Audi warning lights – what they mean and what you need to do

Has a warning light appeared on your Audi dashboard, and you are unsure what it means? This guide will explain all you need to know.

The warning lights on your A3, Q5 or TT are there to help you better understand what’s going on under your bonnet. Let us help you decode your dashboard with the help of our handy tips and advice.

  • Green: the system is working correctly or is currently in use
  • Yellow: something is not working correctly - take extra care and check it out as soon as possible
  • Red: there is a serious, and potentially dangerous problem - stop driving as soon as it is safe to do so

But what do all those different symbols mean? We’ve put together this guide to help you understand what the different yellow and red warning lights on your Audi dashboard mean, why they come on, how urgent the problem is and what you should do when you see them. 

Audi glow plug warning light

audi-warning-lights-glow-plug

The glow plug warning light is only seen on diesel Audis and is usually orange in colour. Like the conventional engine management light, it’s designed to alert drivers about faults with the emissions or running of the vehicle.

You’ll need to inspect the car further to see what’s gone wrong and it’s best to enlist the help of a professional.

Can I still drive with my Audi glow plug warning light on?

Although it’s possible to drive with the glow plug light showing, it’s not a great idea. If a problem with the engine is ignored it could develop into something much more serious and more expensive to repair

Thankfully on the Audi dashboard, the glow plug light will begin to flash if a fault becomes more urgent and immediate action is needed.

If you’re covered by our roadside breakdown service our patrols will be happy to see how they can help. 

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Audi service warning light

audi-warning-lights-service

Your car is due a service, it’s that simple. 

The light may be triggered when your oil needs changing, a filter needs replacing, or when your engine has clocked a certain mileage. Think of it as a maintenance reminder rather than an emergency alert. 

Can I still drive with my Audi service warning light on?

If you drive with a service warning light showing, you run the risk of a straightforward maintenance job escalating into something much more damaging. For example, if you fail to change your oil, engine parts are more likely to rub and knock under the bonnet and wear out quicker.

As always, it’s best to get your car looked at by a professional, either through the manufacturer or with an RAC approved garage.

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Audi bonnet warning light

audi-warning-lights-bonnet_warning

Your bonnet isn’t closed properly.

When this light shows you should safely stop your car and lift the bonnet before attempting to shut it again. The light should turn off when the bonnet has returned to a secure position.

Can I still drive with my Audi bonnet warning light on?

Driving with the bonnet warning light on could end badly. You should act quickly and calmly to prevent a gust of wind from pushing the bonnet in front of your windscreen and obscuring your view.

When it’s safe to do so, pull over and lift the bonnet before pushing it firmly back into place. 

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Audi pre sense warning light

audi-warning-lights-pre-sense

Audi’s clever pre sense technology uses sensors to predict an imminent crash and put your car’s safety features to work. Seat belts may be fixed to reduce your chances of moving around the car after a collision and hazard lights are automatically switched on to alert other drivers about potential danger.

The pre sense light will illuminate when there’s a problem with its sensors. Try familiarising yourself with their position so you can wipe away dirt or remove an obstruction if the warning light appears.

Can I still drive with my Audi pre sense warning light on?

Driving with a faulty pre sense system means making a journey with fewer safety features. Lane keeping technology, collision avoidance assist and more safety features could go to waste.

A visit to an Audi dealership or an RAC approved garage is your best bet for making the most of your car’s most important technology.

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Audi suspension control warning light

audi-warning-lights-suspension

Suspension systems smooth out the ride, so you remain in control. So if this warning light appears, you’ll probably notice a difference in the way your Audi handles the road.

You might find that the body of your car is lower to the ground or that it feels less stable, especially when turning. Either way, it’s not an easy fix and a qualified mechanic is your best option. 

Can I still drive with my Audi suspension control warning light on?

You can, but you’ll risk causing further damage to your car as you’re more inclined to bounce around on the road, especially on a pothole-riddled route.

In the worst-case scenario, you might find it more difficult to steer your car away from a potential collision. It’s not worth the risk.

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Audi gearbox/clutch warning light

audi-warning-lights-gearbox

This light will illuminate when there’s a fault with the gearbox or clutch. It normally appears with a message on the information system behind the steering wheel, to give more details about the problem. 

In some cases, the light can appear red. If this happens you should stop when it’s safe to do so and contact an RAC approved garage immediately.

Can I still drive with my Audi gearbox/clutch warning light on?

If you ignore the gearbox/clutch warning light you might find it difficult to shift gears. It may sound like a minor inconvenience, but the problem could prove dangerous in certain driving scenarios, for example, on hill starts.

Minor gearbox problems can be easily fixed but if you put off the warning signs you might need an expensive rebuild or replacement.

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Audi brake warning light

audi-warning-lights-brakes

Also known as the brake system warning light, parking brake warning light or brake fluid warning light.

If this red light remains on after you fully release the parking brake, or comes on when you’re driving, it may indicate that the brake fluid level is low. Unless you know how to check your brake fluid levels yourself, this will be one for the professionals. 

If the ABS warning light is also illuminated this signals that the braking system has malfunctioned and your brakes may not work properly. In this case the Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) warning light may also be illuminated.

