What Do Dashboard Warning Lights Mean?

Dashboard Warning Lights

If an unfamiliar icon has ever popped up on the dashboard of your vehicle, it’s only natural to feel concerned. A great way to handle dashboard warning lights is to treat them just like the colors of a stoplight. Should a yellow icon appear, drive with caution and make sure to have it check out as soon as possible. A red icon indicates a more serious issue, meaning that you should safely pull over, shut off the engine, and call for assistance. The Germain Motor Company has created this in-depth guide to help give you a better understanding of what each dashboard indicator/warning light means.

Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) Malfunction

This light means there is a malfunction in the ABS system and often comes on with the brake warning light.


The airbag or seat belt tensioning system is faulty or passenger airbags have been deactivated.

Alternator Low Voltage Output

Charging system failure.

Automatic Transmission Malfunction

Have your transmission checked immediately by an authorized dealer.

Brake Light Bulb Failure

One or more brake light bulbs have

Brake Pad Wear Indicator

Check brake pads.

Bulb Failure

Solid: Bulb failure.
Flashing: Headlamp leveling or AFS (Adaptive Frontlight System) defective.

Coolant Level Low / Coolant Temperature High – Stop!

Check coolant level. See owner’s manual.

DSG® Transmission Too Hot – Stop!

Do not continue driving. Allow the transmission to cool with the gear shifter in the park position.

Electronic Parking Brake Warning

Parking brake error. See owner’s manual.

Engine Malfunction
(On-Board Diagnostics)

Engine emission malfunction. Bring vehicle in for service.

Electronic Power Control
(Exhaust Gas)

Engine malfunction. Bring vehicle in for service.


Solid: ESP/ASR inactive.
Flashing: ESP/ASR event.

Fuel Cap

Fuel cap off or missing.

Hood Open – Stop!

Engine hood is open or not properly closed.


Incorrect key. Key not adapted to the vehicle.

License Plate Bulb Light Failure

One or more license plate light bulbs are burned out.

Low Fuel Level

Please refuel.

Oil Pressure Warning – Stop!

No oil pressure, turn the engine off. See owner’s manual and bring the vehicle in for service.

Oil Level Low

Check oil level. Bring the vehicle in for service.

Parking Brake

Parking brake is applied. Possible ABS malfunction (with ABS light). Low brake fluid, see owner’s manual. If low brake fluid, stop!

Rain Sensor Malfunction

Switch the ignition off and back on again. If the light stays on, contact an authorized dealer.

Washer Fluid Low

Refill washer fluid.

Tire Pressure Monitoring

Tire pressure is low or system malfunction.


Yellow Solid: Power steering assist reduced.
Yellow Flashing: Malfunction in the electronic steering column lock.
Red Solid: Power steering assist failure.
Red Flashing: Malfunction in the electronic steering column lock.