The Ultimate Guide to Car Warning Lights


There is nothing more alarming than seeing a warning light flashing on your dash while you drive down the road. It can be difficult to understand the meanings of all these warning lights and which ones are the most serious. This comprehensive guide will cover all the important warning lights for cars and their severity. You’ll find out if you should pull over and contact a Perth tow truck company, or if you only need some gas.

These car signs are designed to alert you of any potential problems with your vehicle before you must deal with them. The lights can also be coloured differently, so if you see a red light on your dashboard, this is an indication that there is a serious problem and should be addressed immediately by professionals.

If you are worried about your vehicle, call Perth’s accidental towing specialists, Performance Towing.


Car Warning Colours


Did you know that warning lights come in different colours? There are five colours you should be aware of: red, yellow, orange, green, and blue. You don’t need to be concerned about the green and blue lights. These are simply indicators that you are using one of your vehicle’s systems (e.g., cruise control or lane-keeping assist).

A yellow, orange or red warning light should be raised for your attention. Their colour means that you need to act immediately. If a red light appears, it means that there is a serious problem you need to address immediately. A yellow or orange light indicates that you should address the issue as soon as possible. It doesn’t make it less important than a warning at red lights, but it does not mean you should pull over on a four-lane highway immediately to call a Perth tow truck. 


Red Warning Lights


Let’s begin with the most serious warning light, the red. Here are some examples of common red warning lights for cars and their meanings.


Oil Pressure Light


The light is shaped like an old-fashioned oil container, or a genie bottle and has a drip at one end. This is a sign that your engine has low oil pressure. It could be caused by a failing oil pump or a lack of oil.

Neglecting to check your oil pressure or level can lead to engine damage. If your car is not able to make it to a repair garage or gas station quickly, pull over immediately and have it towed to the nearest shop by a trusted Perth tow truck company, such as Performance Towing.


Coolant Temperature Light


This light looks like a thermometer submerged in water. It means that the coolant’s temperatures are higher than the manufacturer’s specifications, also known as overheating. Low coolant levels, a damaged water pump, or a failed thermostat can all cause this problem. You should immediately pull your car over and have it towed to a garage for repairs.

Overheating can cause serious internal engine damage.


Battery Light


Although the name suggests it is all about the battery, the battery light can be misleading. This is a warning sign for the charging system. It indicates that there are problems with the whole charging system, including the alternator and wiring.

The failure of the charging system may not cause any damage to your vehicle if it turns on. However, if the system goes down completely, you could be left without power. To have your charging system checked, take your vehicle to an auto shop.


Transmission Temperature Light


This red light with an exclamation mark inside a gear or the words “AT oil temp,” is your transmission temperature light. It indicates that your transmission is heating up.

This is usually caused by low fluid levels, mechanical failures, excessive towing weight, or aggressive driving. This light should be illuminated immediately. If towing is the problem, you’ll need to reduce the towing load.

If this light appears, you should have your vehicle towed to a shop for diagnosis before further damage is done.


Brake Warning Light


A red circle with an exclamation point at the centre is the brake warning light. Some vehicles have a “P” in their place.

A brake light can indicate a serious problem in your braking system. This could include low brake fluid levels, low brake pads levels, stuck handbrake, parking brake or other issues. It is best to call a tow truck immediately to have your vehicle taken to the nearest repair facility to perform a brake system diagnostic.


Power Steering Warning Lamp


It can occasionally be yellow or orange, but most often it is red. It looks like a steering wheel and sometimes has an exclamation mark next to it. This light will turn on if there is a problem with the power steering system.

This light indicates that the vehicle is ready to be tow-trucked and taken to the shop if it has electric power steering.

Check the hydraulic power steering system for low fluid levels. Check the fluid level and refill it to see if it goes out. Low fluid usually means that there is a leak somewhere in the power steering system. Take your vehicle to a local repair shop to have it checked for any leaks or other problems.


Orange or Yellow Car Warning Lights


Although a yellow or orange warning light on your car is not as urgent as one that flashes red, it’s still an indicator of a serious problem. Here are the meanings of yellow and orange warning lights.


Check Engine Light


This means that your engine’s electrical system is not working properly. It is usually a photo of the engine. However, it could also contain text such as “Check Engine” and “Service Engine Soon.”

This could be caused by a defective engine sensor or any other part of your engine. Most likely, it is due to an issue with your emissions control system.


Brake Oil Light


Brake oil is an essential component of the proper functioning of your car. Without it, your brakes will not work properly. An exclamation mark-like sign on your dashboard will indicate that there is a problem with your brake oil. There may be other problems with your brakes. This is a sign that your car’s brake fluid needs to be changed.


Additional Warning Signs


You might also see these signs on your dashboard:

  • Airbag Warning Light
  • Handbrake Warning Light
  • Tire pressure warning Light
  • Seatbelt Warning Light
  • Security Warning Light
  • Anti-Lock Brake Warning Light
  • Traction Control Warning Light
  • Stability Control Warning Light
  • Low Fuel Warning Light
  • Sign indicating reduced power
  • Fog lamp indicator
  • Washer Fluid Indicator


For All Your Questions, Call Perth’s 24-hour Towing Pros


As much as they can be helpful, dashboard symbols can cause confusion. Performance Towing is available for 24-hour towing in Perth, to offer stress-free solutions for your vehicle towing needs. All our drivers are professionally trained and licenced and offer accident towing in Perth.

No matter what your dashboard tells you, we will make sure that you get home safely and quickly. Call Performance Towing to discuss your needs for transport and 24-hour towing in Perth.