Winter Warning Light Guide

Winter warning light explained

Driving in winter brings its own set of challenges, from icy or snowy roads to that pesky low winter sun that somehow sits just below your visor. Luckily we have car warning lights to help us navigate it.

Clearly, you absolutely read the manual from cover to cover when you first got the car, but in case you don’t have a photographic memory you can bookmark this guide that features all those lights that might show up this winter and what you need to do about them.

What does the snowflake mean on my dashboard we hear you ask? We’ve got you covered.

Frost warning light

A fairly self-explanatory one, a snowflake shaped light shows up in amber when the temperature is close to freezing and red if it’s below.

You probably won’t need telling that’s it really cold, but it’s still worth being aware when this light is on that the road conditions will be more treacherous than usual, so drive with caution.

Check engine light

If you have a hybrid car, you’ll still have a traditional engine, which means sometimes this engine-shaped light will show up. If you’re in an EV it’s more likely to look like a car outline with an exclamation point or a warning triangle (again, with an exclamation mark). It requires immediate attention.

It signals a fault with your engine so rather than assume it’s a sensor error if the car feels like it’s working ok, get it checked out as soon as possible and be on the safe side.

Brake system warning light

This one has an exclamation mark so it goes without saying that this is an important one.

Sometimes, it can just mean that you haven’t completely released the handbrake, but if not it can be showing for any number of potentially dangerous reasons.

Faulty brakes and icy conditions are a risky combination so take action straight away.

Battery charge warning light

This signals a low 12v battery charge which will affect your electric car’s ability to charge or start and you need to take it to the garage straight away if you see this light.

Limited electric power warning light

When a tortoise shows up on your dashboard, it means you’re running low on charge. Head to your nearest charge point.

Serious electrical fault

A battery symbol with an exclamation mark is serious as it can mean your car is on the verge of shutting down, so get yourself to a dealership or stop and call out your recovery service.

Washer fluid low warning light

When the roads have been gritted in winter, it’s essential that you have washer fluid to wipe away the salty smears that can make it hard to see.

Ideally, you should have a bottle of it in your car to top up when you’re out and about, but either way, this light signals it’s time to top up.

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