Seat warning lights – what they mean and what do you need to do

Still learning the lights on your Leon? Intrigued by the icons on your Ibiza?

Let us help you decode your dashboard with the help of our handy guide.

The lights on a Seat 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

But what do all those different symbols mean? We’ve put together this guide to help you understand what the different yellow and red warning lights on your Seat dashboard mean, why they come on, how urgent the problem is and what you should do when you see them.

AdBlue warning light

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There’s no mistaking the distinctive AdBlue warning light. It can appear red, yellow or even alongside the image of a spanner.

The light only appears in diesel Seats, as the fluid is used to reduce the vehicle’s harmful nitrous oxide emissions. Without the liquid it would be much more difficult to lower emissions so they comply with Euro standards.

Red AdBlue light

The AdBlue level in your car is too low for the engine to restart.

Yellow AdBlue light

Your AdBlue level is running low.

AdBlue light with a spanner

Either there’s a fault in your AdBlue system or the wrong sort of AdBlue fluid has been used.

Can I still drive with my AdBlue warning light on?

If you decide to drive with the AdBlue warning light on, your car could be giving off dangerous emissions from the tailpipe.

Remember, if the light is red you probably won’t be able to restart your engine. It’s best to top up the fluid as soon as the yellow or red light appears on your dashboard.

You can check the type of AdBlue you’ll need in your vehicle handbook.

If the spanner sign lights up you should take your Seat to an RAC Approved Garage as soon as possible.

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Service interval warning light

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The service warning light will appear once your car covers a certain mileage, or after a set number of days. The intervals vary on individual models.

On some Seats the icon appears alongside a message reading: ‘Service in --- km/miles, or -- days’. The figures show the maximum time or distance the car can be driven before a service is due.

A ‘service now’ message will appear on some models, and if a visit is overdue a minus sign will appear next to the distance or time given.

Can I still drive with my service interval warning light on?

If you choose to ignore the service light and decide not to visit a trusted garage, you might find small mechanical faults go unnoticed.

A service will help you identify small problems before they escalate and require more expensive repair work. The routine appointments will also keep your car running more efficiently, potentially save you money on fuel costs, and help retain more of its resale value.

 

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Freezing warning light

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The freezing warning light will show when the outside temperature is below 4°C. It will flash when you start your engine and remain on until temperatures rise above 6°C.

Remember, the heat produced by the engine can affect the temperature displayed on the dashboard. Readings are often higher when the car is stationary or travelling at slower speeds.

Can I still drive with my freezing warning light on?

The freezing warning light doesn’t indicate any problems in your car so there should be no problem driving your Seat.

However, you should treat the light as a warning about driving conditions. If they’re particularly bad you should ask whether your journey is really necessary.

If it is, make sure your car is packed with all the essentials you need if the worst happens and you break down. Don’t hesitate to call for roadside assistance on 0330 159 1111, even if you’re not a member.

Our advice for winter driving will help you prepare your Seat and drive your car safely in difficult conditions. 

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Lightbulb warning light

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The lightbulb warning light is your car’s way of telling you there’s a problem with one or more of your exterior lights.

You might notice the problem yourself, but this useful warning light helps you to identify the problem at the earliest opportunity.

Can I still drive with my lightbulb warning light on?

If you choose to ignore the warning light and drive your car at night or in low-visibility conditions, you could find yourself in trouble with the police, as well posing obvious danger to yourself and other road users.

Rule 113 of the Highway Code says: “You MUST ensure all sidelights and rear registration plate lights are lit between sunset and sunrise”. It continues to explain the other ways that light should be used to stay on the right side of the law.

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Glow plug warning light

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Also known as the warming lamp light

The yellow coil turns on to show that glow plugs are preheating the diesel engine.

Your engine can be started right away when the light switches off.

Can I still drive with my glow plug warning light on?

If the warning light flashes while you’re driving it means a fault has developed in the engine management system.

You should take the Seat to a trusted garage as soon as possible.

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Gearbox warning light

seat-warning-lights-gearbox

This dashboard warning light appears when a gearbox becomes too hot or develops other faults over time. It often appears next to a range of other dashboard messages.

The instrument panel display will make things a lot clearer.

Can I still drive with my gearbox warning light on?

That depends. Some accompanying messages will tell you to stop the vehicle right away, while others will explain that you can continue driving. 

