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Toyota MR2 Mark 1 Insturment Panel Warning Lights

People regularly ask for information on instrument panel warning lights on the IMOC-UK mailing list. This is understandable given that all MR2s have some warning lights not found on other cars, and of course with second hand cars often an owner's handbook is not supplied with the vehicle. So here is a photo of my instrument panel complete with each warning light given a label. These are each then listed below with an explanation. The meaning of some of the lights are obvious, but I have included them for completeness. All the warning lights (except the low fuel level and door open lights) illuminate when the ignition key is turned to 'on' but the engine is not started (if not, check the bulb). Note that my car is an early UK example and therefore will be slightly different to later cars or those supplied in other countries. The strange stub stalk in the bottom left of the picture is the remote control for a Sony minidisc player I have fitted.

MR2 Mk1 warning lights
  1. Low fuel level. Obviously this light illuminates when the fuel level is low, but it does so well below the 'E' level on the rather conservative fuel guage.
  2. Left indicator.
  3. Headlight main beam on.
  4. Right indicator.
  5. Engine bay cooling fan. If this illuminates then there is a problem with the engine bay cooling fan. The owner's handbook advises not to drive at more than 37mph(60km/h) until the fault is corrected.
  6. Blank. This is a foglight warning light on later cars.
  7. Brake warning light. This light serves two purposes. It illuminates when the handbrake is applied. If it does not extinguish when the handbrake is released, or it illuminates while you are driving, then the brake fluid level is too low.
  8. Battery discharge. This light indicates that the battery is being discharged. This is usually due to alternator or alternator belt failure.
  9. Check engine electrical system. If this light remains illuminated when the engine is started then it indicates there is a malfunction or abnormality with the engine electrical system. The ECU (Electronic Control Unit) stores the error condition(s). These can be accessed by shorting two connections in the diagnostics connector and counting the flashes the check engine electrical system warning light then makes. I have described this process in detail on a separate page.
  10. Blank.

There is one other warning light: the door open warning light. This is located to the right of the instrument panel low down on the side of the plastic housing and is not shown in the photo above. Obviously it illuminates if one of the doors is not closed properly. Apparently this warning light is situated where it is so that it can throw light on the ignition switch area to help you insert the key when it is dark! Thanks to Jamie Ayres for that snippet of info.

Strangely there is no warning light for low oil pressure, neither is there one for high coolant temperature. The latter is not common on cars, but would be useful particularly on a mid-engined car such as the MR2, where overheating is more likely due to the convoluted cooling system. Obviously there are guages for oil pressure and coolant temperature, but given the serious consequences I think warning lights should have been provided for these two systems, similar to the low fuel level warning light.

Remember that if a warning light is illuminated and the system to which it relates appears to be working correctly, the problem could lie with the warning light sensor(s) or wiring.


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