Mini dashboard warning lights – what they mean

Whether you’re driving a Mini Cooper, Mini Countryman, Mini Clubman, Mini Convertible, or another model, the warning lights on the dashboard follow a traffic light colour system:

  • Green: the system is working correctly or is currently in use
  • Yellow: something is not working correctly - take extra care and check it out as soon as possible
  • Red: there is a serious, and potentially dangerous problem - stop driving as soon as it is safe to do so

Click a warning light to learn more:

  Mini brake system warning light
  Mini check engine warning light
  Mini electronic power control (EPC) warning light
  Mini steering warning light
  Mini diesel particulate filter (DPF) warning light
  Mini coolant warning light
  Mini oil warning light
  Mini low tyre pressure light
  Mini battery charge warning light
  Mini anti-lock braking system (ABS) warning light
  Mini ESP/ASR warning light
  Mini AdBlue® No Restart Warning light
  Mini automatic transmission / gearbox warning light
  Mini brake light bulb warning light
  Mini brake pad wear warning light
  Mini diesel engine pre-glow warning light
  Mini Direct-Shift Gearbox (DSG®) transmission too hot warning light

 

Not sure what that yellow flashing symbol on your Mini dashboard means? Read our guide to find out what each warning light means and what you should do if they light up.

The modern Mini is filled with lots of sensors that monitor how each system in the car is behaving. The lights on the dashboard display what systems are in use and they also highlight when one of those systems isn’t working as it should.

Mini brake system warning light

mini-warning-lights-brake-system

If this red light remains on after you fully release the parking brake, or comes on when you’re driving, it could indicate that either the brake fluid level is low or that the Automatic Braking system isn’t working properly – in which case the ABS warning light will also be illuminated.

Can I drive with my brake system warning light on?

You shouldn't risk it. The brakes are one of the most important safety features of your car, so it’s important to act immediately when you see this red warning light.

If the red brake warning light comes on when you’re driving you should pull over and stop as soon as it’s safe to do so. Unless you know how to check your brake fluid levels yourself, this will be one for the professionals, so get yourself to a garage.

Don’t risk driving when your brakes aren’t functioning properly: call for recovery.

Broken down?

If you’re not a member and you have already broken down, don’t worry, we can still help. You can’t buy cover online, ring us now and we will provide instant Roadside cover and attend your breakdown. Call us on 03301 598 751.

Mini check engine warning light

When the check engine warning light is illuminated it’s often accompanied by tell-tale signs that the engine is not working properly, such as a lack of power or stuttering as you press the accelerator. This light could indicate a number of faults, from minor issues like a broken electrical sensor to a much larger mechanical issue.

Can I drive with my check engine light on?

You can, but if the check engine light comes on you should get your car looked at as soon as possible. By continuing to drive you risk causing further, potentially irreparable damage to your engine.

Use our search tool to find your nearest RAC approved garage.

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Mini electronic power control (EPC) warning

EPC is a computerised ignition and engine management system. This warning light usually signifies that there’s something wrong with the throttle system, and is often accompanied by other warning lights such as the check engine light or the stability control warning light.

You’ll probably notice that the engine is not functioning properly, and the car may feel sluggish to drive as the computer may automatically put the car into a ‘safe’ mode.

Can I drive with my EPC light on?

If the EPC light comes on you should still be safe to drive but you should proceed to get it checked out straight away to prevent further damage, as the severity of the problem could vary greatly.   

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Mini steering warning light

Also known as the EPAS (electric power-assisted steering) warning light, this indicates a problem with the power steering.

Can I still drive with my steering light on?

If the power steering system fails you will notice that the car is harder to manoeuvre and you should take extra care – it could be dangerous to drive at high motorway speeds without power steering assistance.

For electric powered systems, this problem could be as simple to fix as rebooting a computer. Find a safe place to stop and try turning the car off and back on again. If the light stays on you should take your car to get checked as soon as possible.

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Mini diesel particulate filter (DPF) warning light

This light will come on if there is a problem the with diesel particulate filter, which removes harmful soot from the exhaust gases to reduce emissions. It could indicate that the filter has become blocked with soot.

Can I still drive with my DPF light on?

As well as releasing a plume of toxic black smoke every time you press the accelerator, driving with a blocked filter could cause more serious damage to your car. You should go to a garage to get it checked as soon as you can, as DPFs can be expensive to replace.

Learn more about Diesel Particulate Filters and how to maintain them.

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Mini coolant warning light

This light will come on when coolant levels are running low and the engine is overheating. This could be due to a leak in the system or it could be a sign of a larger problem, like a head gasket failure.

Can I still drive with my coolant light on?

If this light is red you should stop straight away, as without enough coolant your engine could get so hot that it effectively welds itself together, causing irreparable damage.

Stop and wait until the engine has cooled off before checking the gauge on the side of the coolant tank under the bonnet, topping up as required. Read our guide to checking your engine coolant.

While you’re under the hood, have a look to see if there are any obvious leaks. If you can’t see any and the light goes off after topping up then you should be fine to continue your journey. If the light comes back on again after topping up you should get it checked out at a garage to fix the underlying problem.

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Mini oil warning light

The yellow oil warning light comes on when either the oil temperature gets too high or the oil level or pressure is too low. If the oil is not lubricating the engine effectively it could lead to expensive or even irreparable engine damage, so it’s important to act quickly.

Can I still drive with my oil light on?

