Kia Forte (Cerato) Dashboard with Warning Lights Showing

Kia Forte (Cerato) Dashboard Warning Lights

Other than remaining the Cerato to the Forte during 2008 for the North American market, the Kia Cerato and Kia Forte are the same car. The Cerato was first put into production by North Korean car manufacturer Kia in 2003.

The Cerato name is still used in South America, Australia, New Zealand and Russia. A similar platform to the Cerato and Forte is the Kia Ceed which is sold throughout Europe.

If you own a Kia Cerato, Kia Forte or Kia Ceed and have a dashboard warning light that you need help understanding, the following guide should help you. Your dashboard display and location of warning light will vary depending on your model of Kia.

Kia Forte / Cerato Tire Pressure Warning Power Steering

Under normal working conditions, this warning light comes on for approximately 3 seconds when the ignition is set to ON, then goes off. If the light stays on, it means there’s a problem with the Motor Driven Power Steering (MDPS). You notice increased resistance on the Kia Forte / Cerato steering, particularly at slower speeds.

Power steering motors can become hot when excessive steering is applied when the vehicle is stationary, or when attempting to park the vehicle for an extended period of time. This is a fail-safe mode to prevent damage. If the light remains lit constantly, have the power steering system serviced by an authorised Kia workshop.

2. Kia Forte / Cerato Battery Charge Warning Electric Battery Charge

If the red battery symbol remains contently lit on the Kia Forte / Cerato dashboard, it means there’s an electric charging fault. This is often due to the alternator or alternator drive belt being loose or missing. If the battery is ageing, it may also cause problems, particularly noticeable in colder weather.

If the battery charge light comes on while you’re driving, make your way immediately to the nearest vehicle repair workshop. There’s a risk that the engine may stop if continued driving. See why is my car battery warning light on for further information.

3. Kia Forte / Cerato Low Oil Pressure Warning Engine Oil Pressure Low

This low engine oil pressure light should not be confused with the low engine oil level light. If this warning illuminates while driving, you should pull off the road and switch off the engine as soon as it’s safely possible. Driving with low engine oil pressure can cause serious damage to the engine and may result in engine failure. Once stopped, check engine oil level. A low level of engine can cause low pressure. If oil levels are fine, or if the light remains on after adding oil, do not continue driving.

4. Kia Forte / Cerato Parking Brake, Brake Fluid, Brake Fault Warning Parking Brake, Brake Fluid, Brake Fault

This symbol may illuminate as a red exclamation point contained in a circle, or some on in textual format ‘BRAKE’. The symbol initially comes on when the ignition is switched on for around 3 seconds, then go off.

If the light remains lit, it indicates the parking brake is on. If the parking is not on, it may indicate low brake fluid level. Check fluid levels. If the brake light comes on along with the ABS light (11), it means there’s a fault with the braking system. Specifically, the Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) system is not working properly. The EBD system distributes varying brake pressure to individual wheels to improve braking efficiency.

When the ABS Warning Light is on or both ABS and Parking Brake & Brake Fluid Warning Lights are on, the speedometer, odometer, or tripmeter may not work. Also, the MDPS Warning Light may illuminate and the steering effort may increase or decrease.

5. Kia Forte / Cerato Seat Belt Warning Seat Belt Warning

This warning light informs the driver that the seat belt is not fastened. The seat belt warning light will illuminate for approximately 6 seconds each time you turn the ignition on regardless of belt fastening and a warning chime will sound for approximately 6 seconds each time you turn the ignition on when the belt is unfastened.

If you continue not to fasten the seat belt and drive below 12mph, the warning light will stay illuminated. If you continue not to fasten the seat belt whilst driving over 12mph, the seat belt warning chime will sound for approximately 100 seconds and the corresponding warning light will blink.

6. Kia Forte / Cerato Air Bag (SRS) Warning Air Bag Warning

Under normal operating conditions, the air bag warning light comes on for approximately 6 seconds when the ignition is switched on, then goes off. If it remains on, there’s a problem with the supplementary restraint system (SRS). A diagnostics tool (OBD-II scanner) that’s capable of scanning for air bag fault codes is required. Some common faults include damage to the crash detector sensors, air bag clock spring, fault with air bag module, cables under front seat become loose.

