On-board computers linked to many sensors in and around your car notify you of warnings, malfunctions or certain functions that have been activated on your Volkswagen Golf.
Certain systems perform a ‘self check’ upon engine ignition, illuminating certain dashboard lights which shortly go out once the engine has started or the car is moving. This is normal.
Typically, warning lights and symbols signify the level of urgency by colour. Blue and green lights inform the driver that a utility has been activated, such as the external driving lights for example.
Amber / yellow / orange lights usually illuminate to inform the driver that something requires attention but is not urgent. This could be that pressure in a tyre is a little low or that the vehicle requires a service soon. They’re also used to inform the driver that certain driving safety aids have been deactivated.
Red lights and symbols, particularly those that flash and may be accompanied by and audible signal are far more urgent and may require immediate attention. These lights may signify risk of safety or potential damage to vehicle.
Certain dashboard symbols are generic, whilst others are used specifically to a particular make and / or model of vehicle. Depending on your model of VW Golf, a light or symbol may illuminate on the dashboard, along with a text message in the instrument cluster.
Detailed here are many of the Volkswagen Golf dashboard warning lights along with their meaning and appropriate action to take. Lights and symbols may vary slightly depending on the model of Golf.
STOP Warning Light
The Volkswagen Golf STOP light is typically used alongside another dashboard symbol or message to signify an urgent message. STOP light will illuminate with engine ignition and shortly extinguish shortly thereafter. If light remains on without a secondary symbol or message, this could signify an electrical or sensor fault.
Central Warning Light
The Volkswagen Golf red triangle or less urgent issue of amber triangle with a exclamation mark inside is a central warning light. If you see this symbol, read and follow text messages in the instrument cluster display.
Parking Brake Warning Light
May be seen alongside the STOP warning light. If safe to do so, stop the vehicle before releasing the handbrake / parking brake. Once stopped, pull the parking brake lever up slightly, press the release button and ensure lever is pushed all the way down. Continuous driving with the parking brake partially applied can cause brake overheat, wear and damage.
Brake Dashboard Warning Light
May be seen alongside the STOP warning light. The BRAKE warning light illuminates because either there brake fluid level is too low or there is a malfunction within the vehicle braking system. Stop the vehicle when safe to do so and check brake fluid reservoir. If fluid requires replenishing regularly, it suggests a leak within the braking system which requires immediate assistance. If brake fluid reservoir levels do not require replenishing, there is a malfunction within the braking system. Seek assistance immediately.
Engine Coolant Dashboard Warning Light
May be seen alongside the STOP warning light. Stop vehicle as soon as safe to do so. This symbol illuminate because either the engine coolant is too low, coolant temperate is too high, or there’s a malfunction within the system. Allow the engine to cool down so that temperature is once again in the normal region. Check coolant levels and add coolant if necessary. If engine coolant levels are correct, or problems persist shortly after topping up coolant, do not drive the vehicle and seek Volkswagen assistance. Continuing to drive may seriously damage engine components.
Engine Oil Pressure Warning Light
May be seen alongside the STOP warning light. Stop and turn off the engine as soon as safely possible, then check engine oil levels. If warning light flashes and oil levels are normal, do not attempt to turn on engine as damage may occur to mechanical engine components due to low oil pressure. Seek assistance from VW engineer.
Steering Malfunction Warning Light
May be seen alongside the STOP warning light. If the steering wheel with an exclamation mark symbol illuminates but stable, there’s a power steering system malfunction fault. Have the fault checked by a Volkswagen specialist. If the symbol flashes, the electronic steering column lock has malfunctioned. Switch the ignition off and back on again. If ignition cannot be turned on or off, gain professional assistance. If the light is amber, there’s a reduction in power steering. Stop and restart engine. If the light remains on, seeks assistance.
Seat Belts not Buckled Warning Light
Driver and/or passenger safety seat belts are not fastened. You may on occasions experience problems with the seat belt light not going out on your VW Golf. For help with this, see seat belt light staying on.
Battery (Alternator) Warning Light
The battery symbol illuminates, indicating either a battery fault, alternator malfunction or a fault within the electrical system. If light illuminates whilst driving, switch off any unnecessary electrical loads. Seek assistance from authorised dealer. See Why is the battery warning light on for further help.
Ignition Switch Warning Light
This key symbol indicates that there’s a malfunction with the Golf ignition switch. Regardless of whether the symbol is red or amber, do not turn off the ignition as you may be unable to restart. Drive to an authorised workshop.
Front Assist Warning Light
Front Assist technology issues a warning if your Volkswagen Golf is equipped. If Front Assist activates, brake or take action to avoid the vehicle in front. If symbol is amber, Front Assist has be manually turned off.
