Toyota dashboard warning lights – what they mean

Whether you’re driving a Toyota Aygo, Yaris, Camry, Corolla, Land Cruiser, RAV4, or another model, the warning lights on your 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:

 toyota-warning-lights-brake-system Toyota brake system warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-engine-malfunction Toyota engine malfunction light
 toyota-warning-lights-electric-power-steering Toyota electric power steering (EPS) system warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-dpf Toyota diesel particulate filter (DPF) warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-fuel-filter Toyota fuel filter warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-high-engine-coolant Toyota high engine coolant temperature warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-oil-pressure Toyota oil pressure warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-engine-oil-change Toyota engine oil change warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-service-reminder Toyota service reminder warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-tyre-pressure Toyota tyre pressure warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-battery-change Toyota battery charge warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-ABS Toyota anti-lock brake system (ABS) warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-brake-override-system Toyota brake override system warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-slip-indicator Toyota slip indicator warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-trc-off Toyota TRC off warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-rear-lock Toyota rear differential lock warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-4lo Toyota low speed four-wheel drive warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-adblue Toyota AdBlue® warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-srs Toyota airbag warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-lane-departure-alert Toyota lane departure warning light
 toyota-warning-lights-precrash-safety-system Toyota pre-crash safety (PCS) warning light

 

Modern Toyota cars are 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 is not working as it should.

Not sure what that yellow flashing symbol on your Toyota dashboard means? Read our guide to find out what each Toyota warning light means, why they come on, how urgent the problem is and what you should do when you see them.

 

Toyota brake system warning light

toyota-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 means that the braking system is malfunctioning.

It could also 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.

If you need assistance you can call the RAC on 03301 598 751 whether you are a member or not.

Or: Find a garage.

Toyota engine malfunction warning light

toyota-warning-lights-check-engine

Commonly known as the ‘check engine’ light, when this 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 gas cap, or a faulty mass airflow sensor to a much larger mechanical issue.

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

If the check engine light comes on you should get your car looked at by a mechanic. By continuing to drive you could risk causing further, potentially irreparable damage to your engine.

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

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Toyota electronic power steering (EPS) warning

toyota-warning-lights-electric-power-steering

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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Toyota diesel particulate filter (DPF) warning light

toyota-warning-lights-diesel-particulate-filter

This light will come on if there is a problem with the diesel particulate filter, which removes harmful soot from the exhaust gases to reduce emissions. On Vauxhall cars it indicates that the filter is full or 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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Toyota fuel filter warning light

toyota-warning-lights-fuel-filter

Diesel fuel filters separate out the traces of water found in diesel fuel before it gets into the engine, where it could cause damage. This yellow light indicates that the diesel fuel filter is full and needs to be emptied.

On some vehicles you will need to empty the filter manually, whereas on others, this may be done automatically. Check your owner’s manual to see how it works on your Toyota model.

If the filter should empty automatically this warning light may mean that this system is not working properly, in which case you should get it checked out as soon as you can.

Can I still drive with my fuel filter warning light on?

Although you are safe to continue driving with this warning light on you should empty the fuel filter as soon as you can - if the water begins to seep into our engine it could cause serious damage. Head to a garage if you're not sure how.

Toyota high engine coolant temperature warning light

toyota-warning-lights-high-engine-coolant

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 engine coolant temperature light on?

If this light is red you should stop right 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.

Toyota oil pressure warning light

toyota-warning-lights-oil-pressure

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 engine oil pressure 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, as driving any further could damage the engine. 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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Toyota engine oil change warning light

toyota-warning-lights-engine-oil-change

This light comes on to remind you to change your engine oil. Toyota recommends that you change your oil on a regular basis, so this light will come on automatically once you have driven a certain number of miles since the indicator was last reset.

Once you have replaced the oil you will need to reset the indicator. Take a look at your car’s owner manual to find out how. 

Can I still drive with my change oil light on?

Yes, but it will extend the life of your engine if you treat it to regular servicing

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

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Toyota service reminder warning light

toyota-warning-lights-service-reminder

As with the Engine Oil Change warning light, modern Toyotas will also monitor how many miles you’ve driven since your last service and automatically remind you to go for a service when you reach a specified amount. 

