Dashboard Warning/Indicator Lights + Trouble Codes Assistance


Ed Maverik asked what you should do when the Check Engine Light (CEL) comes on, as he called to make an appointment with his dealer right away without any clues as to what may have triggered the light.

One option that those of us with the Infotainment Center have, is to go to the Applications Menu and bring up the Warning Guidance Warnings app whenever any * warning light turns on or flashes.  This should bring up a descriptive screen describing somewhat as to the cause, so that you might save yourself the inconvenience and expense of visiting the dealer.  Also, if the message isn’t helpful enough, don’t forget that sometimes it may be more convenient (and FREE) to get the precise COL trouble code using a diagnostic scanner via your OBDII connector (same connector your dealer uses) at your local auto parts store.

Or for around $9, you can get your own Bluetooth OBDII scanner that interfaces with an Android app that will give you access to so much more data that you can display as gauges on your phone/tablet screen, or perhaps even cast onto your Infotainment screen.  I’ve ordered one and I’m writing a detailed account of this in a separate blog article as I learn more…


Anyways, back to Ed’s question, the reason for the CEL could be something as simple as not tightening the gas cap until it ratchets, although I believe a separate Check Fuel Cap Warning light is supposed to also be displayed for that condition.

*  The Warning Guidance Warnings app provides more details in conjunction with the following warning/indicator lights according to the Owner’s Manual (see Mazda’s generic diagrams below for help in identifying the various lights):

  • Master Warning Light
  • Brake System Warning Light
  • ABS Warning Light
  • Charging System Warning Light
  • Engine Oil Pressure Warning Light
  • Electric Throttle Warning Light
  • Cold Start Warning Light
  • Check Engine Warning Light
  • Coolant Temperature Warning Light
  • Automatic Transmission Warning Light
  • Power Steering Malfunction Indicator Light
  • Air Bag/Seat Belt Pretensioner System Warning Light
  • Check Fuel Cap Warning Light
  • Low Fuel Warning Light
  • Seat Belt Warning Light
  • Door Ajar Warning Light
  • Low Washer Fluid Level Warning Light
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System Warning Light
  • KEY Warning Light
  • LED Headlight Warning Light
  • BSM (Blind Spot Monitoring) OFF Indicator Light
  • Perform Maintenance (wrench) Indicator Light
  • TCS/DSC Indicator Light
  • DSC OFF Indicator Light
  • Security Indicator Light
  • Passenger Air Bag Deactivation Warning Light



⇓   This is a panel from Fiat’s North American cluster assembly in the Abarth model that reveals most of the warning/indicator lights.  Other regions vary.


photo courtesy of chutoyy


photo courtesy of Brandon James Salter

⇓   For reference purposes, I’m also including an excerpt from the Mazda Service Manual showing the (somewhat different) layout of the panel from the North American cluster assembly in the MX-5.

cluster layout

No. Name
1 Turn signal/hazard warning indicator lights
2 Engine coolant temperature indicator light; not-yet warm (blue)/high warning light (red)
3 Wrench indicator light
4 Low washer fluid level warning light
5 Engine oil warning light
6 Seat belt warning light
7 ABS warning light
8 Master warning light
9 Charging system warning light
10 Air bag/seat belt pretensioner system warning light
11 Security indicator light
12 Tire pressure monitoring system warning light
13 Brake system warning light
14 Headlight high-beam indicator light
15 DSC OFF indicator light
16 LED headlight warning light
17 LDWS OFF indicator light
18 Cruise main indicator light (amber)/cruise set indicator light (green)
19 Electric vacuum pump warning light
20 Blind spot monitoring (BSM) OFF indicator light
21 HBC indicator light (green)/HBC warning light (amber)
22 LDWS warning light
23 Check fuel cap warning light
24 Lights-on indicator light
25 Power steering malfunction indicator light
26 TCS/DSC indicator light
27 Check engine light
28 Automatic transmission warning light
29 KEY fob warning light (red)/KEY indicator light (green); low battery (flashing green)
30 Door-ajar warning light
31 Low fuel warning light

