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Apr 14, 2021 - 6 minute read

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What Does a Fog Light Warning Symbol in Car Mean?

What Does PCV Stand For In Cars

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If you’re an experienced driver, you most likely understand that fog light warning symbols are designed to help us stay safe. You may have seen several times how fog reduces visibility and causes challenging driving conditions. Heavy mist or freezing fog can cause this, mostly if the driver ignores instructions on how and when to use fog lights. The same happens to many drivers who don’t know the meanings of various fog light warning symbols and when to see a mechanic.

Let’s start by briefly seeing when and how to use your fog lights before turning to the other points.

When and How to Turn on Fog Lights

Car driving on the road against misty sky

Car driving on the road against misty sky

Since fog lights increase visibility and make driving safer in adverse weather conditions, drivers should only turn them on when visibility drops below 100m.

The insurance cover of drivers who fail to turn the bulbs on when the weather is foggy can be invalid if they get involved in an accident. Moreover, the lights have a short life span. When drivers misuse the bulbs, they lose their value fast due to tear and wear and stop working.

The steps involved in turning on fog lights vary depending on the car models. However, once you know the fog light symbol, you can independently figure out how to do it. You can find them on the indicator stalk. If you are not sure, check the user manual.

You would likely need to do the following:

  • Start by switching on the headlights as normal.
  • Locate the fog light symbol (It could be on the indicator stalk. If not, check on the dashboard for a button with the fog light warning symbol).

Please note that:

  • The fog light symbol is a lamp pointing towards the left or right and a wavy line with three lines through it.
  • The front fog light’s indicator is typically green and faces towards the left.
  • The rear fog light’s indicator is typically amber (some are orange) and faces the right.
Car indicator stalk

Car indicator stalk

In other words, whenever you turn on your fog light and see these colors, you are safe and have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. You can notice a fog light warning symbol.

Why is Fog Light Warning Symbol Shown in My Car?

As the name suggests, the fog light warning symbol is designed to alert you of impending trouble or danger. So, if you don’t see the amber or green colors, you need to take notice.

Our modern cars’ lighting system depends on sensors that can alert us whenever something is wrong with the lighting system. They display the information on the dashboard.

What Should I Do if I Notice a Fog Warning Sign?

Fog warning lights come in two types. These are:

  • Red light: If you notice a red warning light, act quickly. The problem is most likely severe and needs urgent attention.

  • Orange light: An orange warning light may mean that the car’s computer has detected a default. You can confirm whether the bulbs are functional. If there is nothing serious, you can continue driving. However, you should seek the service of a trained mechanic as soon as possible.

If any fog warning symbol appears on your dash, don’t ignore it. Pick somewhere safe and look up the meaning of the symbol in the owner’s manual.

Should I Consult a Mechanic?

Once you’ve looked it up in the user’s manual, consider whether you need to see a mechanic. If you don’t understand the right solution, consult an experienced expert.

If the red or orange light momentarily illuminates and then disappears, your fog light may be in good working condition. Nonetheless, it is still best to have a mechanic check it out for peace of mind. Fog lights and headlights lights complement each other in adverse driving. With your fog lights failing, you could face many difficulties trying to readjust to the standard headlights.

Many drivers don’t understand how fog lights work to meet their needs. This means when they see the warning sign, they need someone who understands how to fix the problem.

Let’s see how the lighting system works and the related problems in brief. With this information, you will be able to understand in detail why you need an experienced mechanic.

When you wish to use your fog light, you engage a specific switch in the cabin. This then indicates to the relay to switch the lights on. It transfers power to the lights. Moreover, vehicles have fuses that keep their electrical components from overloading the system. So, when they are ineffective, you risk experiencing many lighting problems.

Finger pressing button fault light freepik

Finger pressing button fault light freepik

Some of the common fog lighting problems that require the attention of your mechanic are:

Blown fuse

This is a common problem since fuses often break to protect the lighting system from too much damage. The light can’t be on when the circuit is incomplete.

Burned-out bulbs

Fog lights wear out and stop working after a while. If the rest of the electrical system is functional and only one light is out, it could mean the bulb has burned out. Some modern cars have fog warning lights that can warn you when this is about to happen.

Bad relay

A fog light warning symbol in your car can detect when your relay fails. A common reason for the failure is the poor grounding of the relay. A vehicle with a lousy replay cannot successfully power fog lights.

Correcting the error requires the service of a trusted mechanic.

What to Expect from a Professional Mechanic

Once you invite trained mechanics, the experts will come to determine the underlying cause of the lighting problem. They will evaluate the system and then provide an inspection report detailing the defect’s nature and the cost of the required repairs.

  • The mechanics will likely start by examining the car’s electric components, mainly the fuses. They often use multimeters to diagnose specific defaults with ease. If the fuses are blown, the mechanics replace it with another one that meets the circuit’s amperage needs.
  • If the fuses are functional, they examine the bulbs’ filaments. They replace broken bulbs with the ones that suit the car.
  • The mechanics can then consider relay if the fuse and bulbs are in good working order. They replace and wire it correctly to avoid future problems.

The advantage of working with mechanics is that they diagnose the underlying cause of the problem and solve it professionally. They also test the lighting system before leaving to ascertain that it is in the best working order, and the fog light warning symbols accurately reflect that.

How Common is the Fog Lighting Problem?

The prevalence of fog light problems depends on the lighting system’s quality and whether the driver takes proper care of the car.

Drivers that don’t properly maintain their cars experience the problem after every few weeks since fog lights have a short life span. Other technical issues such as a failing relay can also affect the bulb’s functionality at any time.

Wrap Up

Fog lights provide motorists with the required visibility in potentially dangerous driving environments. Drivers who correctly understand this take the right action when they notice fog warning lights. Whenever in doubt, they seek out a professional repair service.