Dashboards typically associated with cars, are of course used on motorcycles too and like cars, motorcycles often use warning lights on their dashboard.
Dashboards and instrument panels vary considerably on motorcycles. From analog gauges through to entire digital LCD displays, almost all have warning lights to convey information to the rider.
Motorcycle dash warning lights are represented in the form of a symbol so to avoid any confusion over language barriers. That symbol is then assigned a colour which often represents the seriousness of the warning. Typically green and blue lights inform the rider that a utility is active, such as the lights for example. Amber and red lights signify a fault, red being more urgent.
Some symbols though often universal, may vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. Some makes and models of motorcycles may also utilize a greater number of warning lights than others.
Covered in this section are the typical motorcycle dashboard warning lights associated with many makes and models. A description of the symbol meaning along with remedial action is provided.
Red and Amber Dashboard Warning Lights
These are the red and amber / yellow warning lights that you may see illuminate on your motorcycle’s dashboard:
Motorcycle Ignition Light
The ignition light will illuminate in red when the ignition is switched on and once the engine has started, should go out after a few seconds. If the light remains on, or illuminates whilst riding, it suggests a problem with the electrical system. The battery may need replacing or the battery is failing to charge. Motorcycle may fail to start if not remedied.
Oil Pressure Warning LIGHT
The oil pressure light will come on with the ignition and soon go out when the engine has started. If the light illuminates whilst riding, it signifies low oil pressure. This is due to insufficient oil levels and may result in damage to the engine. As soon as is safely possible, stop the motorcycle and turn off the engine.
Engine Temperature warning LIGHT
If your motorcycle is water cooled and it is reaching temperatures that may cause damage to the engine, a symbol similar to this may illuminate to warn you. Engine coolant levels may be running low or there may be a leak in the coolant system. Engine must be turned off as soon as possible to check engine coolant levels. Allow engine to cool before checking.
ABS WARNING LIGHT
Not all motorcycle have anti-lock braking systems (ABS). If yours does, it will have an ABS light. Typically the ABS light will illuminate with the ignition being switched on. On some systems the ABS light may not extinguish until you have reached a speed on 10 to 15 mph, where the system becomes activated.
The manufacturers handbook will inform you specifically. If the light remains on constantly, there may be a fault in the ABS system. Normal brakes will not be affected in the event of a fault with the ABS system.
ENGINE Management WARNING LIGHT
Engine management systems monitor the ignition system, air intake, fuel and exhaust emissions of many modern motorcycle engine. This light should go out once the engine has started, if it illuminate whilst riding or stays on once started, contact an authorised technician.
Diagnostic equipment is required to locate the specific fault. This light illuminating will not usually cause damage to the engine providing the issue is rectified soon.
Green and Blue Dashboard Warning Lights
These are the green and blue warning lights that you may see illuminate on your motorcycle’s dashboard:
Motorcycle Neutral LIGHT
The motorcycle neutral light illuminate green to inform the rider that the gear selector is in the neutral position.
Directional Indicators and Hazard Warning Light symbols
If you are signalling to the left, the left directional arrow will flash green to inform you that your left signal indicator lights are flashing. The opposite being for the right signal. Both lights will flash and all four direction indicators will flash when the hazard warning lights are activated.
Only activate hazard warning lights if you are causing an unintended obstruction, such as broken down for example or if you need to slow down abruptly on a motorway or dual carriageway due to a hazard in the road ahead.
Rear Fog LIGHT Warning SYMBOL
This illuminates if your high density rear fog light has been activated. Fog lights are very bright and can dazzle other motorists. Only turn on your fog light if visibility falls below 100 metres.
Full Beam Warning LIGHT
This blue symbol illuminate to warn you that your full / high beam headlights are active. The light will go out when full beam has been turned off.