Can I still drive with my Audi brake warning light on?

You shouldn't risk it. The brakes are one of the most important safety features of your car, so it’s important to act immediately when you see this red warning light.

Pull over and stop as soon as it’s safe to do so - keep your speed low and avoid braking suddenly. Unless you know how to check your brake fluid levels yourself, this will be one for the professionals, so get yourself to a garage.

Don’t risk driving when your brakes are not functioning properly: call for recovery if you have a breakdown cover policy.

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Audi engine malfunction indicator

audi-warning-lights-engine

Also known as the check engine or ECU warning light.

When the engine management light is illuminated it’s often accompanied by tell-tale signs that the engine is not working properly, such as a lack of power or stuttering as you press the accelerator.

This light could indicate a number of faults, from minor issues like a broken electrical sensor to a much larger mechanical issue, like a fault with your emission control system or catalytic converter.

How long can I drive with my Audi check engine light on?

If the check engine light comes on you should get it checked as soon as you can, as by continuing to drive you risk causing further, potentially irreparable damage to your engine. 

Use our search tool to find your nearest RAC approved garage. Or, if you have RAC Breakdown Cover, call for recovery.

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Audi airbag warning light

audi-warning-lights-airbag

Also known as the supplemental restraint system (SRS) or safety system warning light.

When this light goes red it means that at least one element of the airbag safety system is not working correctly: either the airbag system itself; the front passenger occupant classification system (which detects the front passenger’s weight and position in order to safely deploy the airbag); or the seat belt pretensioner system, which tightens the belt in the event of a crash.

Can I still drive with my Audi airbag light on?

If the airbag system is not working properly, it may not go off in a crash - or in some cases it could even deploy unexpectedly and cause a crash. Either way, the airbag system is an incredibly important safety feature of your car so if this light comes on please get it checked out immediately.

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Audi power steering warning light

audi-warning-lights-power-steering

Also known as the EPS (Electric Power Steering) warning light

This warning light indicates that there’s a problem with the power steering and on Audi dashboards, it sometimes appears without an exclamation mark.

For electric powered systems, this problem could be as simple to fix as rebooting a computer. Find a safe place to stop and try turning the car off and back on again after 30 seconds. If the light stays on you should take your car to get checked as soon as possible.

Can I drive with my Audi EPS light on?

You can but if the power steering system fails you will notice that the car is harder to manoeuvre and you should take extra care – it could be dangerous to drive at high motorway speeds without power steering assistance.

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Audi diesel particulate filter warning light

audi-warning-lights-dpf

Also known as the DPF or exhaust particulate filter warning light.

If you have a diesel, one of these lights will come on if there is a problem with the exhaust particulate filter, which removes harmful soot from the exhaust gases to reduce emissions. It could indicate that the filter has become blocked with soot.

Can I still drive with my Audi DPF light on?

As well as releasing a plume of toxic black smoke every time you press the accelerator, driving with a blocked filter could cause more serious damage to your car. You should go to a garage to get it checked as soon as you can, as these filters can be expensive to replace. 

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Audi coolant warning light

audi-warning-lights-coolant

Also known as the engine temperature warning light.

This light will come on when the engine is overheating. This could mean that coolant levels are running low, perhaps due to a leak in the system, or it could be a sign of a larger problem, like a head gasket failure.

Can I still drive with my Audi engine overheating light on?

If this light is red you should stop straight away, as without enough coolant your engine could get so hot that it effectively welds itself together, causing irreparable damage.

Stop and wait until the engine has cooled off before checking the gauge on the side of the coolant tank under the bonnet, topping up as required. 

While you’re under the hood, have a look to see if there are any obvious leaks. If you can’t see any and the light goes off after topping up then you should be fine to continue your journey. If the light comes back on again after topping up you should get it checked out to fix the underlying problem. 

An overheating engine can cut out as well. Rather than risk it, you should call for recovery if you have breakdown cover.

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Audi oil warning light

audi-warning-lights-oil

This yellow or red light is also known as the low engine oil or low oil pressure light.

The oil warning light comes on when either the oil temperature gets too high or the oil level or pressure is too low. If the oil is not lubricating the engine effectively it could lead to expensive or even irreparable engine damage, so it’s important to act quickly.

Can I still drive with my Audi low engine oil light on?

When this light comes on you should stop as soon as possible and turn off the engine. Have a look for any obvious oil leaks under the car, and then check the oil levels, topping up if necessary.

If the oil levels are fine, then the oil pump may be faulty. In this case call for recovery if you have breakdown cover, as driving any further could damage the engine. Watch our video guide to checking your car’s engine oil.

While you’re under the hood, have a look to see if there are any obvious leaks. If you can’t see any and the light goes off after topping up then you should be fine to continue your journey. If the light comes back on again after topping up you should get it checked out at a garage to fix the underlying problem.

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Audi tyre pressure monitoring system

audi-warning-lights-tyre-pressure

Also known as the run flat indicator RPA or low tyre pressure warning light

Many Audis are now fitted with tyre pressure monitoring systems that will let you know when the pressure falls. This could happen over time or it could be because of a puncture.

