If you find the warning lights on your Micra or Leaf perplexing, fret not! Our guide is here to assist you in deciphering your dashboard’s enigmatic symbols.
Nissan dashboard warning lights can be classified using a traffic light color code:
- Green: Indicates that the system is functioning correctly or is actively in use.
- Yellow: Signals a malfunction or issue that requires attention; investigate promptly.
- Red: Indicates a severe and potentially hazardous problem; cease driving when safe to do so.
But what do these myriad symbols signify? To alleviate your concerns, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to clarify the meanings behind the various yellow and red warning lights on your Nissan dashboard. This guide will not only help you understand the warning lights but also explain why they illuminate, the level of urgency they entail, and the steps you should take when they make an appearance.
Brake warning light
Also referred to as the brake system warning light, parking brake warning light, or brake fluid warning light.
If this persistent red light remains illuminated even after you’ve fully disengaged the parking brake or lights up while you’re in motion, it may suggest a potential shortage of brake fluid. Unless you possess the expertise to assess your brake fluid levels personally, it’s advisable to leave this task to the professionals.
Furthermore, if the ABS warning light concurrently shines, it’s an indication of a malfunction in the braking system, which could compromise the effectiveness of your brakes. In such a scenario, you might also observe the Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) warning light illuminated.
Can I continue driving when the brake warning light is active?
Engaging in this risky behavior is not recommended. Your vehicle’s brakes rank among its most crucial safety features, so taking immediate action upon encountering this red warning light is paramount.
Find a suitable spot to pull over and halt your vehicle as soon as safety permits. Maintain a cautious speed and avoid abrupt braking maneuvers. If you lack the necessary skills to evaluate your brake fluid levels, it’s best to entrust this task to automotive professionals, and promptly head to an authorized garage for inspection and necessary maintenance.
Brake pad warning light
Termed as the brake pad wear warning light, the appearance of this symbol indicates that a sensor has detected that your brake pads have worn down to a critically thin level.
Is it safe to continue driving when the brake pad warning light is illuminated?
The purpose of this warning light is to notify you before your brake pads reach a perilously thin state, allowing you ample time to arrange for their replacement. However, it is strongly advised to replace them promptly, as allowing them to wear out completely could pose an extreme danger.
Electronic stability control (ESC) or dynamic stability control DSC warning light
Alternatively referred to as the Electronic Stability Problem (ESP) light or the ASR light.
When this light flashes, it signifies that the ESP system is actively intervening, typically on slippery road surfaces to enhance stability. If the light remains steadily illuminated, it indicates a malfunction in the ESP system.
If the ESP system has been intentionally turned off, the ESP light will illuminate, accompanied by the word ‘OFF.’ This could occur inadvertently.
To verify, attempt to halt the vehicle and restart the engine. If the light persists after restarting, it’s advisable to have it examined at an automotive service center, as the ESP system is a critical safety feature.
Anti-lock brake system (ABS) warning light
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is a crucial safety feature that proves its worth in emergency stops and challenging driving conditions, such as icy roads.
Is it safe to drive when the ABS light is active?
When the ABS light illuminates independently, your vehicle should still have regular, unassisted braking capability, allowing you to continue your journey. However, exercise extra caution, maintain a safe following distance, and arrange for a prompt inspection.
In the event that the ABS light illuminates simultaneously with the brake warning light, it could signify a potential brake system malfunction. In this case, it is imperative to cease driving immediately and, if you have breakdown cover, contact recovery services for assistance.
Battery warning light
Commonly referred to as the battery charge light or the battery charging system light.
When this light becomes illuminated while you are driving, it serves as an indicator that your battery is not receiving a charge. This issue may stem from various causes within your car’s electrical system, including a malfunctioning alternator, a defective battery, poor electrical connections, or damaged wiring.
Is it permissible to continue driving with the battery charging system light active?
Your vehicle will continue to operate normally until the battery is completely depleted. However, once the battery is drained, none of the vehicle’s electrical components will function. Therefore, it is imperative to promptly head to an automotive service center to address this issue before you exhaust your battery’s power completely.
Tyre pressure monitoring warning light
Also recognized as the run-flat indicator (RPA) or low tire pressure warning light.
Modern vehicles often feature tire pressure monitoring systems designed to alert you when tire pressure decreases, whether gradually over time or due to a puncture. This warning light is typically accompanied by an on-screen message specifying the tires that require your attention.