In both cases you should seek the help of an RAC Approved Garage. If the fault has caused you to break down, you can call for roadside assistance on 0330 159 1111, even if you’re not a member.

In some cases, the reverse gear may be disabled, or you could be asked to drive at moderate speeds. After an overheated gearbox has cooled down, a message on the dashboard may instruct you to press the brake and engage the gear again.  

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brake warning light

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Also known as the brake system warning light, parking brake warning light or brake fluid warning light.

If this red light remains on after you fully release the parking brake, or comes on when you’re driving, it may indicate that the brake fluid level is low. Unless you know how to check your brake fluid levels yourself, this will be one for the professionals. 

If the ABS warning light is also illuminated this signals that the braking system has malfunctioned and your brakes may not work properly. In this case the Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) warning light may also be illuminated.

Can I still drive with my brake 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.

Pull over and stop as soon as it’s safe to do so - keep your speed low and avoid braking suddenly. 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 are not functioning properly: call for recovery if you have a breakdown cover policy.

If you need assistance you can call the RAC on 0330 159 1111 whether you are a member or not.

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Engine management warning light

seat-warning-lights-check-engine

Also known as the MIL or engine management light.

When the engine management 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, like a fault with your emission control system or catalytic converter.

How long can I drive with my check engine light on?

If the check engine light comes on you should get it checked as soon as you can, as 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. Or, if you have RAC Breakdown Cover, call for recovery.

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Airbag warning light

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Also known as the airbag and seatbelt system warning light.

When this light goes red it means that at least one element of the airbag safety system is not working correctly: either the airbag system itself; the front passenger occupant classification system (which detects the front passenger’s weight and position in order to safely deploy the airbag); or the seat belt pretensioner system, which tightens the belt in the event of a crash.

Can I still drive with my airbag light on?

If the airbag system is not working properly, it may not go off in a crash - or in some cases it could even deploy unexpectedly and cause a crash. Either way, the airbag system is an incredibly important safety feature of your car so if this light comes on please get it checked out immediately.

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Electronic power steering warning light

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Also known as the EPS or EPAS warning light.

This warning light indicates that there’s a problem with the power steering.

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 after 30 seconds. If the light stays on you should take your car to get checked as soon as possible.

Can I drive with my EPS light on?

You can but 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.

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Diesel particulate filter warning light

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Also known as the DPF or exhaust particulate filter warning light.

If you have a diesel, one of these lights will come on if there is a problem with the exhaust 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 these filters can be expensive to replace. 

Learn more about diesel particulate filters and how to maintain them.

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Engine temperature warning light

seat-warning-lights-engine-temperature

Also known as the coolant temperature warning light.

This light will come on when the engine is overheating. This could mean that coolant levels are running low, perhaps 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 engine overheating 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 to fix the underlying problem. 

An overheating engine can cut out as well. Rather than risk it, you should call for recovery if you have breakdown cover.

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Oil pressure warning light

seat-warning-lights-oil

Also known as the low engine oil or low oil pressure light.

The 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 low engine 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 for recovery if you have breakdown cover, as driving any further could damage the engine. Watch our video guide to checking your car’s engine oil.

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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Tyre pressure monitoring warning light

seat-warning-lights-tyre-pressure

Also known as the run flat indicator RPA or low tyre pressure warning 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.

The light often appears with an on-screen message to let you know which tyres you should check.

Can I still drive with my 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.

Battery warning light

seat-warning-lights-battery

Also known as the battery charge light or battery charging system 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 charging system 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!

If you do run out of charge, you can try to jump start it, or call for recovery if you have RAC Breakdown cover

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Anti-lock brake system (ABS) warning light

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

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 for recovery if you have breakdown cover.

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For roadside assistance, you can call the RAC on 0330 159 1111 even if you’re not a member.

Electronic stability control (ESC) or dynamic stability control DSC warning light

seat-warning-lights-stability

Also known as Electronic Stability Problem (ESP) light or ASR light.

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 not working properly.

The ESP light will light up with the word ‘OFF’ if the system has been deactivated, in which case you may have inadvertently turned it off.

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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brake pad warning light

seat-warning-lights-brake-pad

Also called the brake pad wear warning light, if this symbol shows up it means a sensor has detected your brake pads are too thin.

Can I drive with my brake pad light on?

This warning light should come on before the brake pads become dangerously thin, so you have time to get them changed. You should replace as soon as you can though, as if they wear out completely it could be extremely dangerous.

For more information read our guide to brake pads

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