The very first generation of the Fiat Panda was introduced in 1980 and is still being built today. Though modern cars are increasingly reliable, technology is becoming more complicated, meaning there’s more that can go wrong. When something does go wrong, you’ll often have a dashboard warning light telling you about it. The Fiat Panda displays these lights in red, amber, green and blue.
It’s important to take note of these lights, or symbols, particularity those that are red or flashing red. Red dashboard lights indicate that something has gone wrong and may impact occupant safety or may result in vehicle damage if not resolved. Here we’ll take a look at the Fiat Panda dashboard warning lights with an explanation of what they mean and what action to take.
Red Warning Lights
Important warning lights such as the red symbols are accompanied by a specific message and/or sound. In case of failure, serious faults are indicated by a prolonged and repeated warning, while less serious faults are indicated by a temporary warning. Listed below are the red warning lights for the Fiat Panda.
Name: Seat Belt
Description: The seat belt warning symbol lights up and a buzzer will sound if the driver and/or passengers belt is not fastened. The light will only come on if the vehicle is not moving.
Action: Fasten your seat belt.
Description: The Fiat Panda Electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) failure is indicated by (red), (amber) and (amber) illuminating simultaneously. EBD is essentially an additional braking system that improves the function of anti-lock brakes. In the event of EBD failure, when braking heavily, the wheels may lock and the vehicle may swerve.
Action: Drive carefully to have the vehicle inspected immediately.
Description: This is the airbag fault light. It should come on in red with the ignition switched to MAR and go out shortly after. If the light does not come on or comes on when driving there is a malfunction with the airbag / restraint systems. The airbags or seat belt pretensioners may not be deployed in a collision or, in a lower number of cases, they may be deployed accidentally.
Action: Have vehicle checked as soon as possible.
Name: Parking Brake
Description: The red circle containing an exclamation mark has 2 meanings:
- The handbrake is on. If moving, you’ll also hear an alarm.
- There is insufficient brake fluid in the reservoir tank. The brake circuit is a sealed system and only requires infrequent refilling of brake fluid. This may be an indication of a leak.
Action: The following actions should be carried out if the brake warning light comes on:
- Release the handbrake / parking brake.
- Check brake fluid reservoir tank and top up with fluid if necessary. Vehicle braking ability may become seriously reduced. If frequent fluid top ups are required, have vehicle checked for leaks.
Description: The battery warning symbol should come on when the ignition is switched to MAR and go out shortly. If it stays on, comes on when driving or flashes, it indicates low battery charge. This could be a fault with the battery, battery charging system or cable / wiring on the Fiat Panda.
Action: Turn off any electrical systems that are not necessary. This may include heaters, demisters, radio or any charging outlets. Drive immediately to have vehicle repaired as breakdown is likely.
Name: Oil Level / Pressure
Description: On the Fiat Panda, this red oil lamp is an indication of either low engine oil levels or low pressure.
- Low oil levels – Running with low engine oil levels can cause damage with prolonged driving.
- Low oil pressure – If the oil pressure is low, this can cause significant damage to engine components.
Action: The following actions should be carried out if the oil pressure warning light comes on:
- Stop the vehicle as soon as safely possible and check engine oil levels using the dipstick. Top up if required to the maximum indicator on the dipstick. Continue driving and check to ensure oil light does not come back on.
- If engine oil levels does not require topping up, or if the oil light remains on, do not continue driving. Significant engine damage will likely occur due to low oil pressure. Arrange to have vehicle recovered.
Name: Oil Degraded
Description: The same dashboard symbol will illuminate but diesel versions of the Fiat Panda with DPF, it indicates degraded engine oil. The warning light flashes for 3 minute cycles until the oil is changed. A dedicated message may also be displayed. This is not a fault light or related to the amount of oil in the engine but is informing the owner that oil must be changed. Engine oil must be changed as soon as possible and no more than 500 km (310 miles) from when the light first came on. Failure to do so may result in serious engine damage and may void any warranty.
Action: Change oil as soon as possible. Engine oil deterioration is accelerated by:
- Frequent short town journeys so that the oil fails to reach optimum running temperature.
- Frequent interruptions to the diesel particulate filter regeneration process signaled by the DPF warning light coming on.
Description: Under normal operating conditions, this engine coolant temperature too high symbol comes on with ignition and goes out shortly after. The engine is overheating if the light comes on while driving.
Action: Normal driving: Stop and switch off the engine. Allow time for the engine to cool down and check engine coolant (water) levels and top up if required. Ensure levels do not exceed ‘MAX’ on header tank. Check for water leaks.
Demanding driving: This may be towing a trailer or driving uphill with fully loaded car for example. Slow down and if the light remains on after 2 minutes, stop and do as above.
Name: Power Steering
Description: If the light stays on after ignition or comes on while driving, there is a failure in the ‘Dualdrive’ electric power steering system. Steering will become notably harder. This is not a serious fault though steering assistance will be unavailable. If the battery has been disconnected, the steering must be calibrated. To do this, simply turn the steering wheel all the way from one end to the other or drive in a straight line for about a hundred metres.
Action: A certain fault means the warning light may come on due to factors unrelated to power steering. If this happens and if driving, stop when safe to do so and switch off the engine for around 20 seconds and restart. This should resolve the issue. If light remains on, have vehicle checked by qualified Fiat engineers.
