How to identify VW engine warning lights

Updated March 23, 2017

The engine warning lights on your VW vehicle notify you of important maintenance that is required. They also warn you of critical system failures that need your attention immediately. However, if you have lost your vehicle's owner's manual, or you are simply not familiar with the warning lights on your instrument panel, you need to know what each light means before you can take the proper steps to deal with the issue.

Start your Volkswagen's engine.

Look at the centre dash panel right behind the steering wheel. If there is anything wrong with your VW, the indicator lights will illuminate here.

Look for any illuminated lights. A red battery light is a faulty alternator indicator light. If a yellow light in the shape of an engine with the word "Check" below it lights up, this is the check engine light. This light can indicate a variety of problems that will need to be diagnosed using an on board diagnostic scan tool from a professional mechanic. A red oil canister light indicates insufficient oil pressure in the system. A thermometer light with two wavy lines underneath the thermometer indicates a problem with the VW's cooling system. The (O) symbol on the dash indicates brake pad replacement is necessary. A light in the shape of a gas pump indicates that your VW is low on fuel, and you need to refill it. A light in the shape of a passenger with a seat belt means that your seat belt is either not properly buckled or is malfunctioning. If the words "Anti-lock Off" appear on the dash, this means that your anti-lock braking system is malfunctioning. A 1/2 circle with wavy lines in front of it means that your fog light bulbs need to be replaced. A light in the shape of a car with the boot open means that the boot lid is not closed all of the way, or there is a malfunction in the boot latch and lock mechanism.


For specific information about your Volkswagen vehicle's warning lights, consult the vehicle's manual.

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I am a Registered Financial Consultant with 6 years experience in the financial services industry. I am trained in the financial planning process, with an emphasis in life insurance and annuity contracts. I have written for Demand Studios since 2009.