What’s that warning light?

When a warning light illuminates while you’re driving, most people’s initial reaction is to panic. And if you’re anything like me, your imagination really runs wild as you try to interpret what the warning light is actually telling you.

According to The Sun, we’re not alone. Around half of Brits don’t know what the symbols on their dashboard actually mean. There are many signs that indicate there’s a major problem with your vehicle and that you should seek a mechanic. There are also some which only require a simple fix.

But what means what? How many can you identify? For fun, we’ve given our own interpretation when initially confronted with the warning light’s message. Feel free to tell us yours!

Here’s our interpretation of what the warning lights mean…


Our interpretation: a Formula One racing car is headed right for your car.

The real thing: check your car’s engine, or rather, get a professional to check your engine because the problem is bad enough that you’ll need one to sort it out for you.


Our interpretation: a Formula One racing car is headed right for your car very fast due to excessive downforce.

The real thing: your car’s computer has cut your engine power because of something a professional needs to fix.


Our interpretation: a centipede has just fallen into your car’s petrol tank.

The real thing: you car’s overheating and could do with a dip in the closest large body of water.


Our interpretation: your car is dirty so grab the closest watering can.

The real thing: if you don’t check your car’s oil, like right now, it will seize up and die forever.


Our interpretation: a dangerous object is about to come through your car’s sunroof.

The real thing: your car has got an electrical problem of such an enormity that only a mechanic with huge, long, thick spanner will be able to reach it and fix it.


Our interpretation: the person sitting in your car’s passenger seat is displaying a negative attitude.

The real thing: your car’s battery is toast.


Our interpretation: the previously-mentioned centipede has managed to make it into your car’s fuel pump.

The real thing: your car’s transmission is overheating and could explode.


Our interpretation: change your car’s engine if your name is Oil.

The real thing: hmmmm.


Our interpretation: your car has a chronic toothache-like pain.

The real thing: pump up your car’s tyres if you don’t like grinding metallic noises.


Our interpretation: it can’t be stressed enough how bad the problem your car is currently experiencing is.

The real thing: check out everything to do with your car’s brakes, using the services of a professional if need be.


Our interpretation: an alarm bell is sounding.

The real thing: your brakes definitely need to be looked at by a professional.


Our interpretation: steer your car towards the north-west.

The real thing: your car’s cruise control is on, in case you don’t know.


Our interpretation: you dropped your car key.

The real thing: you either can’t start your car or your car’s security system has been compromised, both of which are not good news.


Our interpretation: prepare for docking.

The real thing: check your car’s petrol cap.


Our interpretation: apply your car’s handbrake rapidly and make an immediate u-turn using your best drifting skills.

The real thing: don’t pretend that you’re Lewis Hamilton, your car’s traction control isn’t working.


Our interpretation: the weather is perfect for driving your car.

The real thing: counter-intuitively, this means that one of car’s lights is not working.


Our interpretation: the weather is terrible for driving your car.

The real thing: the diesel exhaust fluid reservoir in your diesel car is low on fluid, so put some in.


Our interpretation: slam on your car’s brakes because there is no road up ahead.

The real thing: your car’s traction control is on, which must mean that you are losing control of it.


Our interpretation: get out of your car right now and go take an overdose, you X!?*#?!X

The real thing: you turned off your car’s overdrive, in case you don’t already know.


Our interpretation: your car’s window washing fluid is completely missing your windscreen and is hitting the car behind you.

The real thing: your car’s window washer fluid is low.


Our interpretation: there is a strange object bouncing around inside your car’s engine.

The real thing: whatever you do, don’t start your diesel engine yet.


Our interpretation: the baby wrapped in a blanket in your car requires your attention.

The real thing: a door is open and, even though the image implies its one of the front ones, it probably isn’t.


Our interpretation: stop driving your car with bubble gum in your mouth.

The real thing: your car’s airbag system is broken, which you can quickly and easily confirm for yourself.


Our interpretation: there is a hole in the side of your car, by the pedals.

The real thing: the diesel exhaust particulate filter on you car has failed and needs a look at, or, alternatively, scrap the car.


Our interpretation: a fish skeleton and a capital D?

The real thing: the fog lamp on your car is on, which is good to know because you probably didn’t know.


If your vehicle is in need of an MOT, service or repairs, be sure to book online with the use of our quick, easy and FREE online booking tool! You can compare the price, distance and reviews of thousands of garages to find the right one for you. 



Libby Simmons

Libby has been working for BookMyGarage writing articles, creating newsletters and handling the social media platforms. She works closely with ex-mechanics and subject matter experts to provide weekly blogs: essential advice on how to care for your car, need-to-know news and developments in the motoring world and helpful tips on how to cut the costs of running and maintaining your car.

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