Starting your vehicle

Before you start driving your vehicle, make sure you understand what the gauges, indicators and warning lights on the instrument panel mean. If you’re not sure about any of them, check your vehicle handbook.

Warning lights

The warning lights let you know when there’s a problem with your vehicle. Knowing what these lights mean and what to do when they are lit will help you protect the engine and other equipment from damage.

In general, these warning lights are amber or red. If an amber warning light comes on, you should seek advice from your garage as soon as possible. If a red warning light comes on, you should stop the car as soon as it’s safe to do so.

The lights will vary from one vehicle to another, but these are the most common ones

  • oil pressure
  • ignition
  • anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • brake condition
  • water temperature.

Some vehicles also have:

  • on-board diagnostic systems that tell you when there’s a problem with your car
  • advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that light up when activated.

These systems may differ from one car to another. Check your vehicle handbook to find out more.

Other lights

The dashboard also has other colours of warning lights. They’re mostly to advise you of things such as signals flashing, headlights and so on. Check your handbook to ensure you understand them or contact the manufacturers of your vehicle.

Starting your car

Different vehicles have different ways of starting the engine. Look at the vehicle handbook to make sure you know how your car starts.

Most modern cars are fitted with anti-theft devices, such as steering column locks and immobilisers. These are usually turned off when you unlock the car or when you put the key in the ignition.

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