Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

VW warning icons

What VW warning icons mean

Here’s what VW warning icons mean and what to do when they come on

VW windshield washer fluid low warning icon

vw warning icons meaning Windshield washer fluid is low. Accompanied by one audible warning tone

DSG® Transmission Too Hot icon

vw warning icons transmission too hotVW’s direct-shift gearbox DSG is controlled electronically. It is a dual-clutch multiple-shaft manual gearbox/transaxle design. It does not have a clutch pedal and offer fully automatic, or semi-manual control. If the warning light comes on, STOP driving the vehicle and have it towed to a service center. Or, allow the vehicle to cool with the gear shifter in the PARK position.

Tire pressure below minimum value or system failure accompanied by one audible warning

vw warning icons low tire pressureLow tire pressure causes excessive tire wear and reduces your gas mileage. It also decreases traction and reduces water removal from the road because less tire tread is in direct contact with the road surface. Driving for long distances on tires with low pressure causes excessive heat buildup and rubber degradation, causing costly early tire failure. Refer to the tire pressure chart located inside the driver’s door pillar area and inflate to the recommended pressures. Then drive the vehicle to reset the tire pressure sensing system. If the warning light returns and the vehicle spare tire is equipped with a tire pressure sensor, check that tire as well. If the warning icon still returns, that indicates a problem with the tire pressure monitoring system. Have it checked by a qualified shop.

Steering malfunction icon

vw warning icon steering malfunctionThe self diagnosing electronic steering system has detected a malfunction. Once a fault is detected the light will illuminate and provide one audible warning along with varying warning icon states:

• A solid Yellow light means power steering assist is reduced
• A flashing Yellow means there’s a malfunction in the electronic steering column lock
• A solid Red light means there’s a power steering assist failure
• A flashing Red light means there’s a malfunction in the electronic steering column lo

Stop the vehicle and arrange for a tow to an authorized service center for for diagnosis and repair.

ESP/ASR warning icon

VW’s electronic stability program (ESP) and anti-slip regulator (ASR) reduce skidding and keep the vehicle in control. Studies show that at least 40% of all fatal traffic accidents are caused by skidding. The ESP system monitors the rotation of each wheel, the driver’s intended direction and the actual direction of the vehicle. If the system detects a difference in intended direction, it cuts power to a wheel, reduces engine torque or applies braking. The ESP system is always active and works in conjunction with the ASR system to achieve stability.

vw warning icons ESP ASR warning lightA Solid ESP/ASR icon means the system has detected a fault and the system is now inactive. Have the vehicle diagnosed and service to correct the underlying problem and restore full anti-slip braking and stability control
A Flashing ESP/ASR means the system in currently correcting for a stability or slip event
electronic stability program

Rain Sensor Malfunction

VW’s automatic rain sensing windshield wiper system function by detecting the amount of rain and the intensity of the rain. It then adjusts wiper speed accordingly to keep the windshield clear. The system detects rain with a photo sensor located in vw warning icon rain sensorthe rearview mirror. It measures the light reflected off the windshield so the system can detect if the glass is clear or obstructed by rain. Once it senses rain, it continues to send signals to the wiper system to increase or decrease wipe frequency.

If the rain sensor malfunction light comes on, try turning the ignition off and then on again. If the light stays on have the vehicle serviced.

Particulate Filter (Diesel Engines) icon

Diesel engine produce soot which must be removed from the exhaust stream to maintain emissions standards. The Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) is part of a VW exhaust system that filters out the soot. After a while, the DPF can no longer filter out soot. It then starts a regerneration process to burn off the soot at a very high temperature of 450° c/842° F. However, if you vw warning light particulate filterdo lots of short driving, the soot particles can remain stuck in the system which turns on the Particulate warning icon to warn you of the problem.

To correct the problem and regenerate your DPF, drive your vehicle for approximately 15 minutes. Keep the engine speed between 2000 – 2500 rpm on the highway. Shift the vehicle into the Sport (S) gear to keep engine revolutions high.

If you ignore the DPF light the DPF will become so blocked it can no longer be cleared, even by the dealer. That condition will not be covered by warranty and you’ll have pay for a new DPF. The failed DPF can also cause the CAR/DPF to get so hot that it can start on fire.

Parking Brake icon

If the parking brake icon is lit it cam mean (one audible warning):

vw warning icons parking brakeThe parking brake is applied
There’s an ABS malfunction (ABS icon will be lit as well)
The brake system is low on brake fluid

Check to make sure the parking brake is not on. Look for the ABS icon. If it is on and doesn’t go off, have the vehicle serviced. Check the brake fluid reservoir and add the recommended brake fluid to bring the system up to the proper level. If the light does not go off or returns again and you discover low brake fluid, get the vehicle to a shop immediately to check for a brake fluid leak.

Low Oil Pressure Warning icon with three audible warnings

The oil pressure sensor has detected low oil pressure that’s so low it could cause extensive engine damage. This oil pressure light does NOT mean you’re simply low on oil–unless the engine is completely out of oil and the oil pump is sucking air! A vw warning icons low oil pressure lightlow oil pressure light means you should stop IMMEDIATELY. Check the oil dipstick. If the oil level is below the lowest point on the dipstick, call a friend to have them purchase enough oil to fill the crankcase. Do NOT drive a vehicle with no oil in order to purchase additional oil.

If the oil is at the proper level, or you’ve added oil to bring the engine up to the proper level and the low oil pressure light is still on, adding more will NOT fix the problem! Do not operate the engine or continue to drive the vehicle–that can cause catastrophic damage your engine. Turn off the engine and have the vehicle towed to a repair shop.

