Driving in winter throws up its own challenges, which is why you need to know your vehicle is up to the job. One of the clearest signs that your vehicle may have an issue is when a warning light pop ups – but do you know what each of the lights mean?

To find out, we’ve pulled together the below quiz so you can test your knowledge on 6 warning commonly encountered in winter. We haven’t included all warning lights and for a more comprehensive overview, check out our guide to dashboard warning lights here.

How many different colours are used for warning lights?

The correct answer is B, there are 3 different lights used.


Dashboards use a traffic light colour system, and it’s important to understand what each colour means.


  • Green: notifies you of certain information that shouldn't be ignored. For example, your high beams are on which is important to be aware of.
  • Yellow: indicates that something should be monitored. Some icons may require attention as they have the potential to turn into major problems.
  • Red: is for problems that require immediate attention.

What do the following warning lights mean?

This one is the battery warning light which indicates there’s an issue with the charging system.


Your car’s battery is charged by the alternator as you drive. When there’s a problem with this system and the battery stops receiving charge, you’ll receive this warning light. It’s important to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible before your battery goes dead.


The cold weather can sometimes cause other issues with your battery too, especially if you’re not driving for sustained periods of time. If this is the case, you can maintain your battery’s health by regularly charging it. You can find top-quality battery chargers including the Halfords Advanced and CTEK ranges over at over at Halfords.com.


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The answer is bulb failure warning.


This is one you need to be especially aware of in the darker months, as it means one or more of your bulbs has failed.


It’s best to inspect your car at the first opportunity to find the culprit. Sometimes, it can be hard to find the cause as the warning light can appear for bulbs you might not think to check like number plate lights.


If any of your bulbs need replacing, why not upgrade to our 200% brighter bulbs? They’ll enhance your visibility out on the road, helping you safely navigate the months ahead. You can also use our handy Vehicle Registration Number Tool to find compatible bulbs for your vehicle, and it can also be used for everything from wiper blades to tyres.


Explore all car bulbs

This light appears when the fog light is on.


Autumn and winter are full of misty mornings when visibility out on the road is reduced. Sometimes, it may be necessary to use your fog lights. When you do, this light will appear. It’s useful to know this one as it’ll provide a handy reminder that your fog lights are on, so you don’t dazzle other road users.

If this icon pops up, it's time to top up your screen wash.


Contrary to some myths, screen wash is essential – and washing up liquid shouldn’t be used as a substitute! It’s specially designed to remove dirt and grime from windscreens to ensure a clear view. So, if this light appears, it’s time to top up.


Screen washes have different freezing points, so choose one that can withstand the temperatures you commonly encounter where you live. Here at Halfords, we have lots of options, including screen washes rated -10 and -20 degrees.


Explore our full range of screen washes

The correct answer is low oil level.


This one was slightly unfair as the oil warning light can show up in both amber and red – but it’s important to know what both mean.


If it turns amber, either the engine oil level has dropped below the acceptable limit and should be topped up or an oil change is due.


You can also check the oil level using the dipstick. If you’re not confident doing this yourself, book our Free Oil Check and one of our expert technicians can check for you – to find out more, ask one of our colleagues in any of our stores.


The red light tells that the oil pressure has dropped dangerously low and it’s best to pull over and turn off the engine before seeking assistance. This may not be convenient but running a vehicle with low oil pressure can quickly damage the engine.


Check out Halfords Breakdown Cover

This one indicates a change in tyre pressure.


Tyres are the only point of contact between a vehicle and the road, so they’re important for control, comfort and safety. This is especially the case in winter with trickier conditions and road surfaces. That’s why, as soon as this light appears, you should inspect for punctures.


To navigate winter safely, there are other steps you can take to prepare your tyres. For a start, consider changing your summer tyre for an all-season option. These offer better performance in colder conditions and can also be used when the weather turns warm again.


Legally, tyres must have at least 1.6mm of tread depth but we’d advise you to replace them before they reach this stage. If you’re unsure if your tyres have the required depth or are in a safe condition, book our Free Tyre Check.


For everything from tyre inflators to new tyres, head over to Halfords.com.


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Every motorist needs to understand what each warning light means. If you’re unsure about any, head over to our warning lights guide for more information.

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