Likewise, though it may take many thousands of miles of driving before you see it, the ‘T-BELT’ warning light will light up when your mileage clock hits a certain number, to remind you to change the timing belt (cambelt).

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

Toyota tyre pressure warning light

toyota-warning-lights-tyre-pressure

Many Toyota 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 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.

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Toyota battery charge warning light

toyota-warning-lights-battery-change

If this light comes on when you’re driving it indicates that the alternator is not making electricity and your car is running off battery power.

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 charge 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!

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Toyota anti-lock brake system (ABS) warning light

toyota-warning-lights-ABS

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.

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Toyota brake override system warning light

toyota-warning-lights-brake-override-system

This yellow warning light will alert you if you are pressing the brake pedal and the accelerator at the same time, effectively stopping the brakes from working. Tragically, there have been a number of horrible accidents caused by this simple mistake so Toyota have included this warning light on newer models to warn you.

If this light comes on release the accelerator and press the brake pedal again as normal. If the light is flashing, this indicates that there is a fault with the Brake Override system itself and you should get it checked out as soon as possible.

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Toyota slip indicator warning light

toyota-warning-lights-slip-indicator

This warning light indicates a problem with traction control.

Can I still drive with my slip indicator light on?

If it’s flashing it means the traction system is intervening – for example, if you’re driving on a slippery road. Slow down and allow your car to regain traction. If the light stays on it means the system is deactivated.

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

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Toyota TRC off warning light

toyota-warning-lights-trc-off

Toyota’s Traction Control System (TRC) is designed to maintain drive power and stop the drive wheels from spinning when you start your car or accelerate on slippery roads. This warning light simply indicates that the system is off.

Toyota rear differential lock warning light

toyota-warning-lights-rear-lock

Some Toyota cars come with a Rear Differential Lock system that prevents the rear wheels from spinning to give you extra traction and control when you’re in stuck in slippery mud, for example.

When you engage the system by pressing the switch, this red warning light will come on to remind you that the lock has been activated and you should keep your speed below 5 mph. When you switch off the system the light should go off.

Toyota low speed four-wheel drive warning light

toyota-warning-lights-4lo

If you have a 4WD Toyota, this light will come on when you switch the car into the ‘low’ version of the four-wheel drive mode, which gives you maximum power and traction. This mode is perfect for climbing or descending steep hills, and off-road driving in sand, mud or deep snow. 

This light serves mostly as a reminder that the system is engaged, as you should never use 4WD mode on dry road surfaces.

Toyota AdBlue® warning light

toyota-warning-lights-adblue

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?

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. 

If you need advice on topping up your diesel exhaust fluid levels, read our guide to AdBlue®.

Toyota airbag / supplemental restraint system warning light

toyota-warning-lights-srs

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 seatbelt 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 could even deploy unexpectedly and cause a crash. Either way, the airbag system is an incredibly important safety feature so if this light comes on get it checked out immediately.

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Toyota lane departure alert (LDA) warning light

toyota-warning-lights-lane-departure-alert

The LDA system uses a camera sensor on the upper portion of the front windshield to detect white and yellow lines on the road. This warning light will come on - along with an audible beep - to alert you if the car is drifting into an adjacent lane without first signalling.

To turn off the light, carefully steer the car back into the centre of the lane.

Toyota pre-crash safety (PCS) warning light

toyota-warning-lights-precrash-safety-system

The PCS system is a safety feature on Toyota cars that uses a sensor to scan the road ahead, measuring the distance and relative speed of the vehicles in front, so that it can warn you - both visually and audibly - if you get too close.

It prepares the brakes for emergency braking if it senses that you’re in danger of collision, adding extra force, and if a crash is imminent, the system will automatically apply the brakes and retract the seatbelts to brace you.

If the yellow warning light comes on it means the system is temporarily unavailable, possibly because the sensor is either too hot or cold, or clogged with dirt. Try waiting for the sensor to cool down/heat up, and check to see if there is anything blocking the sensor.

Can I still drive with my PCS light on?

Yes, but it's an important safety feature that should be active, and if the light flashes this means there is a bigger malfunction in the system that you need to get looked at by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.

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