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Red Light Danger: The Most Common Red Warning Lights

Check out our guide to six of the most common red warning lights to find out exactly what they mean and what to do next

James Mills
Written by James Mills
Edited on
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Do you ignore red warning lights? Even though they could be highlighting a serious problem with your car, not everyone can identify the most common warning lights. If you struggle to tell your check engine light from your coolant, you’re not the only one. That’s where we can help. Our guide to six of the most common red warning lights will explain what they mean and what to do next


Red dashboard warning lights explained


Airbag Warning Light

This light appears when there’s a fault with your airbags. This could mean that your airbags won’t work in a crash or that they could go off unintentionally. With life and death are at stake, you should never ignore an airbag warning light. It’s best to get the fault checked out as soon as possible.


Battery Warning Light

A problem with your battery means your car could grind to a halt at any moment. You might even be left with no electrical power and that means no headlights, brake lights, or hazard warning lights. If your drive belt is broken, the alternator could be prevented from charging the battery and that leaves other systems such as the engine’s water pump at risk. Head to a garage to get it checked out as soon as you can.


Brake System Warning Light

The last thing any driver wants to happen is a brake failure. If your car starts losing brake fluid – the substance used to operate the braking components – you could find yourself in a scary situation. This warning light can also indicate that your brake pads are worn through, making them less effective. Act quickly and always seek professional advice. 

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Engine Cooling Warning Light

Engines use cooling systems to prevent overheating. They use a special liquid that is cooled in the radiator. If you’re losing coolant because of a leak, the engine could overheat and stop working. Head to a garage ASAP.


Engine Oil Warning Light

The red engine light either means that your oil level is low and needs topping up or that the oil pump has stopped working. A lack of oil will cause the metal parts of the engine to grind against each other and eventually seize up. Stop and get it checked out immediately.


Power Steering Warning Light

Power steering is one of those inventions that you don’t really notice until it’s gone. Without it, your steering probably feels uncomfortably heavy. The good news is that it should be easy to repair and shouldn’t cause a lot of damage to the rest of the car if you get it looked at quickly.

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