If you find yourself between Mercedes service appointments but your dashboard is beeping signals at you, it may be worth familiarizing yourself with what they mean and what action is needed from you. Some warning lights are easily fixable such as seatbelt warnings or low washer fluid. But do you know which signals require immediate attention or could mean imminent disaster? It’s worth reading our list to refresh your knowledge on important dashboard warning lights. With the latest Mercedes Benz models, you will generally have an explanation on your screen, however on older models you may have to dig up the manual from the depths of your glove box to figure out what has gone wrong, so we are here to help.
- Symbol – An icon representing the shape of your engine.
- Meaning – This symbol indicates a fault in one of the systems in your engine: engine management, fuel injection, ignition or exhaust. Additionally, your emissions values may have exceeded normal functioning and has stressed the engine into emergency mode.
- Action Required – Take your car in immediately for a service for an accurate diagnosis.
- Symbol – The letters ‘ABS’ will appear in a circle with brackets around it.
- Meaning – Your ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System) is not functioning properly and has deactivated, as well as deactivating other systems such as ESP (Electronic Stability Program) and BAS (Brake and Assist). Your normal brakes will maintain normal functioning so that you may slow and stop, but in case of emergency braking you will not have the additional support of the advanced systems.
- Action Required – We suggest bringing your Mercedes in to our service center to have a look at the problem and not to rely solely on your normal braking system.
- Symbol – Tilting car with skid marks behind it; tilting car with skid marks and the word ‘OFF’ beneath it.
- Meaning – ESP stands for ‘Electronic Stability Program’ (also known as Electronic Stability Control). This light may appear in wet or sandy surfaces where the car is at risk of skidding or if a wheel has started spinning, ESP activates to increase traction and stabilize the car. If the ESP OFF symbol appears this means that traction control is disabled and will not switch on automatically, which you can enable or disable. Cruise control will also deactivate if ESP comes on.
- Action Required – Reduce your speed and accelerate gently in dangerous road conditions.
Brake Pad Wear
- Symbol – White or amber circle with dotted brackets on either side.
- Meaning – You Mercedes has detected that the brake pads or brake pad lining is wearing thin or is damaged and needs changing.
- Action Required – You need to have your brake pads replaced as soon as possible, as driving with decreased brake functionality is dangerous to yourself and surrounding drivers.
SRS Airbag Warning
- Symbol – Driver in seatbelt with a circle on their lap.
- Meaning – The SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) is malfunctioning. This means that the airbags or Emergency Tensioning may be triggered (or during an accident they may not trigger). Read your display to find out exactly what error your SRS is experiencing.
- Action Required – Depending on the display message you may need to take your car in to our workshop to either reset the system or have a look at what may be causing the malfunction.
- Symbol – Steering wheel icon with an exclamation mark next to it.
- Meaning – This symbol indicates that power steering is failing and that you will have to use more force when steering the car.
- Action Required – Have your steering seen to, soon – especially if you find maneuvering difficult.
- Symbol – A battery with positive and negative symbols on either side.
- Meaning – The symbol usually illuminates on engine start-up, but will disappear. If it does not disappear then it indicates either a faulty alternator, a torn poly-v belt, or a malfunction in your electronic systems. Battery problems can prevent you from being able to start your car.
- Action Required – If the symbol persists you need to go in for a proper diagnostics test to assess the issue.
- Symbol – Thermometer in little waves.
- Meaning – This symbol indicates that your coolant level is too low. The symbol may also indicate that the temperature gauge is faulty if the car is cool and the needle is sitting on the lowest point.
- Action Required – Stop driving immediately and allow the car to cool if the temperature is too high, else you are at risk of severe damage to your engine’s inner workings. If the gauge is faulty have it repaired as soon as possible so that you can keep an eye on the temperature, especially in the Florida heat.
Low Engine Oil
- Symbol – Oil can with a drip pouring out.
- Meaning – This indicates that the oil in your engine is at minimum levels. If you find that you are refilling your oil often that is an indication that something more serious is happening.
- Action Required – Have your oil filled and avoid driving long distances with low oil levels. If the oil levels are low frequently have your engine checked at the service center.
- Symbol – Exclamation mark inside a circle with an open top.
- Meaning – This symbol is indicating that tire pressure has reached its minimum for proper operational use of the vehicle, or that there is a puncture in the tire.
- Action Required – Pull over immediately and inspect your tires. If action is needed have your car towed or safely drive to the nearest place where your tire pressure can be increased.
More Informative Symbols
Our list highlights many of the most serious warning lights to be aware of, however there are many more which depend on model of Mercedes and customizable options that have been installed. There are a few more honorable mentions to look out for on your display or if persistent beeping is heard:
- Seatbelt – This appears when the seatbelt is not engaged when the car feels a weight on the passenger seat. Simply using the seatbelt will turn this warning off.
- Sport – In AMG models this symbol indicates that SPORT mode is engaged and that ESP will be disabled, and therefore skidding is more likely.
- Hybrid Icons – If you drive a hybrid model there are a number of extra icons which indicate a fault with the hybrid driving system. Make yourself familiar with these from the manual.
- Attention Assist – The steaming coffee cup icon will appear when the car monitors driving behavior that indicates that the driver is fatigued. Taking short breaks when they appear will turn them off. They can also be manually turned off but will appear more frequently thereafter.
- Light Fault – The lightbulb with an exclamation mark will appear if any lights within or outside of the vehicle have stopped working. Your display should indicate to you which specific light is faulty depending on your model. Bring your Mercedes in to us if you require a light fitment.
- Dashboard Warning – Last most certainly not least is the standard Mercedes warning symbol with the exclamation mark inside of it. This symbol appears when an error occurs or when your attention needs to be drawn to something like having left the lights or an indicator on. Usually the display will inform you of the problem.
No matter the symbol, whether for washer fluid or seatbelt signs, to tire pressure and brake pad warnings, all lights should be heeded with seriousness and checked up on sooner rather than waiting for your next service. A Mercedes is a highly complex technological machine that requires optimal functioning of all its parts to offer the quality service and superior experience that the manufacturers intended. More than that, taking care of your car will be taking care of your safety and will ensure all systems are running smoothly for the perfect ride. If you are worried about any warning lights on your dashboard, bring your Mercedes in to our Pompano Beach auto service center and we will take a look.