[added 9/17/2022]
Here are some additional lights from the Abarth manual…

11 thoughts on “Dashboard Warning/Indicator Lights + Trouble Codes Assistance

  1. Hello,

    Is it normal for the Security Alarm System dashboard light to blink continually while the car is off and the doors unlocked? I never noticed it blinking before with the door unlocked. I understand locking the vehicle with the key FOB activates it…but why does it continue to blink even with the doors unlocked w the FOB. it stops blinking when the vehicle is turned on.
    Any response would be much appreciated.


  2. It’s the Security Indicator Light (not Security Alarm Light) and it is supposed to blink ALL of the time while the ignition is off to indicate that the factory immobilizer system is active, along with whichever alarm system is installed (basic or volumetric), if both doors are locked as well.


  3. What am I being told when the start button flashes amber continuously after engine start? Is the battery in the fob starting to die, or is it something more serious? Have you heard of or experienced this? Thanks.


  4. No, I haven’t, but I just looked it up in the Owner’s Manual, and on page 20:

    If there is a malfunction with the keyless
    ignition START/STOP button function,
    the keyless ignition start indicator light
    (amber) flashes. In this case, the engine
    may start, however contact an
    authorized dealer as soon as possible.

    I think I would try changing the fob battery first, to rule that out, before going to the dealer.


  5. Maybe this is helpful for some.

    Next to the low fuel warning light there is also a pre-glow indicator. You’d think that this hardly makes any sense on a car that isn’t offered with a diesel engine but it still seems to serve a purpose on the 124.

    As far as i have figured it out on mine:
    Whenever ambient temperature are below ~4°C and the engine is completely cold (i.e. car sat overnight) and you switch on the ignition you see this flight flash up, hear a relay clicking a few times and the light will go out after 1-2 seconds.
    If you don’t switch on the ignition first but start the engine right away, this also happens but it will delay engaging the starter for the above mentioned 1-2s.
    None of this happens if temperatures are higher or the engine has some residual heat in it.

    Seems to be a Fiat thing (maybe only in euroland), since my dads’ Panda (mighty 1.2L NA) also does this, though I’m not sure if it also has the ‘pre-glow’ light. Maybe some kind of pre-heat sequence for something (fuel?).

    Couldn’t find any documentation for this light and service technician at the dealer also looked a bit puzzled.


  6. That is the “Cold Start Disable Indicator Light”. It is shown on page 99 of the Owner’s Manual. Apparently if you attempt to start the vehicle and the ambient temperature is below -22ºF (-30ºC), the ECU module will prevent the starter from engaging with the engine, as indicated to the driver by a flashing yellow “Cold Start Disable Indicator Light”. I imagine the Multi-Air brick won’t function properly when the oil is too cold. The manual also includes a note in response to it blinking:

    Place your vehicle in a warm garage until the temperature has risen to a sufficient level to enable engine starting.

    I had a paragraph on this subject in my trickle-charging article regarding the extra Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) of the battery Fiat chose for our vehicles (520 vs. 350 in the MX-5), that you will really appreciate while starting, when it is between -22ºF and the +teensºF, wherever the car is parked.


    • Interesting, thanks for the info.

      From my experience there is more to it. Mine already shows the light at +39F. Apart from the above mentioned small delay, starting is completely normal.
      Keeping it in the garage year round; can‘t remember that i ever had to start it during sub +25F

      Sidenote: At least the German manual doesn‘t give any information about this light. Quick google search revealed that it seems to be in the US manual…


    • Yeah, i got that ^^
      What i was trying to say (and failed miserably 😉 ) is that it apparently serves more than one purpose.

      Just wondering why they won’t document it properly in the manuals.


  7. I noticed some cluster lights were missing today when trying to answer a question from Jeromie Slavely, so I added this to the end of my article today.


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