Description: The red cog containing an exclamation mark symbol on the Fiat Panda indicates a failure with the ‘Dualogic’ gearbox. It is normal procedure for this symbol to come with ignition key set to ‘MAR’ but to go out shortly.
Action: If the light remains on, have vehicles checked as soon as possible to avoid breakdown.
Amber Warning Lights
These are the amber warning symbols that can display on your Fiat Panda dashboard. Amber lights are generally less urgent than red and may be accompanied by a message depending on your model of car.
Description: This light indicates a fault with the ABS which stands for Anti-lock Braking System. ABS is a safety aid that helps to stop your wheels from locking under harsh braking. The benefits of this are to enable you so steer due to the wheels not locking and to slow down sooner.
Action: Normal braking system remains unaffected but have your car looked at as soon as possible.
Name: Passenger Airbag
Description: This symbol indicates that the passenger airbag / side bag has been deactivated manually. If there’s a fault with the will illuminate in red.
Name: City Brake Control
Description: This symbol indicates that Fiat City Brake Control, or “Collision Mitigation” has been deactivated. Fiat City Brake Control is an emergency braking system which automatically helps a driver avoid a low-speed crash.
Description: Often referred to as the ‘check engine’ or MIL (malfunction indicator lamp), this is the injection / EOBD warning light. If the light comes on while driving or stays on after ignition, it indicates the injection system is not working correctly. This is a malfunction in the fuel supply / ignition system and may result in excessive exhaust emissions. Other symptoms will include high fuel consumption, poor performance and vehicle not driving very well.
Action: You can continue to drive at moderate speed, but prolonged driving may cause engine / catalytic converter damage, particularly if the light flashes.
Description: The Fiat Panda ESC light stands for Electronic Stability Control. If the light stays on continuously, it indicates a fault.
Action: The following applies if the ESC light is on:
- Flashing: This indicates that ESC is active. Moderate your speed.
- Steady On: Indicates a fault with Hill Holder system, or a fault with ELD – electronic locking differential.
Name: Code System
Description: This indicates a failure with the Fiat CODE system. If this light flashes with the engine switched on, the car is not protected by the engine inhibitor.
Action: To reactivate the Fiat Code System, contact a dealership to have you keys memorised.
Name: Glow Plugs
Description: On diesel versions of the Fiat Panda only, this light indicates a fault with the diesel pre-heating system. If the glow plugs light is flashing, it’s probable that one of the glow plugs is faulty.
Description: The Fiat Panda diesel particulate filter (DPF) warning light comes on constantly informing you that the system must be cleaned by eliminating diesel particulates from the filter via the regeneration process. This process is often done automatically, if the light symbol comes on, you are required to help the process.
Action: For the light to go out and to regenerate the filter, drive constantly 15 minutes or more at 37 mph (60 km/h) with engine speed above 2000 rpm.
Description: The Fiat Panda iTPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system) light comes on indicating that one or more tyre pressures is below the stored values. Once tyre pressure has been corrected, you must follow the iTPMS reset procedure.
Action: Running with low tyre pressure increases fuel consumption and reduces vehicle handling. It also increases tyre wear.
Name: General Failure
Description: The triangle containing an exclamation mark on the Fiat Panda is a general failure light and has many meanings. A message may accompany the fault light. The following faults are as follows:
If you have a speed limit set in the setup menu and it is exceeded, the failure light will come on.
Fuel cut-off system intervention
In the event of a collision, the fuel cut-off system activates. If there is a fault with the system, the general fault lamp illuminates.
Start / Stop system failure
This fault light comes on when there’s a problem with the Fiat Start / Stop system.
Exterior lights failure
This fault light may indicate a failure of exterior lights, including: side lights, number plate lights, rear fog lights, direction indicators, daytime running lights (DRL).
Engine oil pressure sensor failure
This fault light may indicate a failure engine oil pressure sensor failure’
Water in diesel filter (diesel versions)
For diesel versions only, this fault light may indicate there’s water in the diesel filter.
Electronic Locking Differential (ELD) system fault
Only for Fiat Panda Cross and Panda 4×4 versions when a fault is detected in the 4×4 drive.
Parking sensor failure
The general fault light illuminates and depending on your model of Fiat Panda, a dedicated message indicating a fault with the parking sensors.
14 thoughts on “Fiat Panda Dashboard Warning Lights + Symbols Explained”
Brilliant – really helped me
Thank you! Really helpful!
The exclamation mark symbol on dashboard comes on as you put a foot on the brake pedal even when standing still with or without the engine and does it consistently. What can it be.
hi, i have the same problem. have you found what it is?
Thank you. A most helpful set of meanings
The number 3 regularly pops up on my dashboard. Nothing in the book about it. Panda trekking. Any ideas.
Engine running smooth with yellow triangle light on what is causelp
Thank you . Not having an owner’s hand book . This has helped a lot , being amber didn’t think it was to serious . This has out my mind at ease .
Glad to have helped, Frances.
I’m borrowing my daughters Fiat Panda. Today a red light that looks like a box came on. I cannot find this in the handbook. Any idea if this indicates a serious problem. Thank you very much
Not entirely sure. Did it look like this warning light?
If it is that one, it’s the transmission warning light.