7. Kia Forte / Cerato Engine Malfunction Indicator Lamp Engine Malfunction Indicator Lamp

Under normal operating conditions, the engine warning light comes on for around 3 seconds when the ignition is switched to on. It should then go off. The engine light will remain lit or come on when driving if there’s a fault with the emissions control system or the vehicle powertrain.

You can usually continue driving the Kia Forte / Cerato with the engine light on, but continued driving without having the fault fixed may cause the issue to worsen and ultimately result in expensive damage. You may also notice an increase in fuel usage. If the the engine light blinks, it can mean the engine is misfiring, which an lead to damage to the catalytic converter. It’s advised to reduce speed and engine load and have the problem rectified as soon as possible.

The emissions control system and the vehicle powertrain are made up of many components. In order to diagnose the Kia Forte / Cerato engine warning light, an OBD-II diagnostic tool is required to scan for fault codes. A fault code is typically generated and stored each time the engine light illuminates. For more information about the engine warning light,  see reasons why the engine warning light is on.

8. Kia Forte / Cerato Immobiliser Indicator Lamp Immobiliser Indicator Lamp

Under normal operating conditions, the Kia Forte / Cerato immobiliser warning lamp should go off when the system detects the correct electronic key. You can then start the engine. If the immobiliser light blinks, it means there’s a fault with the immobiliser system, or that the smart key is not in the vehicle and you’ll be unable to start the engine. A flashing immobiliser light can also indicate that the battery inside the smart key is weak and requires replacement. Replace the battery with a new battery CR2032.

9. Kia Forte / Cerato LED Headlight Warning LED Headlight Warning

The bulb containing an exclamation mark illuminates when there’s a problem with the vehicle’s LED headlights. Have the headlamps inspected by an authorised Kia workshop.

10. Kia Forte / Cerato Low Tire Pressure Warning Low tire Pressure Warning

There are two possible reasons for the Kia Forte / Cerato tire pressure light to come on. It comes on steady to warn that a tire has become underinflated, or it flashes initially for 70 seconds, then remains steady to indicate a problem with the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). If the low tire pressure light is on, you’ll need to reset the TPMS. When adjusting tire pressures, ensure that the tires are cold. To reset the Kia Forte / Cerato tire pressure system:

  1. Inflate all tyres to the recommended pressure. You can locate the correct pressures by checking the tire pressure label inside the driver’s door.
  2. Start the engine, make sure the vehicle is not moving, and press the TPMS button located to the right side on the driver’s seat for over 3 seconds.
  3. Check if the ( Tire Pressure Warning Light ) warning indicator blinks for 4 seconds.
  4. Check if following message appears on the cluster to confirm that the new tire pressures have been stored.
Kia Forte / Cerato Tire Pressure Reset Button
Press and hold the tire pressure reset button for 3 or more seconds

The Kia Forte / Cerato tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) senses change in radius of the tyre by use of the ABS system. The tire warning light may come on or flash in the following circumstances:

  • Improper system setting.
  • Using tyres not recommended or that have the incorrect radius.
  • Driving on snowy, slippery, or unpaved roads
  • Hard cornering, rapid accelerating and braking repeatedly
  • Driving too slow or fast
  • If the vehicle is overloaded
  • If a spare tyre or snow chain is installed

11. Kia Forte / Cerato ABS Warning ABS Warning

Under normal operating conditions, the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) light should come on for 3 seconds when the ignition is switched on, then go off. If it remains lit, the ABS has a fault. A fault with the ABS system is also likely to affect other systems such as the tire pressure monitoring system. When the ABS fails, the vehicle’s brakes will continue to work as normal, but without the ABS. A malfunctioning ABS is often due to a damaged wheel speed sensor.

12. Kia Forte / Cerato ESC Warning ESC Warning

The Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system is designed to stabilize the vehicle during cornering manoeuvres. ESC checks where you are steering and where the vehicle is actually going. ESC applies the brakes at individual wheels and intervenes in the engine management system to stabilize the vehicle by helping to reduce understeer and oversteer.