Adaptive Cruise Control Warning Light
ACC, or Adaptive Cruise Control helps to maintain an individually stored constant speed and a set distance in time intervals between your vehicle and those in front. If the red symbol of a circle with a foot inside illuminates, it means the system does have sufficient time to decelerate and brake and requires driver intervention. The amber symbol indicated ACC is currently unavailable. The green ‘CRUISE’ symbol indicates ACC is activated.
ASR / ESC Control Warning Light
The skidding car symbol is ESC, or Electronic Stability Control which aids in keeping vehicle stable. If light illuminates, it means ESC has been switched off by the system. Turn ignition off and on again to reactivate. If light remains on, there is a ESC malfunction – see a Volkswagen technician. ASR or Anti-slip Regulation if deactivated manually will see the ESC ‘off’ illuminated. This will also illuminate if ESC Sport mode is activated.
ABS Dashboard Warning Light
One of the two ABS (anti-lock braking system) lights may illuminate and may also illuminate alongside the ESC light. This is to inform that ABS has malfunctioned. ABS aids in emergency braking by preventing the wheels from locking up. Normal braking remains unaffected. See VW engineer soon.
Electronic Parking Brake Warning Light
One of the starting assistance systems is the electronic parking brake. When illuminated in green, it prevents rolling and is indicating that vehicle is being held. If illuminated in amber, the electronic parking brake has malfunctioned – see Volkswagen engineer.
VW Golf EPC Warning Light
If the EPC symbol illuminates, this indicates an engine control malfunction (Electronic Power Control). Have engine checked by a VW specialist immediately. The other symbol is engine malfunction light (MIL). If this illuminates, also contact VW specialist. There could be several reasons why the MIL illuminates. Vehicle can be driven to service station. If the MIL flashes, it indicates a misfire which can damage the catalytic converter.
Engine Speed Limited Warning Light
The rev counter and exclamation mark symbol indicates a reduction in RPM. On certain models of VW Golf, engine speeds (rpm) may be automatically limited to the speed shown on the instrument cluster to prevent overheating. Once temperature is non-critical, speed will be increased. If the engine speed is limited, along with the EPC light, have the engine checked by a specialist.
Tyre Pressure Warning Light
Symbol lights up indicating pressure is significantly lower in one or more tyres than the pressure set by the driver. May also include audible chime. Check tyres for damage and pressure. If light flashes, check pressure in all 4 tyres, turn ignition off and on again. If light continues to flash, there’s a malfunction in the system which requires technical assistance. If on your VW Golf you’re having problems with the light, see possible reasons why the tyre pressure warning light keeps coming on.
Engine Oil Level Warning Light
If the symbol of the oil can lights up in amber, engine oil level is too low. Running the engine on low oil for may cause damage – replenish oil level as soon as possible. If symbol flashes, there’s a malfunction with the engine oil system which requires assistance from a qualified engineer.
Airbag / Seat Belt Warning Light
If the top symbol lights up, it indicates a fault within the airbag and safety belt pretensioner system. This requires attention from a VW specialist. The lower symbol indicated passenger airbag has been manually turned off. For further information about airbags and possible faults, see why is the airbag light on?
Transmission Malfunction Warning Light
The cog containing an exclamation mark indicates a transmission malfunction for automatic gearbox. Release the brake pedal, depress once again. If light remains illuminated, contact authorised workshop.
Lane Assist Dashboard Light
Illuminated in green indicated Lane Assist is active, in amber, Lane Assist is on but not active.
Golf Bulb Warning Light
The bulb symbol illuminates to inform either one or more of the driving lights have failed, or there’s a lights malfunction, excluding AFS (Adaptive Front Lighting System). If all light bulbs are not blown, contact authorised workshop.
Diesel Pre-heat Light
The ‘coil’ symbol is for diesel engines only and is part of the glow plug pre-heating system. Turn ignition on until symbol extinguishes before starting diesel engine.
Diesel Particulate Filter Light
The ‘exhaust’ symbol is for diesel vehicle only and requires the particulate filter to be cleaned (regeneration). To do this, drive at a speed of at least 60 KM/H (37 MPH) with an engine speed of between 1800 to 2500 RPM and for at least 15 minutes. If in an automatic, select sport mode.
Worn Brake Pads Warning Light
This symbol inform the driver that the vehicle brake pads are badly worn and braking ability may become reduced. Take your vehicle to an authorised service centre as soon as possible.
Service Reminder Dashboard Light
The VW Golf spanner or wrench symbol informs the driver that a service is required soon. A text message may inform the driver when the service is due, after how many miles and the types of service required.