Year on year, cars become more technologically advanced and rely to a greater extent on computers. Whilst these electronics aid in safety, economy and comfort, it does increase the chances of something going wrong.
Sensors located around the vehicle detect failures and failures and relay a message to the driver, usually in the form of a message or a dashboard warning lights or symbols.
Many dashboard warning lights are universal and have an identical or similar meaning the world over. Others however, can be manufacturer or model specific such as certain symbols on Mercedes Benz models.
There’s generally three colour bands that you should be aware of. Blue and green relay information to the drivers, for example green light may inform you that the lights are on. Amber / yellow dash lights inform you that something requires attention, for example there is a non-urgent issue with vehicle emissions. Red lights take on more of an urgent matter where a safety system or component has failed or is not running as it should. For greater urgency, the red light may flash and even be accompanied by an audible sound.
Detailed within this section are the Mercedes Benz dashboard warning light colours and symbols, along with an explanation of the service / issue and action that must be taken. This section covers Mercedes models:
|Mercedes Benze Models|
|AMG GT S||GLS / SUV|
|B-Class||M-Class / Hybrid|
|C-Class / AMG / Coupe / OCS||Metris|
|C-Wagon / OCS||R-Class|
|CL-Class / Coupe||S-Class / Cabriolet / Coupe / Hybrid|
|CLA / Class / Coupe||SL / Class / Coupe|
|CLK Coupe / 320 Coupe / Class / Class Cabriolet||SLC|
|CLS Coupe / Class||SLK-Class / Coupe|
|E-Class / AMG / Cabriolet / Coupe / Hybrid / OCS / Wagon||SLR-Class|
|G-Class||SLS AMG Coupe / Class / AMG|
|GLC Coupe / SUV / Class||V-Class|
|GLE Coupe / SUV / Class / AMG / Hybrid|
BRAKing System (RED)
The red exclamation mark symbol illuminate on the Mercedes whilst the engine is running along with an audible sound. Observe message in the display panel. Brake boosting effect has malfunctioned and braking may be reduced, OR there is insufficient brake fluid in the reservoir. Pull over and stop the vehicle as soon as safely possible. Do not attempt to drive the vehicle and seek assistance from an authorised Mercedes specialist.
Anti-Lock BRAKING SYSTEM
The anti-lock-braking system (ABS) light will illuminate on the Mercedes dashboard to inform you that there is a fault within the system. ABS prevents the wheels from locking under heavy braking conditions and normal brakes are not affected. Drive the vehicle carefully and seek assistance as soon as possible. See: What is ABS
Mercedes ESP Warning Light
The ESP dashboard warning light on the Mercedes stands for ‘Electronic Stability Program’. The symbol of a skidding / slipping car illuminating indicates ESP or traction control has intervened to help stabilise the car. Reduce speed and accelerate gently. If the ESP light stays illuminated, ESP has malfunctioned. Stability may be reduced. Gain assistance from a qualified Mercedes technician. If ESP is turned off, various stability and safety features will be disabled. Enable ESP.
ESP / ABS / Brake Failure
If the ESP, the ABS and the red brake light illuminate simultaneously while the engine is running, they will be malfunctioning and other driving aids may also be non-functional. Braking and steering ability will be affected. Check for other messages on the display panel. Normal brakes are still operational though seek assistance from a Mercedes technician soon.
Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)
Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) is a combination of the ABS (see above) and standard brake system Warning Lights. When the EBD illuminates, there is an issue with your brake system. ABS and ESP symbols may also illuminate. ABS, BAS, ESP, hold function, hill start assist and PRE-SAFE may all malfunction. Adaptive brake lights and Collision Prevention Assist may also fail. Normal brakes are not affected and vehicle can be driven carefully, though due to many safety features being disabled, seek assistance as soon as possible.
Sport Handling Mode Activated
This is to inform the driver that sport handling mode has been activated on Mercedes-AMG models only. When sport mode is activated, ESP is unable to stabilise the vehicle and as a result, there is an increased risk of skidding.
Mercedes PARK Dashboard Light
Illuminates red: You are driving with the electric parking brake applied – release the brake. Flashing symbol indicates the electric parking brake is malfunctioning – Switch off the ignition and turn it back on or release the electric parking brake manually. If parking brake does not release, do not attempt to drive and seek assistance. ‘P’ symbol lights in yellow or red ‘PARK’ or indicator lamp and flashes for about ten seconds after the electric parking brake has been applied or released. It then goes out or remains lit indicates the electric parking brake is malfunctioning – switch off ignition and turn back on. If ‘P’ or ‘PARK’ symbol flash in red continuously, the system has malfunctioned and it will not be possible to drive the vehicle.
Brake Pad Wear DASHBOARD Symbol
This symbol will illuminate in yellow / amber to inform the driver that brakes pads / lining are wearing low and need changing due to reaching their limit. Seek a Mercedes Benz technician to change pads / linings.
