Traffic regulations are probably a distant memory for many, and even for young drivers, it’s not always easy to remember everything. When a light on your dashboard comes on, it’s important to know how to identify the problem. While most orange lights are not immediately alarming, almost all red lights require quick action to prevent damage.


Non-urgent warnings do not mean that they should be ignored. In fact, your vehicle is trying to warn you about a mechanical or electronic anomaly that should not be left lying around. This warning does not require an immediate stop, but deserves special attention to avoid more serious consequences. It includes :

  • A low oil level (orange light) : represented by an oil can, turn off your engine and wait for it to cool down before you can put oil back in;
  • Low fuel level (orange light) : symbolized by a reserve of fuel;
  • Brake pad wear (orange light) : If you see a dotted circle, your brake pads need to be replaced;
  • ESP failure (orange light) : if the light represented by a car followed by 2 tracks on the ground remains visible, there is a deactivation of the system. To ensure the stability of the vehicle on icy and wet roads, contact your garage to resolve the problem ;
  • ABS malfunction (orange light) : if the ABS symbol comes on, your ABS (Antilock Braking System under heavy braking) no longer functions. Go to your garage;
  • Airbag malfunction (red light) : usually represented by a passenger sitting with a circle in front of him, it may come on if you have deactivated it yourself. However, it can also warn of poor electrical contact, a weak battery, a problem with the ECU or a malfunction of the impact and presence sensors.


Emergency means immediate stop! Pull over or get on the hard shoulder as soon as possible. In this case, a repair is required and calling for assistance is strongly recommended. Among these lights are :

  • Insufficient engine oil pressure (red light) : always represented by an oil can. If this light stays on after you have refilled the oil, call a service technician;
  • Abnormal coolant temperature (red light) : the red thermometer alerts you to the risk of overheating your engine. Slow down and turn the heater on fully. If it stays on, contact a tow truck;
  • Battery failure (red light) : the red light symbolizing your battery is displayed. Your battery is overcharged or no longer charging. Turn off as many electrical systems as possible and then go to the nearest service or garage;
  • Braking system malfunction (red light) : represented by a circled “!”, your vehicle is no longer able to brake properly. Contact a professional immediately;
  • Loss of tire pressure (orange light) : represented by a circled “!”, one or more tires are under-inflated or flat;
  • Engine problem (orange light) : Engine symbol lights up? The problem may be more or less serious in the injection, ignition or emission control system. Have your engine examined by a professional to avoid an expensive repair.