If the ESC light blinks, it means the system is operating. If it remains always lit, it means the system has a fault. This can often be due to a malfunctioning wheel speed sensor. Note: When there is a malfunction with ESC, the Electronic Control Suspension (ECS) warning message may illuminate as well as the ESC indicator light. In addition, when the engine warning light is on and reduced power mode is in effect, ESC is often disabled. For more information, see What ESC is in Cars and How Does ESC Work in Cars.

13. Kia Forte / Cerato ESC OFF ESC OFF

The Kia Forte / Cerato Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system is on by default upon each ignition cycle. The ESC system can be manually deactivated by pressing the ESC OFF button. It’s only recommended to deactivate ESC if you’re attempting to free the vehicle from snow, ice, mud etc. 

14. Kia Forte / Cerato EPB Warning EPB Warning

The Kia Forte / Cerato EPB stands for Electronic Parking Brake. The EPB is operated via a button on the center console. The EPB will remain illuminated if there’s a problem with the Electronic Parking Brake. This can occur due to a low battery charge. Note: The EPB warning light may illuminate when the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) indicator light comes on to indicate that the ESC is not working properly (This does not indicate malfunction of the EPB).

15. Kia Forte / Cerato Overspeed Warning Overspeed Warning

This Kia Forte / Cerato overspeed warning light blinks when you drive the vehicle more than 120 km/h. This is to prevent you from driving your vehicle with overspeed. The overspeed warning chime also sound for approximately 5 seconds. Manual Speed Limit Assist allows you to set the speed limit when you do not want to drive over a specific speed. To set the speed limit manually:

  1. Press and hold the Driving Assist button on the right-side of the steering wheel, at the desired speed. The Speed Limit indicator will Illuminate on the cluster.
  2. Push the + switch up or – switch down, and release it at the desired speed.

16. Kia Forte / Cerato Left Turn Signal Left Turn Signal

The green left turn signal arrow flashes when the driver applies the left signal using the steering column stalk. If the light blinks more rapidly, it’s an indication that a bulb has blown.

17. Kia Forte / Cerato High Beam Assist High Beam Assist

This high beam assist (HBA) light illuminates when the high beam is on with the light switch in the AUTO light position. If your vehicle detects oncoming or preceding vehicles, High Beam Assist will switch the high beam to low beam automatically. If HBA is not operating as expected, clean the front windshield ahead of the forward facing camera.

18. Kia Forte / Cerato High Beam Indicator High Beam Indicator

This blue indicator light illuminates when the headlights are on and in the high beam position. The symbol also illuminates when the turn signal lever is pulled into the Flash-to-Pass position.

19. Kia Forte / Cerato Low Beam Indicator Low Beam Indicator

When the vehicle’s headlights are switched on, this green low beam indicator symbol illuminates.

20. Kia Forte / Cerato Lights On Indicator External Light On

This indicator light illuminates when the tail lights or headlights are on.

21. Kia Forte / Cerato Front Fog Lights On Indicator Front Fog Light On

This green indicator light represent the front fog lights being switched on.

22. Kia Forte / Cerato Rear Fog Lights On Indicator Rear Fog Light On

This amber indicator light represent the rear fog lights being switched on.

23. Kia Forte / Cerato Master Warning Light Master Warning Light

This yellow triangle containing an exclamation point is the Kia Forte / Cerato master warning light. In general, the master warning light is used when the fault has no dedicated warning light. Along with the symbol, a warning message is typically available. Once the issue has been resolved, the master warning light will switch off. The master warning light informs the driver the following issues:

  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist malfunction
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist radar blocked
  • Blind-Spot Collision Warning malfunction
  • Blind-Spot Collision Warning radar blocked
  • High Beam Assist malfunction
  • Smart Cruise Control malfunction
  • Smart Cruise Control radar blocked
  • LED headlamp malfunction
  • External lights malfunction
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring system (TPMS) failure or low tire pressure

You can check for master warning light messages in the LCD display.

24. Kia Forte / Cerato Forward Collision Avoidance Assist Warning Light Forward Collision Avoidance Assist

The Kia Forte / Cerato Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) is designed to help detect and monitor the vehicle ahead or help detect a pedestrian in the roadway and warn the driver that a collision is imminent with a warning message and an audible warning, and if necessary, apply emergency braking.

