You’re in the right place if you need to know the meaning of the various dashboard warning lights of your VW Golf!
There are certain lights on your dashboard that we want to be visible when we’re driving. Is it a little gas pump symbol? This signifies you’re running out of gas. The check engine light is a little ambiguous, while some others are a complete mystery.
You’ve most likely worked it out by now, but just in case you haven’t, the colours for each dashboard light aren’t chosen at random. Regardless of the manufacturer, your turn signal is always green when you switch it on. This is because green lights indicate that a system is operational, but nothing is wrong with it. In other cases, such as your high beams, a blue or white dashboard symbol will appear instead. All of these colors are OK; they serve as a reminder that something is turned on that you may wish to turn off at some point.
The warning lights on your dashboard, whether you’re driving a VW Golf, Passat, Polo, or another model, follow a traffic light color system:
- Green: the system is working correctly or is currently in use
- Yellow or orange: 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
Modern Volkswagens have a slew of sensors that keep track of how each system in the vehicle is performing. The lights on the dashboard indicate which systems are in use and when one of those systems is not functioning properly.
Not sure what that yellow flashing symbol on your VW dashboard means? Continue to read to find out what each Volkswagen warning light means, why they come on, how urgent the problem is, and what you should do when you see them.
Volkswagen Dashboard Warning Lights – What They Mean
VW brake system warning light
Suppose this red light remains on even after the parking brake is fully released or illuminates while driving. In that case, it may indicate a low brake fluid level or improper functioning of the automatic braking system. In this case, the ABS warning light will light up too.
Can I drive with the brake system warning light on?
You shouldn’t risk it. Brakes are one of your car’s most important safety features, so it is important to act when you see this red warning light.
If the red brake warning light comes on while driving, you should stop as soon as it is safe. If you don’t know how to check your brake fluid level yourself, this is for the pros, so go to a repair shop.
Don’t risk driving if the brakes are not working properly – call Automotive Hospital and we can send a tow truck to collect you.
VW check engine warning light
This is known as an emissions indicator or an engine indicator light on VW vehicles, but you will likely know it as an engine indicator light.
When the engine check light comes on, it is often accompanied by tell-tale signs that the engine is not running properly, such as loss of power or stuttering when accelerating. This light can indicate a range of faults, from minor problems like a defective electrical sensor to a much larger mechanical problem.
Can I drive with the engine indicator light on?
If the check engine light comes on, your car should be checked by a mechanic. If you keep driving, you risk further potentially irreparable damage to your engine.
VW electronic power control (EPC) warning
EPC is a computerised engine management and ignition system. This warning light called the petrol engine indicator light in VW vehicles, usually means something is wrong with the throttle system and is often accompanied by other warning lights such as the engine indicator light or the stability control warning light.
You will likely find that the engine is not working properly, and the car may be driving slowly as the computer automatically places the car in a “safe” mode.
Can I drive with the EPC light switched on?
If the EPC light comes on, it should still be safe to drive, but you should have it checked to avoid further damage as the severity of the problem can vary widely.
VW power steering system warning light
Also known as an EPAS (Electric Power-Assisted Steering) warning light, it indicates a problem with the power steering.
Can I continue driving with the power steering light on?
If the power steering fails, you will find that the car is more difficult to maneuver, and you need to be very careful; It can be dangerous to drive without power steering at high motorway speeds.
For systems that run on electricity, this problem can be fixed as easily as restarting a computer. Find a safe stop and try turning your car off and on again. If the lights remain on, you should have your car checked as soon as possible at the Automotive Hospital in Sydney.
VW steering lock warning light
The steering wheel lock is an anti-theft device that prevents people from driving the car without a key and effectively locks the steering wheel in place if someone tries to turn the steering wheel with the ignition off.
Can I continue driving with the steering lock light on?
A yellow warning light means a fault in the system, which you should check as soon as possible. If the traffic light turns red while driving, you should stop immediately and carefully and call roadside assistance, as the steering wheel could lock and cause a life-threatening situation.
VW diesel particulate filter (DPF) warning light
This light will illuminate if there is an issue with the diesel particulate filter, which eliminates hazardous soot from exhaust fumes to minimise emissions. It could be a sign that the filter is clogged with soot.
Is it safe to drive with the DPF light on?
Driving with a blocked filter can cause more serious damage to your car than just producing a cloud of deadly black smoke every time you hit the throttle. You should take it to a mechanic as soon as possible to get it checked, as DPFs are costly to replace.
VW engine cooling system warning light
This light comes on when the coolant level is low, and the engine is overheating. This could be due to a leak in the system or an indication of a more serious problem, such as a defective cylinder head gasket.
Can I continue to drive with the engine cooling system indicator light on?
If this light is red, you should stop immediately because, without enough coolant, your engine could get so hot that it will effectively weld and cause irreparable damage.
