Vauxhall dashboard warning lights – what they mean

Whether you’re driving a Vauxhall Corsa, Astra, Mokka, Insignia, Nova, 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:

 vauxhall-warning-lights-brake-system Vauxhall brake system warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-check-engine Vauxhall engine / transmission electronics light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-electric-power-steering Vauxhall electric power steering (EPS) system warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-diesel-particulate-filter Vauxhall diesel particulate filter (DPF) warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-water-in-diesel-fuel Vauxhall water in diesel fuel filter warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-engine-cooling Vauxhall engine coolant temperature warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-engine-oil-pressure Vauxhall engine oil pressure warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-change-engine-oil Vauxhall oil change warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-tyre-pressure Vauxhall tyre pressure monitoring warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-air-suspension-fault Vauxhall air suspension fault light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-charging-system Vauxhall charging system warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-ABS Vauxhall anti-lock brake system (ABS) warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-electric-stability-control Vauxhall electronic stability control (ESC) warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-automatic-transmission Vauxhall automatic transmission warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-easytronic Vauxhall Easytronic transmission electronics warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-bulb-replacement Vauxhall bulb replacement warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-brake-pads Vauxhall brake pads worn warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-srs Vauxhall airbag & belt tensioners system warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-following-distance Vauxhall following distance indicator warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-engine-decent-control Vauxhall descent control system (DCS) warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-unintended-lane-change Vauxhall unintended lane change warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-ultrasonic-parking-assist Vauxhall ultrasonic parking assist system warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-immobiliser-system Vauxhall immobiliser system warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-continuous-damping-control Vauxhall continuous damping control (CDC) warning light
 vauxhall-warning-lights-interactive-driving-system Vauxhall interactive driving system (IDS) warning light

 

Modern Vauxhall 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 Vauxhall dashboard means? Read our guide to find out what each Vauxhall warning light means, why they come on, how urgent the problem is and what you should do when you see them. 

 

Vauxhall brake system warning light

vauxhall-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.

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

Or: Find a garage.

Vauxhall engine / transmission electrionics warning light

vauxhall-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 to a much larger mechanical issue.

Can I drive with my engine transmission electronics 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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Vauxhall electronic power steering (EPS) warning

vauxhall-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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Vauxhall diesel particulate filter (DPF) warning light

vauxhall-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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Vauxhall water in diesel fuel filter warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-water-in-diesel-fuel

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 Vauxhall 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 water in diesel fuel filter 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.

Vauxhall engine coolant temperature warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-engine-cooling

This light will come on if the engine is overheating. This may indicate that coolant levels are low, in which case the low coolant level warning light may also be illuminated. 

Low coolant levels could be due to a leak in the system or it could be a sign of a larger problem, like a head gasket failure.

Sometimes this light will be flashing, in which case, the issue may be related to the sensor malfunctioning.

Can I still drive with my engine coolant temperature 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.

Vauxhall engine oil pressure warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-engine-oil-pressure

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 oil pressure 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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Vauxhall oil change warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-change-engine-oil

This light comes on to remind you to change your engine oil. Vauxhall 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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Vauxhall tyre pressure monitoring warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-tyre-pressure

Many Vauxhall 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 monitoring 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.

If the yellow light is flashing this indicates a fault with the monitoring system itself, which you should get checked out as soon as you can.

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Vauxhall air suspension fault warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-air-suspension-fault

If this warning light comes on you’ll probably notice that your Vauxhall car feels harder to handle, less stable, and it may be lower to the ground than normal. It could signal a leak in one of the inflatable bags that sit above the wheels and cushions your ride, or it could indicate a problem with the air compressor.

Can I still drive with my air suspension light on?

The severity of the problem will impact on your ability to drive safely. If the handling is poor you should stop as soon as it is safe to do so and call for roadside assistance.

Even if the handling is not adversely affected, without suspension the impact of any bumps or knocks will be transferred to the body of the car, and may cause considerable damage, so drive carefully to a garage to get it checked out as soon as you can.

