What Does Wrench Light Mean (Explained)

Wondering what the wrench light means? Well, I’m here to solve all your problems in this regard. 

The wrench light comes on due to different reasons. The reasons are a little different depending upon the type of car you own. 

The light usually comes on due to a malfunction. More details are given in the article below.

Now without further ado, let’s get right to the article!

What Does The Wrench Light Mean?

The wrench light is a sort of malfunction indicator. It indicates a powertrain malfunction and you may go through a pretty big reduction when it comes to the performance of the vehicle. 

The light comes on usually with a check engine light as well. 

The light is a sort of reminder that your car is in dire need of maintenance. You may need to go and get your vehicle checked for maintenance. It might also mean an impending oil change or a tire rotation. 

It is not safe to drive with the wrench light on. It indicates that something is going wrong with the vehicle’s power train. It may also mean that your oil level is low and ignoring it will mean danger to your vehicle’s health. 

The wrench icon on your dashboard may also mean that the car is heating up. Stress on the car’s engine due to high speeds is also another cause of the light to initiate. 

The light is coded and you can go to an auto parts store to get the codes checked and see exactly where the problem lies for the car.

Your vehicle is actually a computer and it uses different methods to convey the problems that are occurring to you. The computer may detect a problem in the engine or the throttle. This problem is conveyed to you by some light which serves as an indicator.

You can also turn the wrench light permanently but that procedure is different for different vehicles.

However, the wrench light is a great indicator that you can use, but you should keep in mind that it may mean different things on different cars. 

Also, there are different colors of light which may mean different things for your car. 

In this article, I have explained the wrench light in detail for the Ford brand and the Honda brand. You can go through these sections to know more details about these cars.

What Does Your Ford Wrench Light Mean

On Ford, the wrench light indicates a malfunction in the powertrain of the vehicle. Firstly, we will need a discussion on exactly what the powertrain is.


The powertrain includes every component of your vehicle that pushes it forward. 

The powertrain creates drive from your engine and takes it to the wheels operating on the ground.

There are several components of the powertrain. These include a transmission, engine, driveshaft, differential, and axle.

The engine is the heart of the vehicle. It generates power to drive your car. The transmission is the component of your car. It is there to make sure that adequate amounts of power are attributed to the wheels. 

The transmission adjusts the power according to the driving conditions of your vehicle.

Then comes the driveshaft, which is used to transfer torque to the wheels. The torque is generated from the transmission of the car.

The axle of your car is there to put up the weight of the vehicle and is responsible for rotating the wheels. Finally, the differential is the part of the rear axle that allows the rear wheels to turn at different speeds. It comes in handy when you are turning a corner or taking a turn.

The car is literally driven from your powertrain and a malfunction means that your car is in bad condition.

What Does The Wrench Light Indicate?

The light means that your system needs some checking. You can go to an authorized dealer to get it checked properly. He will probably tell you exactly where the problem lies as there are different components of the powertrain.

It is unsafe to drive with the wrench light on because some integral functions are performed by it. For instance, if your differential malfunctions, your car will not be able to adjust its speed when you’re turning which can potentially lead to disasters. 

Also, if you don’t get it checked earlier on, chances are that the problems will keep accumulating and you will be left with hefty amounts to pay to your mechanic. 

If there are additional problems with your vehicle, like your engine shaking or reduced power, you should consider getting it towed to the dealer instead of driving it yourself there. 

What Does Your Mazda And Honda Wrench Light Mean

When it comes to Honda and Mazda cars, the wrench light means the same thing for you.

Whenever you get your Honda vehicle serviced, they will probably give you a sticker with two things on it. One is a date and another one is a specific mileage amount. These numbers tell you when you need to get your vehicle serviced again. 

If any one of these numbers comes, you have to go to your dealer again and get your vehicle serviced again. A helpful convention is that you should go to your dealer once every 12 months or if you have traveled 7,500 miles on your car without an oil change. 

The wrench light helps you keep an eye on the maintenance needs of your car. The wrench light doesn’t necessarily mean a malfunction, it just means that it is high time to go to your dealer again. 

If you want to reset or switch off the wrench light on your Honda car, follow these simple steps:

  • Turn your car’s ignition on. This doesn’t mean starting your car, it is the click immediately before that when all the lights in your system come on. 
  • There will be a knob on your dashboard or a reset button on either your steering wheel or your dash.
  • Keep holding the reset button for 10 seconds.

And voila, the wrench light has been reset and it will now come on the next time your car needs potential maintenance.

An orange wrench light means that your car needs minor maintenance due to some small part malfunctioning and a yellow light means that your scheduled maintenance is coming up. 

The light could mean a minor issue which is of no big concern or it might also mean something very serious. It is in your best interest that you go straight to your dealer as soon as it comes on.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does The Wrench Light Come on?

The wrench light means different things on different cars. It may come on due to a need for minor maintenance. It may also mean that huge maintenance is required in your car. 

To be on the safe side, you should go to your dealer as soon as it comes on because you never really know the extent of the problem. 

Better be safe than sorry and have a professional evaluate the health of your car instead of gambling with your own life and well-being.

Can You Drive With The Wrench Light On?

Yes, you can drive with the wrench light on but it is increasingly recommended that you don’t do so. Especially if the wrench light is coupled with a reduction in the engine’s power or if there is noise coming from the engine. 

This can lead to a catastrophe and you should not be doing so. Your car does turn on with a wrench light but you shouldn’t be driving it to be on the safe side.

Does The Wrench Light Mean Oil Change?

Not necessarily, but in some cases, it means low levels of oil and that you need to get it changed. However, it can also mean much more serious issues with your car such as a malfunctioning differential. 

It is hard to pinpoint the exact reason for your wrench light coming on if you aren’t a professional so you should just go and get it checked.


The wrench light usually doesn’t mean anything serious, but as explained in this article you should visit your dealer when it comes on. 

You cannot gamble with your life and put money over the safety of your own life. Also, if you don’t attend to the issue in the earlier stages, it will cost you more when the issue starts to bundle up in severity.

  • Eric Williams

    I'm the founder of Daily Car Tips. I wrote articles in the automotive industry for more than 10 years, published in USA and Europe. I love sharing my knowledge and insights with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on this journey as we explore the exciting world of cars together!

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