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Dashboard warning lights you shouldn’t neglect

We are witnessing great technology advancements and new engineering breakthroughs that make our cars more sophisticated and functional on one side, and more complicated to use and understand on the other. Moreover, as the tempo of life is accelerating we don’t have much time to study manuals and read specialized literature that would help us understand our car better and learn how to act in specific circumstances. One of the things that we as drivers often disregard is getting to know the symbols on the dashboard, probably discouraged by the fact that there are more than 140 symbols to learn. However, we should be aware of the fact that among those 140 warning lights there are those that indicate a problem that can seriously jeopardize our safety.

Dashboard warning lights you shouldn’t neglect


Recent research findings show that drivers have been losing interest for this segment of car maintenance. 9 in 10 divers have had a symbol appear on the dashboard which they couldn’t recognize. Some of the most mystifying symbols are warning lights that indicate problems with tire pressure, diesel particulate filter, engine and brake system.

In this article we made an effort to include some of the most significant dashboard warning symbols that should not be neglected. However, bear in mind that for different car models there are symbols that look very similar but mean something different and also that there are certain differences in vehicles depending on the market (US, Europe and other parts of the world).


Engine temperature warning

Opasnost od pregrevanja motora

If this warning light appears in red color, you need to turn off the engine as soon as possible. Check coolant level and any coolant leaks. If necessary, add water, coolant or antifreeze according to manufacturer’s recommendation. If the same warning light appears in blue color, it means that the engine still hasn’t achieved the optimal working temperature and that you should avoid driving aggressively.


Braking system problem

Problem sa kočionim sistemom

This warning light is normally active if you have applied the handbrake. If you haven’t, the dashboard will warn you that there is a problem. Check if the handbrake is disengaged properly and if the coolant level is satisfactory. Make sure you consult your mechanic who will diagnose the problem.


Engine oil pressure warning

Nedovoljan pritisak ulja u motoru

This warning light normally appears upon starting the engine and is turned off after a few seconds. However, if this warning symbol appears during the drive you have to pull over as soon as possible, check engine oil level and if necessary add an adequate amount of oil. After you have added oil, you can continue driving. If the lamp stays on after a few minutes, you should definitely have your car checked in a service because inadequate oil pressure may lead to a serious engine failure.


Energy supply problem

Problem sa napajanjem električnom energijom

This light appears to warn you about any problem related to the battery or the alternator. Normally it goes on when you start the car and then off after a few seconds, but if it stays on make sure you go to your mechanic. Otherwise, there is a serious risk to your battery charging and operation.


Steering system problem

Problem sa upravljačkim sistemom

This warning light gets activated if there is a problem with the steering system. You must see your mechanic and have the issue inspected immediately.


Low coolant level

Nizak nivo rashladne tečnosti

If it appears in yellow color, this light will warn you to check coolant (antifreeze) level but if it turns red, the situation becomes alarming and you need to top up a suitable amount of coolant or antifreeze.


Low brake fluid level

Nizak nivo kočione tečnosti

This light indicates that the brake fluid level is very low. You will have to go to a service.


Key and engine start

Ključ i pokretanje motora

This and similar symbols which show a key and a lock warn you about various problems like issues with starting the engine, issue with the immobilizer, issue with not having the key inserted etc. This symbol will look differently in certain car models. Consult the owner’s manual for an exact description of the problem.


Airbag system malfunction

Sistem vazdušnih jastuka

Do not postpone visiting a service if this warning light goes on because it indicates and error in the airbag system. Although it may not seem as a problem that demands immediate attention, it’s better not to find yourself in a situation when you really need the airbags.


Safety belt unbuckled

Sigurnosni pojas

The last, but not the least important symbol warns you that you haven’t fastened the seat belt. Do not let carelessness jeopardize your personal safety.


Dashboard warning lights you shouldn’t neglect


If you don’t have the time to learn the meaning of every symbol by heart, our warmest recommendation is that you always have the owner’s manual at hand to consult for any doubt.

We hope that you found these pieces of advice useful. Feel free to contact us for any question, doubt or suggestion.

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