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

Find a garage

Vauxhall charging system warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-charging-system

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 vehicle charging 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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Vauxhall anti-lock brake system (ABS) warning light

vauxhall-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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Vauxhall electronic stability control (ESC) warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-electric-stability-control

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 EPS 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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Vauxhall automatic transmission warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-automatic-transmission

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 automatic 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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Vauxhall Easytronic Transmission Electronics (ESU) warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-easytronic

Some Vauxhall models have an Easytronic system that allows the computer – known as the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) – to take control of the manual gearbox and clutch so that the car can operate in an automatic or semi-automatic mode.

Can I still drive with my ESU light on?

This system is not essential but if this warning light comes on you’ll need to enlist the help of a professional to find the cause of the fault.

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Vauxhall bulb replacement warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-bulb-replacement

This light will come on if one of your lights needs replacing.

Can I still drive with my bulb replacement 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, either for a verbal warning, a notice to get the light fixed within 14 days, or even a fine and points on your license.

Read our guide to checking your lights.

Vauxhall brake pads worn warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-brake-pads

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 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.

Vauxhall airbag & belt tensioners system warning light

vauxhall-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. 

Don’t confuse this warning light with the yellow Seat Occupancy Recognition indicator (a backwards-facing child in a car seat), which lights up when a child restraint has been detected to show that the airbag has been turned off for the passenger seat.

Can I still drive with my airbag and belt 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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Vauxhall following distance indicator warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-following-distance

Many modern Vauxhall models now have a following distance indicator system that monitors the traffic in front of your car, measuring the distance and relative speed of the vehicles ahead, to warn you if you get too close. It even prepares the brakes for emergency braking if it senses that you’re in danger of collision.

Can I still drive with my following distance light on?

Yes, but you should re-evaluate your driving style, tailgating is dangerous and illegal. This light will go red when it detects a risk of collision, warning you that you should take evasive action or brake to avoid a crash.

Vauxhall descent control system (DCS) warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-engine-decent-control

When activated, the DCS automatically keeps your car at a safe speed when driving downhill so you can concentrate on the road, rather than braking. This yellow warning light indicates a fault with DCS, or if it’s flashing, that the system is not ready.

Can I still drive with my DCS light on?

This is a useful feature but not an essential one. If the DCS isn’t working take extra care when driving downhill and get it looked at when you can to check it’s not a sign of a wider problem with the computer unit.

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Vauxhall unintended lane change warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-unintended-lane-change

The unintended lane change feature on Vauxhall cars uses a camera sensor on the upper portion of the front windshield to detect white and yellow lines on the road.

This flashing yellow warning light will come on 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.

Vauxhall ultrasonic parking assist system warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-ultrasonic-parking-assist

Common in newer Vauxhall models, the Ultrasonic Parking Assist system uses sensors to measure the distance of objects around you when parking, giving an audible beep that gradually becomes more panicked the closer you get to hitting something.

Can I still drive with my parking assist light on?

Yes, unless you're a very nervous parker! If this warning light comes on, signalling a fault with the system, it may be due to dirt or even ice and snow blocking the sensors. If the system remains inactive even after you’ve cleaned the sensors then you’ll need a professional to take a look.

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Vauxhall immobiliser system warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-immobiliser-system

Also known as the Open & Start system, if your Vauxhall has a keyless ignition, this light will come on for a few seconds when you start your car, to show that the correct key has been used. If the computer doesn’t recognise the key, this warning light will flash and you won’t be able to start the car.

Check that your key is close enough to the receiver to be recognised, and if you still have a problem check your owner’s manual for guidance - if your key is not working properly you may need to contact an authorised dealer to fix the issue.

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Vauxhall continuous damping control (CDC) warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-continuous-damping-control

This red light on your Vauxhall dashboard warns when there is a fault with the CDC system, which tightens and loosens the suspension based on factors like road conditions and the weight of the load on the vehicle.

Can I still drive with my CDC light on?

You’ll still safe to drive, but you may notice the car doesn’t handle as well, and if there is a fault with the CDC system you won’t be able to switch into the Sport mode, so it’s worth getting it checked out at a garage when you can.

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Vauxhall interactive driving system (IDS) warning light

vauxhall-warning-lights-interactive-driving-system

The IDS system also activates when your Vauxhall is in sports mode, managing processes like CDC to improve handling and control.

Can I still drive with my IDS light on?

If this light comes on it highlights a fault in the system - you’ll be fine to keep driving but you should get it checked at a garage when you get a chance to find out the root of the problem.

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