Can I still drive with my Audi tyre pressure light on?

Yes, but you should drive with extra care and aim to top up with air at the next opportunity. Low tyre pressure can cause unsafe driving conditions so reduce your speed, and try to avoid braking suddenly or making any violent steering manoeuvres.

Most petrol stations and garages will have an air compressor you can use to check your tyre pressure. Top up the air in the tyres according to the vehicle manufacturer specification in your owner's manual. 

If you have a puncture, watch our video to learn how to change a tyre in 10 simple steps.

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Audi battery warning light

audi-warning-lights-battery

Also known as the battery charge light or battery charging system light.

If this light comes on when you’re driving it indicates that the battery is not charging. This could be due to a problem with your car’s electrical system and it could have several causes, such as a faulty alternator, faulty battery, bad electrical connection or damaged cabling.

Can I still drive with my Audi battery charging system light on?

Your car will run as normal until the battery is dead but once it is drained nothing in your car will work – so get to a garage quickly before you run out of juice!

If you do run out of charge, you can try to jump start it, or call for recovery if you have RAC Breakdown Cover.

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Audi anti-lock brake system (ABS) warning light

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ABS is an important safety feature that really comes into play when you need to make an abrupt stop, or in difficult driving conditions like icy roads.

Can I still drive with my Audi ABS light on?

If the ABS light comes on by itself you should still have normal, unassisted braking, so it's safe to continue your journey – but keep your distance, take extra care, and get it checked as soon as possible.

If it comes on with the brake warning light, it could indicate that the brake system is failing and you should stop straight away and call for recovery if you have breakdown cover.

For roadside assistance, you can call the RAC on 0330 159 1111 even if you’re not a member.

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Audi electronic stability problem (ESP) or dynamic stability control DSC warning light

audi-warning-lights-stability

Also known as Electronic Stability Control (ESC).

This warning light sometimes appears as the initials ESP and indicates a problem with traction control. If it’s flashing it means the ESP system is intervening – for example, if you’re driving on a slippery road. If the light stays on it means the ESP system is not working properly.

The ESP light will light up with the word ‘OFF’ if the system has been deactivated, in which case you may have inadvertently turned it off.

To check, try stopping and restarting the engine. If the light remains on after restarting get it checked at a garage as the ESP system is an important safety feature.

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Audi brake pad warning light

audi-warning-lights-brake-pad

Also called the brake pad wear warning light, if this symbol shows up it means a sensor has detected your brake pads are too thin.

Can I drive with my Audi brake pad light on?

This warning light should come on before the brake pads become dangerously thin, so you have time to get them changed. You should replace as soon as you can though, as if they wear out completely it could be extremely dangerous.

For more information read our guide to brake pads

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Audi EPC warning light

This yellow warning light with the capitalised letters EBC – show that there is an error with your Audi’s Electronic Power Control.

This signifies that your vehicle has suffered from a loss of power, and that your car has entered ‘Limp Mode’ to try and minimise major damage.

If this appears, drive to your nearest garage or home as soon as possible.

There are a few issues that this warning symbol is highlighting.

It can relate to your accelerator pedal, traction control, cruise control, fuel injection, and various other problems with the engine.

If you are still unsure, take to your Audi to the nearest garage or reach out to a local mobile mechanic.

Are you interested in purchasing some replacement car mats for your Audi? Be sure to check out our range over at the RAC Shop.

Audi car warning lights

  • How to turn off brake pad warning light Audi

    If your brake pad warning lights have appeared on your dashboard it is a serious problem and should be resolved.

    However, if you have seen a mechanic and it is still appearing, you will need to detach the battery and leave it for 30 seconds. Reconnect the battery and start the vehicle. This will reset your dashboard. If the warning light still appears, then there is still an issue.

  • How to reset Audi tyre pressure warning light

    On modern Audi vehicles, use the onboard system and select Services and Checks and then the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System. Then select Tyre Pressures and then store the current pressure levels. Following this, click Yes. Your tyre pressure should be reset.

    1. How to turn off bulb warning light in an Audi

      You will need to detach the battery and leave it for 30 seconds. Reconnect the battery and start the vehicle. This will reset your dashboard. If the warning light still appears, then there is still an issue and you should get it seen to by an expert.

    2. Audi A3 warning lights

      Audi A3 warning lights are the same as the ones you will see in all modern Audi vehicles. Learn about them here.

    3. Audi emission control system warning light

      Also known as the check engine or ECU warning light. This light could indicate a number of faults, including problems with the emission control system. Learn more about the Engine Malfunction Indicator here.

    4. Warning lights on Audi A4

      Audi A4 warning lights are the same as the ones you will see in all modern Audi vehicles. Learn about them here.

    5. Audi A1 warning lights

      Audi A1 warning lights are the same as the ones you will see in all modern Audi vehicles. Learn about them here.

    RAC Breakdown Cover from £7 a month*

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    *£7 a month for new, single vehicle Basic cover. Comparison based on www.theAA.com closest equivalent cover as at 12/04/24.

    RAC Breakdown Cover from £7 a month*