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

Whether you’re riding a Yamaha, Ducati, Kawasaki or a Harley, motorcycle warning lights follow a traffic light colour system to indicate the severity of the warning:

  • Green/Blue: A system is active and working as it should.
  • Amber: There’s a fault somewhere - take extra care and have a look as soon as possible.
  • Red: There’s a serious fault on your motorbike – stop driving as soon as it is safe to do so.

Not sure what that warning light is trying to tell you? Or perhaps you’re studying before taking your test? Read our guide to find out what each motorbike warning light means and what you should do if they light up. 

 

Click a warning light to learn more:

 motorbike-warning-lights-engine-temperature Motorbike engine temperature warning light
 motorbike-warning-lights-ignition-system Motorbike ignition light
 motorbike-warning-lights-ABS Motorbike ABS warning light
 motorbike-warning-lights-engine-oil-pressure Motorbike oil pressure warning light
 motorbike-warning-lights-engine-management Motorbike engine management warning
 motorbike-neutral Motorbike neutral light
 motorbike-indicators Motorbike indicators and hazard warning light symbols

Motorbike engine temperature warning light

motorbike-warning-lights-engine-temperature

If your engine regularly overheats, pistons and cylinders are likely to become warped, and with so much wiring near the engine, the electrics are also at risk. 

The engine temperature warning light is your best tool in avoiding this damage. This warning light will illuminate when coolant levels are running low or there’s a leak in the system. 

Can I still ride with my engine temperature light on?

You’ll be able to ride with the engine temperature light on. However, the best response is to turn your engine off as soon as possible and allow it to cool before taking a look, and topping up with coolant if necessary.

If the light comes back on again after topping up you should get it checked out to fix the underlying problem.

Motorbike ignition light

motorbike-warning-lights-ignition-system

This light appears on two occasions. Firstly, the light will appear for a few seconds when switching your ignition on, a sign that your starter system is working well. 

Secondly, the light may stay on after a few seconds or suddenly turn on when riding. This is a warning that you have a problem with your electrical system. 

Can I still ride with my ignition light on?

The ignition light won’t affect your riding but it’s always best to turn your engine off as soon as it is safe. A battery that fails to charge will need replacing, and failing to do so could mean breakdowns or significant damage for your bike.

Get yourself to a garage before your battery loses the ability to hold charge completely.

Find a garage

Motorbike ABS warning light

motorbike-warning-lights-ABS

An ABS system is designed to prevent you skidding when applying your brakes. 

With balance playing such a vital role in motorbike driving, ABS is an important safety feature when braking quickly and in wet or icy conditions. 

Many other lights on your dashboard will illuminate with ignition and switch off a few seconds later. However, some ABS lights will only extinguish after reaching 10 to 15mph, the speed at which the system becomes activated. 

Can I still ride with my ABS light on?

If the light remains on at higher speeds, there’s something wrong with your ABS system, but thankfully this doesn’t affect your normal brakes. 

You’ll still be able to ride, but take extra care – particularly in adverse weather conditions – so find a garage to have a look. 

Find a garage

For more information read our guide to brake pads.

Motorbike oil pressure warning light

motorbike-warning-lights-engine-oil-pressure

Oil is used as a lubricant in your bike which reduces friction between moving parts.

It’s the job of the oil pressure warning light to highlight low pressure which occurs with low oil levels. 

Can I still ride with my oil pressure light on?

If you see this light, it’s important to stop as soon as safely possible and turn off the engine. If oil pressure levels drop, your bike is at risk of damage. 

Check your oil levels, and if it's low, top it up with after your engine has cooled down. If the light comes back on, you think you have plenty of oil in the system or you're losing oil quickly after topping up, take your bike to a garage

Find a garage

Motorbike engine management warning

motorbike-warning-lights-engine-management

Engine management systems are responsible for monitoring a range of features and its warning light should go out a few seconds after ignition. 

If you find the light stays on after this time you could have problems with emissions, air intake, fuel… the list goes on.

Can I still ride with my engine management light on?

Driving with the engine management light on risks further damage to your engine, and as there’s several potential problems that could be the cause, it’s best to visit a professional as soon as you can.

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

Find a garage

Motorbike neutral light

motorbike-neutral

The least complicated dashboard light, the neutral light lets you know when your motorbike is set to neutral. 

Can I still ride with my neutral light on?

If the neutral light is showing whilst you’re riding (and not in neutral) it must be faulty. Your riding shouldn’t be affected but have a professional take a look and fix the problem light.

Motorbike indicators and hazard warning light symbols

motorbike-indicators

Indicator warning lights are there to let you know that your indicators are flashing in a given direction, or when both directions are used, that you’re alerting other drivers to a hazard.

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