Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Is It Safe to Drive With the Glow Plug Light On?

Glow Plug Light

Your diesel vehicle is equipped with glow plugs, and also with a Glow Plug Light that will either come on and stay on, or flash or blink when a fault is detected by the ECU (engine management unit). When the Glow Plug Light comes on, the ECU stores information about the condition that has caused it to come on. A qualified mechanic who has a code reader that is suited to your particular make and model of vehicle can retrieve this information, and then make a diagnosis of the problem and recommend a course of action.

So, can you drive safely with the Glow Plug Light on? It depends on the nature of the problem. Sometimes, when the Glow Plug Light comes on, the engine in your vehicle will go into “safety” mode, in order to prevent any damage to the engine. If this should occur, you might perceive a drop in performance. This is likely not a big deal if you’re just booting around town, but it could present a safety issue if it occurs when you are performing a maneuver like passing or merging on the highway. Here is what you need to do.

  • Get a diagnostic check as soon as possible in order to find out just what the problem is and how to correct it. You don’t want to leave this to guesswork. Much of the time, the problem can be attributed to faulty crank sensors or cams, but there are also other things that can cause the Glow Plug Light to come on.

  • If you must continue to drive, make sure to take it easy. It would probably be best to avoid highway driving.

  • Do not assume that the problem will just go away on its own – it won’t. The Glow Plug Light came on for a reason, and until you find out what that reason is and have it corrected, it is going to stay on.

You can probably drive safely with the Glow Plug Light on as long as you take it easy. But you do need to get it checked out. Always remember, your warning lights are trying to tell you something, and determining whether the message is serious or of little consequence is best left up to a qualified mechanic.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...

Related questions

Q: Ignition key is locked

Try to move the key closer to the steering column, to see if the key is recognized. If the problem is corrected, then you just need to keep the key closer to the steering column if the driver's side door...

Q: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 240D cranking, but not starting

Hi there. Either one or multiple glow plugs maybe malfunctioning. Also there maybe a fuel delivery probably as well. If there is not enough fuel ores in your system, then your vehicle will not start. This diagnoses needs to be...

Q: Having issues with car not starting.

You may have a voltage drop from the interior lights or an accessory light is on in the interior of the car. You should have the systems checked and scanned to see what is on when it shouldn't be and...