If the system isn’t working properly, the FCA warning light along with the master warning light will illuminate.  FCA uses the vehicle’s front-mounted camera located behind the windshield. Ensure this area is kept clear.

25. Kia Forte / Cerato Right Turn Signal Right Turn Signal

The green right turn signal arrow flashes when the driver applies the right signal using the steering column stalk. If the light blinks more rapidly, it’s an indication that a bulb has blown.

26. Kia Forte / Cerato Driver Assist Mode Driver Assist Mode

On the Kia Forte / Cerato LCD display, Driving Assist mode displays the following functions:

  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • Lane Following Assist
  • Smart Cruise Control
  • Driver Attention Warning

To change the settings of any of the driver assist systems, press the OK button on the steering wheel for more than 1 second when the Driving Assist mode is displayed.

27. Kia Forte / Cerato Trip Computer Trip Computer

The Kia Forte / Cerato has two trip computer contains the following information:

  • Fuel Economy
    • Distance to empty
    • Average fuel economy
    • Instant fuel economy
  • Trip A
    • Tripmeter
    • Elapsed time
    • Average vehicle speed
  • Trip B
    • Tripmeter
    • Elapsed time
    • Average vehicle speed
  • Service reminder
  • Digital speedometer on/off

28. Kia Forte / Cerato Turn by Turn Navigation Turn by Turn

Turn by turn mode displays the state of the navigation system.

29. Kia Forte / Cerato User Settings Interface User Settings

In the user settings menu, the driver can check and change the following settings for:

  • Instrument Cluster
    • Wallpaper
    • Fuel Econ. Reset
    • Wiper/Lights Display
    • Traffic Signs
    • Icy Road Warning
    • Welcome Sound
  • Vehicle Lights
    • One Touch Turn Signal
    • Ambient Light Brightness
    • Ambient Light Colour
    • Ambient Lighting
    • Headlight Delay
    • High Beam Assist
  • Doors
    • Auto Lock
    • Auto Unlock
    • 2 Press Unlock
    • Remote Window
    • Smart Trunk
  • Convenience
    • Seat Easy Access
    • Rear Occupant Alert
    • Service Interval
    • Welcome Mirror/Light
  • Units
    • Speed Unit
    • Temperature Unit
    • Fuel Econ. Unit
    • Tyre Pressure Unit
  • Language
  • Reset

30. Kia Forte / Cerato Service Reminder Spanner Wrench Service Reminder

The Kia Forte / Cerato spanner / wrench symbol is the service reminder. If the remaining mileage or time reaches 1,500 km (900 miles) or 30 days, the service spanner will blink for several seconds each time you switch on the ignition. If you exceed the specified service interval, the service spanner will blink each time you turn ON the vehicle. If the service interval is not set, the service spanner symbol will not be displayed.

Resetting Service Interval

To reset the Kia Forte / Cerato spanner service interval:

  1. Select User Settings on the digital display
  2. Scroll to Convenience
  3. Select Service Interval
  4. Select Reset

31. Kia Forte / Cerato Icy Road Warning Icy Road Warning

The snowflake warning light is to warn the driver the road may be icy. When the temperature on the outside temperature gauge is approximately below 4°C (39°F), the Icy Road Warning Light and Outside Temperature Gauge blinks and then illuminates. Also, the warning chime sounds 1 time.

32. Kia Forte / Cerato Petrol Particulate Filter Warning Petrol Particulate Filter

In the Kia Forte / Cerato exhaust system, there’s a Petrol Particulate Filter (PPF) that accumulates harmful particles and prevents them from entering the environment. From time to time, the filter requires cleaning (regeneration) and this if often done automatically. Sometimes, the filter cannot regenerate successfully, often due to frequent short journeys. In this instance, the warning light will illuminate.

If it does Drive the vehicle for more than 30 minutes at a speed of 80 km/h (50 mph) or faster. Ensure the transmission is in 3rd gear or above, and an engine speed of 1,500 – 4,000 rpm.

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