are not present.

driver that the fog lights


It lights up red, like the faults, but it is not a fault. This witness warns that some of the passengers are not wearing a seat belt and that it should not be started to prevent fines and serious injuries in accidents. Normally, in the passenger seat, it is accompanied by an acoustic signal when starting.

wearing a seat belt


This warning light glows red when an airbag is not working properly. In cases where the passenger airbag should be deactivated, such as when there is a child restraint system, the light will stay on all the time.

working properly


He is a more or less new driver that cars have been incorporating for a few years. With its light, it indicates that the vehicle’s tire pressure is incorrect. To solve the problem, just check which one is affected and inflate it. Its light is useful for detecting punctures.

vehicle’s tire


Similar to the handbrake but with the lettering ‘ABS’ inside. This light indicates that the antilock braking system is not working properly. You can continue driving if it lights up, but it is best to take it to a mechanic to check the problem.

braking system


This amber colored light comes on when the stability control is working. It often comes on when the ABS is not working properly. In this case, you have to stop sending power to the wheels to regain optimal traction. In many cars, it can be disabled, so it will stay on. 

control is working


Another one of the best known by drivers. The amber fuel warning light comes on when the fuel level is low and you have to start considering stopping for refueling. Each car has a different tank and, therefore, a reserve with a greater or lesser capacity. When it lights up, it begins to circulate in reserve and you have 50 to 100 kilometers to make the stop.

level is low


The amber light on the bulb comes on when a bulb has burned out and requires replacement. Newer cars can indicate which one is affected, but the best way to identify it is to get out of the car and look.

has burned out


On models with an automatic gearbox, this light appears to instruct the driver to depress the brake pedal before moving the mode shift lever. When shifting is in progress with the pedal depressed, the indicator lights green.

automatic gearbox


The pilot of the start-stop system works in a similar way to the airbag, for example. Many new cars have this starter system, which can be deactivated voluntarily. In this case, when the system is disconnected, the pilot will always be on. When it is not working properly it will also light up.

working properly


It is a delight to drive on the motorway, setting the car to 120 km / h and maintaining the speed without the need to give gas. This light will illuminate green when the system is activated to remind the driver that it is being used.

the system is activated

Conclusion Regarding These Signs

To sum it up these indication are to be taken seriously and you might experience an unwanted stop on the road which will be hectic if you are in a hurry. Auto for Trade has tried to cover all the important signs for your safety and security.

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