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The part of our cars we look at the most is our dashboard. If you’ve seen warning lights showing up on the dashboard and you’re not sure what to do, we’re here to help!

Here is a simple graphic that will help you get some instrument cluster / gauge terminology down and recognize some common warnign light symbols at a glance. Keep in mind that the placement and graphics may vary from brand to brand. 

These warning lights are operated by micro processors called an E.C.U. (Electronic Control Unit). The ECUs not only operate the systems but they constantly monitor the various sensors and actuators, checking their input and output signals. If one of these signals is outside the normal operating perimeters, the ECU will switch on the warning and light and set what is known as a “Fault Code”.

To assist us in diagnosing the fault in your vehicle we use a scanner which we plug into the diagnostic plug on your vehicle and check the fault codes stored. Some of these systems can have in excess of 100 different codes that can be set depending on the fault in your vehicle.

Once we have the code, it gives us a starting place to diagnose the fault in whichever system we are looking at – engine, brakes, transmission etc. The usual procedure after we have repaired the fault is to erase the code, road test the vehicle and recheck the ECU for codes. We will record the code for future reference.

Help - Understanding your dashboard. Navigate your vehicle with confidence.


Any warning light appearing on your dashboard, whether it remains on or comes on intermittently should never be ignored. Under most circumstances it will leave a fault code which we can scan to start our diagnosis. Please contact us so we can tell you if it is something that should be actioned immediately and inform you whether it is safe to drive your vehicle.

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