Is it safe to continue driving with the tire pressure light active?
Yes, you can continue driving, but it’s crucial to exercise added caution and prioritize topping up the air at the earliest opportunity. Insufficient tire pressure can lead to hazardous driving conditions, so it’s advisable to reduce your speed and refrain from sudden braking or sharp steering maneuvers.
Most gas stations and service centers offer air compressors for checking and refilling tire pressure. Be sure to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications, as detailed in your owner’s manual, when adding air to your tires.
Oil pressure warning light
Frequently referred to as the low engine oil or low oil pressure light.
The oil warning light is activated when either the oil temperature rises excessively, or the oil level or pressure drops to a critical low. If the oil fails to provide adequate lubrication to the engine, it can potentially result in costly or even irreversible engine damage, underscoring the urgency of immediate action.
Engine temperature warning light
Also recognized as the coolant temperature warning light.
This indicator illuminates when the engine experiences overheating. This could signify that the coolant levels are running low, potentially due to a system leak, or it might be indicative of a more significant issue, such as a head gasket failure.
Is it permissible to drive with the engine overheating light activated?
If this warning light appears in red, it is imperative to cease driving immediately. In the absence of sufficient coolant, the engine can reach such high temperatures that it essentially fuses together, causing irreversible and severe damage.
Stop your vehicle and allow the engine to cool down before examining the gauge on the side of the coolant tank beneath the hood. Top up the coolant as needed, following the guidelines outlined in our engine coolant inspection guide.
While inspecting under the hood, look for any noticeable leaks. If no leaks are apparent, and the warning light goes off after replenishing the coolant, it should be safe to continue your journey. However, if the warning light reactivates after adding coolant, it is advisable to have the vehicle inspected to resolve the underlying issue.
Diesel particulate filter warning light
Also referred to as the DPF or exhaust particulate filter warning light.
If you own a diesel vehicle, this warning light may illuminate when there is an issue with the exhaust particulate filter, responsible for removing harmful soot from the exhaust gases to reduce emissions. This light can indicate a potential blockage in the filter due to accumulated soot.
Is it safe to continue driving with the DPF light active?
Driving with a blocked exhaust particulate filter can lead to a release of noxious black smoke every time you accelerate and, more critically, it may cause substantial damage to your vehicle. It is strongly advised to promptly visit an automotive service center for an inspection, as these filters can be costly to replace.
Electronic power steering warning light
Also known as the EPS or EPAS warning light.
This warning light serves as an indicator of a potential issue with the power steering system.
In the case of electric-powered systems, resolving this issue may be as straightforward as rebooting a computer. To attempt this, locate a safe spot to pull over and turn off the vehicle for approximately 30 seconds. If the warning light remains illuminated, it is advisable to promptly arrange for a professional inspection.
Is it permissible to drive with the EPS light active?
While it is possible to drive with the EPS light on, it’s crucial to note that should the power steering system fail, you will experience increased difficulty in maneuvering the vehicle. Exercise extra caution, especially when driving at high speeds on the highway, as driving without power steering assistance could pose a potential safety hazard.
Airbag warning light
Additionally known as the airbag and seatbelt system warning light.
When this light turns red, it signifies that there is a malfunction in at least one component of the airbag safety system. This could include issues with the airbag system itself, the front passenger occupant classification system (which detects the front passenger’s weight and position to deploy the airbag safely), or the seat belt pretensioner system, responsible for securing the seatbelt in the event of a collision.
Is it safe to drive with the airbag light activated?
Driving with an improperly functioning airbag system can have significant safety implications. In the event of a crash, the airbags may not deploy as expected, or in some cases, they might deploy unexpectedly and cause a collision. Since the airbag system is a critical safety feature in your vehicle, it is imperative to have the issue investigated immediately if this warning light appears, as it may compromise your safety in the event of an accident.
Automatic transmission warning light
If you encounter the message ‘AT CHECK’ on your dashboard, it indicates a potential issue with the automatic transmission.
This problem may stem from either an electrical or mechanical source and often requires professional diagnosis.
Is it safe to continue driving when the automatic transmission warning light is active?
In many cases, it may not be advisable to drive your Nissan when this warning message is displayed.
It is strongly recommended that you promptly reach out to a reputable automotive service center to have your vehicle inspected and to ascertain the necessary steps for resolving the issue. Continuing to drive with this warning may exacerbate the problem and lead to further damage, so swift attention is crucial.