SRS Airbag DASHBOARD Warning Light
The restraint system is faulty. The air bags or Emergency Tensioning devices may either be triggered unintentionally or, in the event of an accident, may not be triggered at all. Messages may indicate a specific airbag error. For passenger airbag malfunction message, Switch the ignition off, the occupant should get out of the vehicle, keep the seat unoccupied, close the front-passenger door and switch on the ignition. If the issue is not resolved, see a specialised Mercedes technician.
Light Fault WARNING Symbol
The light bulb containing a yellow / amber exclamation mark has several meanings. There is a faulty / dead bulb. In this situation, you may require specialised fitting service. These systems require technical assistance from a Mercedes technician; the active light function is faulty, the exterior lighting is defective, the light sensor is faulty. Other reasons may be you are driving in low light conditions without lights, or that you have left the vehicle with lights turned on. Check messages on display panel for specific issue.
Engine Coolant WARNING Light
This symbol informs the driver that the coolant level is too low. Avoid making long journeys with too little coolant in the engine cooling system. The engine will otherwise be seriously damaged. Add coolant, ensuring you allow the engine time to cool down before doing so. If you have to add coolant frequently, contact a qualified specialist workshop and have the engine cooling system checked. See engine coolant for further details.
ENGINE Overheating WARNING LIGHT
If symbol illuminates and stays illuminated when the engine is cool and the temperature reading is at the start of the gauge, it indicates the temperature sensor is faulty. This symbol will illuminate in red to inform the driver that the cooling fan has malfunctioned. Drive carefully to your nearest Mercedes engineer ensuring that you do not put excessive load on the engine. It can also indicate coolant levels are too low. If the light illuminates along with an audible tone, it suggests engine coolant is overheating and has exceeded 120°C. Pull over as soon as safe to do so and switch off engine. Allow to cool down and check coolant levels. If levels are correct, have vehicle inspected immediately.
Battery Charge WARNING LIGHT
This symbol illuminates indicating the battery is not being charged. A warning tone also sounds. Possible causes are: a defective alternator, a defective power electronics (PLUG-IN HYBRID vehicles), a torn poly-V-belt, a malfunction in the electronics. Do not drive the vehicle as the engine may overheat. If the engine is not running and the battery charge light illuminates, turn off any electrical equipment in the vehicle such as the rear window defroster and interior lighting and try to start the vehicle again. Leave engine running for several minutes before pulling away.
Low Engine Oil WARNING LIGHT
The engine oil level has dropped to the minimum level and a warning tone also sounds. Avoid driving long distances with too little oil as this may damage the engine. If topping up the oil is required frequently, see a qualified Mercedes Benz engineer.
Mercedes Benz Dashboard WARNING LIGHT
The triangle containing an exclamation mark symbol illuminate to issue a warning. Message: Switch Ignition Off Before Exiting – PLUG-IN Hybrid vehicles: You are exiting the vehicle when it is in a ready-to-drive state. The READY indicator in the multifunction display is on. A warning tone also sounds. If you leave the vehicle, secure the vehicle against rolling away and switch off the ignition and remove the SmartKey. If you remain in the vehicle, turn off electrical devices such as automatic climate control and seat heating.
Message: Change the current drive program before changing the operating mode, or exit the manual drive program – PLUG-IN HYBRID vehicles: You have attempted to change the operating mode in the automatic drive program S (Sport), S+ (Sport Plus) or in the manual drive program M. Activate drive program C (Comfort) or E (Economy) and select the preferred operating mode HYBRID, E-MODE, E-SAVE or CHARGE.
Message: E-MODE currently unavailable – PLUG-IN HYBRID vehicles: The condition of charge of the high-voltage battery has dropped to the lower limit and the E-MODE operating mode has been switched off. Driving with the internal combustion engine is activated and the operating mode switches to the basic HYBRID setting. Continue driving using the internal combustion engine. You can switch to the E-SAVE or CHARGE operating mode as required. If you select CHARGE, the high-voltage battery is charged. Once the charge level display for the high-voltage battery has increased slightly, you can switch to the E-MODE operating mode again.
Message: Only E-MODE available power limited – refuel immediately – PLUG-IN HYBRID vehicles: The fuel tank has been run dry and the combustion engine has been switched off. A warning tone also sounds. The vehicle will be powered by electrical energy only. Performance is restricted and the vehicle may accelerate more slowly than normal. Refuel at the nearest gas station without fail. In the “Total range and electric range” menu, you can display the approximate range of the vehicle.
Message: Engine will not restart – Service immediately – You cannot start the engine again due to a malfunction. A warning tone also sounds. If the engine is running, visit a qualified specialist workshop. If you switch off the engine, seek assistance from a qualified technician.
Hybrid Fault WARNING LIGHT
These symbols indicate a fault with the hybrid drive system. The first light with a car and hook means there is a fault but towing is not permitted – have the vehicle transported on a transporter or trailer to the nearest qualified specialist workshop. The second symbol also indicates a fault where vehicle needs inspection but can be towed.
Drive System FAULT WARNING LIGHT
The two cogs symbol indicates the drive system is malfunctioning. The ECO start/stop function may be malfunctioning and the drive power is restricted.
Visit a qualified specialist workshop.
Other Mercedes Warning Lights