When this light comes on you should stop as soon as possible and turn off the engine. Have a look for any obvious oil leaks under the car, and then check the oil levels, topping up if necessary. If the oil levels are fine, then the oil pump may be faulty. In this case call the RAC for recovery, as driving any further could damage the engine.

Watch our video guide to checking your car’s engine oil.

Broken down?

If you’re not a member and you have already broken down, don’t worry, we can still help. You can’t buy cover online, ring us now and we will provide instant Roadside cover and attend your breakdown. Call us on 03301 598 751.

Mini low tyre pressure light

Many cars are now fitted with tyre pressure monitoring systems that will let you know when the pressure falls. This could happen over time or it could be because of a puncture.

Can I still drive with my low tyre pressure light on?

Yes, but you should drive with extra care and aim to top up with air at the next opportunity. Low tyre pressure can cause unsafe driving conditions so reduce your speed, and try to avoid braking suddenly or making any violent steering manoeuvres.

Most petrol stations and garages will have an air compressor you can use to check your tyre pressure. Top up the air in the tyres according to the vehicle manufacturer specification in your owner's manual.

If you have a puncture, watch our video to learn how to change a tyre in 10 simple steps.

Mini battery charge warning light

If this light comes on when you’re driving it indicates that the battery is not charging. This could be due to a problem with your car’s electrical system and it could have several causes, such as a faulty alternator, faulty battery, bad electrical connection or damaged cabling.

Can I still drive with my battery light on?

Your car will run as normal until the battery is dead but once it is drained nothing in your car will work – so get to a garage quickly before you run out of juice!

You may have to buy a new battery as well, so use our car battery tool to find the right one for your car.

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Mini anti-lock braking system (ABS) warning light

ABS is an important safety feature that really comes into play when you need to make an abrupt stop, or when driving in difficult driving conditions like ice and flooding.

Can I still drive with my ABS light on?

If the ABS light comes on by itself you should still have normal, unassisted braking, so it's safe to continue your journey – but keep your distance, take extra care, and get it checked as soon as possible. If it comes on with the brake warning light, it could indicate that the brake system is failing and you should stop straight away and call the RAC for recovery.

Broken down?

If you’re not a member and you have already broken down, don’t worry, we can still help. You can’t buy cover online, ring us now and we will provide instant Roadside cover and attend your breakdown. Call us on 03301 598 751.

Mini ESP/ASR (Electronic Stabilization Program/Anti-Slip Regulation) warning light

This warning light indicates a problem with traction control. If it’s flashing it means the ESP system is intervening – for example, if you’re driving on a slippery road. If the light stays on it means the ESP system is deactivated.

Can I still drive with my ABS light on?

Since this system only kicks in when you're losing traction on loose ground or ice, you should be okay to drive with due care if you're on normal road surfaces.

You may have inadvertently turned off the ESP system. To check, try stopping and restarting the engine. If the light remains on after restarting get it checked at a garage as the ESP system is an important safety feature. 

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Mini AdBlue® no restart warning light

Adblue® is a type of diesel exhaust fluid. If this light turns yellow it means the diesel exhaust fluid level is low, which will eventually prevent your engine from starting.

Can I still drive with my AdBlue® light on?

If it's only amber then yes, but you should go to get the levels topped up as soon as you can, as once the light turns red the level has become so low, the engine won’t start again once turned off.

Mini automatic transmission / gearbox warning light

This warning light may indicate a fault with the transmission – often that the transmission fluid temperature is higher than normal – or it could serve as a reminder that your transmission fluid levels are getting low and need to be topped up.

Can I still drive with my transmission light on?

Continuing to drive could cause more extensive damage and automatic transmissions can be expensive to replace. If you have the skills and confidence, you could check and top up the transmission fluid yourself but it’s wise to get any problems checked by a professional.

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Mini brake light bulb warning light

This light will come on if one or more of your brake lights has burned out.

Can I still drive with my brake lights warning light on?

You’ll need to get this replaced as soon as you can, not least because they’re an important safety feature but also because if you continue driving with a brake light out you may get pulled over the police. If this happens they could either give you a verbal warning, a notice to get the light fixed within 14 days, or even a fine and points on your licence.

Read our guide to checking your lights.

Mini brake pad wear warning light

If this light comes it means that a sensor has detected that your brake pads are too thin. This warning light should come on before the brake pads become dangerously thin, so you have time to get them changed.

Can I still drive with my brake pad wear light on?

No, if your brake pads wear out completely it could be extremely dangerous. You should get them replaced as soon as you can - get your motor booked in with your nearest garage.

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For more information read our guide to brake pads.

Mini diesel engine pre-flow warning light

This light will normally turn on when your engine is warming up, however if it’s flashing this indicates that it’s not working properly and the glow plugs may need replacing.

Can I still drive with my pre-flow light on?

No, you could damage the engine so get it checked by a professional as soon as possible. A fault with the glow plugs may put the engine into safe mode to prevent any damage to the engine so you may experience a noticeable drop in performance until the problem is fixed.

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Mini Direct-Shift Gearbox (DSG®) transmission too hot warning light

The DSG® is an electronically controlled manual gearbox that lets you switch between semi-manual and automatic modes. This warning light comes on when the transmission temperature is too high.

Can I still drive with my DSG® too hot light on?

Stop straight away if you see this light and give the transmission time to cool down. Otherwise you risk doing serious damage to your car. Shut off the engine and wait for at least 10 minutes before trying to restart the car. It’s a good idea to get it tested at a garage if it comes on frequently.

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