Stop and wait for the engine to cool before checking the gauge on the side of the coolant tank under the hood and topping up as necessary.
Check for any obvious leaks under the hood. If you don’t see any and the light goes out after refilling, you should be able to continue your journey. If the light comes back on after charging, it should be checked by a repair shop to fix the underlying problem.
VW engine oil pressure warning light
The yellow oil warning light illuminates when the oil temperature rises too high, or the oil level or pressure falls too low. It’s critical to intervene swiftly if the oil isn’t efficiently lubricating the engine, as this could result in costly or even irreversible engine damage.
Is it safe to drive with my engine oil pressure light illuminated?
When this light illuminates, you should come to a complete stop and turn off the engine as quickly as feasible. Look under the car for any notable oil leaks, check the oil levels, and top up if necessary. If the oil levels are normal, the oil pump may be malfunctioning.
VW Tyre pressure monitoring warning light
Many Volkswagen vehicles now have tyre pressure monitoring devices that alert you when the pressure drops. This could occur over time or as a result of a puncture.
Is it possible to drive when my tyre pressure monitoring indicator is illuminated?
Yes, however, you should drive cautiously and strive to top up with air as soon as possible. Low tyre pressure can lead to dangerous driving situations, therefore lowering your speed and avoiding abrupt braking or aggressive steering maneuvers.
You can check your tyre pressure with an air compressor at most gas stations and garages. Fill the tyres with air according to the manufacturer’s recommendations in your owner’s manual.
VW air suspension warning light
When this warning light comes on, you will likely find that your VW car feels harder to drive, is less stable, and maybe closer to the ground than normal. This could indicate a leak in one of the inflatable bags that are on the wheels, dampening your ride, or it could indicate a problem with the air compressor.
Can I continue driving with the air suspension light switched on?
The severity of the problem will affect your ability to drive. If you are driving poorly, you should stop as soon as possible and contact the Automotive Hospital.
Even if the driving behavior is not impaired without suspension, the bumps from bumps or bumps are transferred to the body and can cause considerable damage.
VW vehicle charging system warning light
When this light illuminates in your VW while you’re driving, it means the battery isn’t charging. This could be the result of an issue with your car’s electrical system, which could be caused by a malfunctioning alternator, a faulty battery, a bad electrical connection, or damaged cabling, among other things.
Is it possible to drive while my vehicle’s charging light is on?
Your car will continue to drive normally until the battery is depleted, at which point nothing in the vehicle will function – therefore, get to a mechanic as soon as possible before you run out of charge!
VW ignition switch warning light
This light indicates a problem with the ignition system, which allows you to start and stop the vehicle. It usually implies a mechanical problem, but it might also be dirt preventing the key from turning in the ignition switch.
Is it possible to drive while the ignition switch lock light is on?
If this light turns yellow, you should get the ignition switch checked as soon as possible to determine what is causing it. If it turns red, get to a mechanic right away since you may not be able to restart the car if you turn off the ignition.
VW anti-lock braking system (ABS) warning light
ABS is a critical safety component that comes into action when you need to make a quick stop or drive in hazardous situations such as ice or flooding.
Is it possible to drive with my ABS light illuminated?
If the ABS light comes on by itself, you should still be able to brake normally without assistance, so continue on your way – but keep a safe distance, be extra cautious, and have it examined as soon as possible. If it illuminates simultaneously with the brake warning light, it may indicate that the brake system is failing, in which case you should immediately stop and ask for assistance.
VW ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Program) warning light
This warning light indicates a traction control issue. If it’s flashing, it implies the ESP system is kicking in – for instance, if you’re driving on a slick road. If the light stays on, the ESP system is turned off.
Is it safe to drive with the EPS light on?
Because this technology only activates when you lose traction on loose ground or ice, you should be fine driving on typical road surfaces with caution.
You may have unintentionally disabled the ESP system. Stop and restart the engine to see if this is the case. If the light stays on after restarting, take it to the Automotive Hospital to be checked because the ESP system is a critical safety element.
Diagnose the Problem at Automotive Hospital
The only thing worse than seeing a warning light on the dashboard? Not knowing what it means. What should an exclamation point mean? The above list of Volkswagen dashboard warning lights will help you diagnose all of the most common problems your vehicle may encounter.
But even then, knowing what light means is often only half the battle. Most people know that a check engine light indicates a problem with the powertrain, but it can be a simple exhaust problem or a bigger problem. Here at the Automotive Hospital in Sydney, we can quickly diagnose the specific problem activating the warning lights. We’ll fix the problem and reset the lights so you can get back on the road and feel safe in your vehicle. Please make an appointment online or contact our service department to book Volkswagen vehicle servicing, or Learn more about our Volkswagen Golf services.
The warning lights are intended to give you general awareness that a malfunction is occurring, but you should have an onboard diagnostic check performed to see the specific problem. We can help here at the Automotive Hospital.