Understanding your Honda car’s warning lights.

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Modern cars are crammed with sophisticated technology that many drivers take for granted.

It’s important that drivers familiarise themselves with the warning lights in their car. Displayed on the dashboard’s instrument panel are green lights to let you know a system is in use, orange warning lights that provide an advisory signal and red warning lights to alert drivers to a fault with part of their vehicle which requires further investigation.

Red warning lights in cars

Brake system/ABS light

Warning light

This could be due to brakes nearing the end of their life; over time, brake pads and discs wear down and need replacing. Or a problem with the brakes, brake fluid level or the related driving aids, so get your car inspected by a reputable garage.

Engine cooling system

Warning light

Should the warning light come on, it may indicate that there is insufficient coolant fluid in the radiator or some sort of blockage or air lock which could cause it to overheat. When it is safe to do so, check if the level has dropped below its marked minimum level and if it has, take your car to a garage to get it inspected.

Engine oil pressure

Warning light

If this illuminates, you should immediately switch off the engine, when it’s safe to do so, and check your car’s engine oil level. If the oil level is below the minimum level required, then it will need to be topped up with the correct type of oil. If the problem persists, have it professionally checked as there could be a more serious issue.

Power steering system

Warning light

If the power-assisted steering develops a problem, it should be checked at a garage. There could be a leak, or a problem with the pump, and should the system fail there could be a dramatic increase in the resistance of the steering wheel.

Airbags and seatbelts

Warning light

Modern cars are packed with airbags and active restraint systems that must be checked by a garage should this symbol illuminate. It’s important to do this as soon as possible, because there is a risk these safety features may not work in the event of a collision.

Vehicle battery and charging system

Warning light

With so many electric gadgets and gizmos on a modern car, the battery has a hard life. If it’s reaching the end of the road, or there is a problem with the charging system, it will need further investigation — ultimately, your car won’t run without a fully functioning battery.

Orange warning lights in cars

Engine control or emissions management

Warning light

In the engine and exhaust system, there are multiple sensors that relay multiple messages to a range of computers. These feedback to a car’s main brain, which in turn passes alerts to the driver. If it turns on, take the car to be inspected at a garage.

Diesel particulate filter

Warning light

Diesel cars use specially designed filters to trap harmful particulates that are emitted when driving. Like the exhaust, these have a finite operating life, but if this first symbol appears you have the opportunity to regenerate the filter by driving at a speed of 37mph (60km/h) until the symbol disappears.

Glow plugs

Warning light

A wear and tear part for every diesel car, these help start a diesel engine when it’s cold. If the glow plug symbol remains on when driving, it indicates trouble. Happily, it is not a big job for them to be replaced.

Tyre pressure monitoring

Warning light

If your car has tyre pressure monitoring, it will let you know when one tyre falls to a significantly lower pressure than the other three tyres. So if this symbol appears, check the air pressure of all tyres. The handbook will detail the correct pressure for your vehicle’s tyre size.

Blind Sport Warning

Warning light

Working as an extra pair of eyes in the back of your head, this system uses sensors to detect when a car is on either side of your vehicle. The orange symbol will illuminate in the relevant wing mirror, and an alert may sound should you indicate to change lanes.

Service reminder

Warning light

If you see this icon it means your car is due for routine servicing, though this may be an oil and filter change or a service — a dealer can confirm which it is. The symbol will most likely be accompanied by a sum of mileage or number of days that will count down to when the service should be performed.

Vehicle Stability Assist

Warning light

All new Hondas are fitted with a sophisticated system – Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) – that can help prevent your car from skidding. If this symbol appears, it could be that VSA has been switched off by the driver or an inspection may be required.

Lane Departure Warning System

Warning light

Acting as an extra pair of eyes on the road ahead, the Lane Departure Warning System alerts the driver when the car is straying from its lane. You’ll generally see this symbol when the system is in use.

Green warning lights in cars

Cruise control

Warning light

If you have turned on the master switch for the cruise control system, a green symbol will show on the dashboard. It will be accompanied by another green symbol once the driver has set a cruising speed for the system to maintain.

ECON mode

Warning light

To help make your Honda as efficient as possible, ECON – economy – mode is fitted. Press this button on the dashboard and the information display may change while the characteristics of the engine’s power delivery and the way the air conditioning works are adjusted to use as little energy as possible.

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