Low Fuel Level warning icon and one audible warning

vw warning icons low fuelYou are critically low on fuel, in most cases you have less than 2-gals of fuel left in your gas tank. Plan to stop at the next gas station or within 30-miles to refill.

License Bulb License Plate Bulb Failure

vw warning icons license plate bulb outOne or more license plate lights are burned out. Consult your owner’s manual for the proper bulb type. Purchase new bulbs from any auto parts store or dealer and replace the license plate bulbs ASAP. If the system uses two bulbs, replace both at the same time since both have been burning the same number of hours. Failure to replace license plate bulbs can result in traffic citation.

Immobilizer icon

vw warning icons immobilizerThe immobilizer system prevents your vehicle from starting or driving if the system detects the wrong key has been inserted into the lock cylinder or if the key isn’t programmed to the vehicle. If  the car won’t start or drive you the immobilizer icon is illuminated, try a different key. If it still doesn’t work have the vehicle towed to a shop for proper programming or repair.

Hybrid Drive System Malfunction icon

vw warning icons hybrid drive malfunctionIf the warning icon is Yellow, there’s a problem with the Hybrid system malfunction. Take the vehicle to a VW or qualified service facility. However, if the warning icon is Red, stop the vehicle in a safe place as soon as possible and have it towed to a shop for repair.

Hood Open warning icon

vw wanring icons hood openThe hood switch has detected that the hood is not properly latched or the hood is open. Stop! Do not drive the vehicle until you’ve securely closed and latched the hood.

Fuel Cap Off Or Missing icon

vw warning iconsTo meet evaporative emissions standards all cars must perform an evaporative emissions test after refueling. The system pulls a vacuum on the fuel system and detects an leakage. If the system detects a large leakage, it assumes you’ve forgotten to replace the fuel cap. If you’ve recently refueled the vehicle and see the fuel cap off or missing icon, stop and double check that the fuel cap is in place and tightened securely.

Engine Malfunction (On-board Diagnostics)

vw warning icons engine malfunctionThe on-board diagnostics has detected a malfunction that relates to vehicle emissions. Do NOT ignore this light because excessive emissions can damage expensive exhaust components like the catalytic converter. If the engine malfunction light is steady, make an appointment with a service facility to have it checked out. However, a flashing engine malfunction icon indicates that the problem is so severe that imminent catalytic converter damage can occur. Do not continue driving if you have a flashing engine malfunction icon. Have the vehicle towed to a shop. Engine emission malfunction—bring in for service.

Electronic Power Control icon

vw warning icons EPCThe Electronic Power Control (EPC) system controls ignition and engine management. It works in conjunction with other systems on the car like stability and cruise control. If there’s a fault in the EPC it will likely disable other functions in the vehicle.

Electric Parking Brake Warning Light icon

vw warning icons electric parking brakeSome VW vehicles utilize an electronic parking brake on the rear wheels. An electric motor sets the rear brake pads to prevent vehicle movement and disengages them when you place the vehicle in drive. Sensors detect proper parking brake operation and set a trouble code and warning icon if it detects a problem. If the Electric parking brake warning light comes on and the vehicles moves, plan to have it checked out soon.

Daytime Running Lights icon

vw warning icons DRLDaytime running lights are on.

Diesel Engine Pre-Glow Before Engine Start-Up

vw warning icons glow warm upA solid icon means the diesel engine glow plugs are switched on
A flashing icon means there’s a malfunction in the diesel engine glow plug system. Get it checked out ASAP or you will have starting problems and possibly damage your starter motor.

Coolant Level Low / Coolant Temperature High icon with three audible warnings

vw warning icons overheatingStop! This is a serious warning. Do NOT continue driving with this warning light on. Driving with low coolant or engine overheating can cause SERIOUS engine damage costing thousands of dollars. Do NOT think you can solve this problem by simply running your heater while driving. Check coolant level. If the coolant is at the proper level. TOW the vehicle to a service center to prevent engine damage. See owner’s manual (3x audible warning).

Bulb Failure icon

vw warning icon bulb failureA solid icon means a bulb has failed
A flashing indicates a problem with the headlight leveling or adaptive front lighting system. Replace the burned out bulb and have the leveling and AFS system checked soon for best down road illumination.

Brake Pad Wear Indicators icon

vw warning icons brake pad wear  Brake pads have worn down to replacement level and must be replaced before they fail or cause damage to the brake rotor. Check brake pads and replace as necessary.

Brake Light Bulb Failure icon

vw warning icon brakr bulbOne or more brake lights are burned out. Replace before you get a citation.

Automatic Transmission Malfunction icon

vw warning icons tranmission failureHave the system checked immediately by a Volkswagen authorized dealer or service facility. Do not drive long distances until you get the transmission repaired–you could do further damage resulting in higher repair costs.

Alternator Low Voltage Output icon

vw warning icons low alternator outputCharging system failure. Get vehicle to a shop ASAP. Continuing driving with this light on will result in a no-start condition or could leave you stranded.

Airbag icon

vw warning icon airbagAirbag or belt tensioning system is faulty or the passenger airbags are deactivated.

AdBlue® No Restart Warning

vw warning icon adblueThe vehicle does not have enough AdBlue® diesel fluid or the AdBlue® system is malfunctioning. The engine will not restart while this icon is illuminated. Refill or get the system checked by a shop.

AdBlue® System Malfunction Warning icon

vw warning icons adblueAdBlue® system malfunction or not filled with standard AdBlue®.

AdBlue® Level Warning icon

vw warning icons refill adblueAdBlue fluid level is too low. Refill AdBlue® tank or AdBlue® system malfunction

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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