1985 XJSC V12 Warning light

There is a strip light fitted above the speedo and rev counter; this has a division in the centre, to the left is RED, to the right is Yellow (orange??), both light up when the ignition is turned on and fades out after the engine has been started, (or perhaps I should say, “is supposed to fade out”)
I 've owned my car for 20 years and these lights have both always gone out after the engine fires up, excepting for today, the Yellow light stays on and will not turn off until the engine is switched off.

Can any one advise me what this signal means and how to commence the rectification?? I am not prepared to run the car until I know what the problem is.

Would appreciate advice ASAP.

This is my first post, thanks for allowing me to be part of the group, I’ve had many Jags over the years, 1962 Mark 2 3.8 manual, 1969 Series 1 XJ6 SWB Daimler manual, 1969 Series 2 XJ6, 1990 XJ40 Sovereign 4 litre, 1995 X300 Sport 4 litre and currently the XJS which is a superb example with 22 Concours d’Elegance trophies to her credit.

I live on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales am a Member for many years of JEC and of course Jaguar Drivers Club of Australia. Love my Jaguars!!!

As I understand the peculiar Britishness of the dash, these strips are attention getters. Light from any lesser warning lamps also illuminates the yellow strip. Major warning lamps illuminate the red strip.

Do you have only the strip illuminated, or is the bulb out lamp or some other minor warning lamp lit?

The particular warning light bulb may be burnt out.

The “XJS DRIVERS HANDBOOK” for my wife’s 1990 XJ-S convertible has a detailed writeup on the Warning Lights starting on page 41 that covers all of this. Did you check your Drivers Handbook about this? The 1990 version we have addresses this issue and hundreds more.

If you don’t have a copy of the Driver’s Handbook for your year and model they all seem to show up from time to time on eBay. It is a very worthwhile document to own and be familiar with.


Thank you Paul, unfortunately my Handbook, complete in its wallet with original delivery documents was stolen when my car was at a display. Could I trouble you for a brief description as to what these lights are supposed to warn the driver? At least that will assist in the trouble shooting process.

Hi Kirbert !,
Bulb cannot be burnt out…it will not extinguish when the engine is running!

There are no other warning lights activated, just the yellow strip light which will not extinguish when the motor is running.

I know nothing about the pre facelift cluster, but looking at this picture:

it seems that both strips have their own bulbs (the amber strip to the right is lit, but none of the lights below appear to be ON)

Not that bulb. The one in the indicator that’s causing that bulb to light up. These warning lights should always appear in conjunction with a specific indicator telling you what’s wrong. If no specific indicator is lit, perhaps it’s because a bulb is burnt out.

Well not exactly. The red Major Fault Warning on the left and the amber Secondary Fault Warning on the right do not have any bulbs of their own. The way they work is they illuminate when any of the warning lights below them are on and the light from those bulbs shine upward throught some baffles to light them up. The attached pictures of a spare instrument panel that I purchased and disassembled will show you what I mean.

On my wife’s 1990 XJ-S convertible, the red Major Fault Warning will illuminate if the Low Coolant Level, Brake, or Low oil Pressure warning lights below them illuminate. The amber Secondary Fault Warning will illuminate if the Park Brake, Low Fuel Level, Hazard, or Bulb Failure Warning lights below them illuminate.
It is important to point out that the seven Warning Lights have changed over the years so it is best to refer to the Driver’s Handbook for the lights appropriate for the car in question because they might be different.


The red Major Fault Warning and amber Secondary Fault Warning do not have bulbs of their own. They are illuminated from the bulbs of the seven Warning Lights below them.

I have no idea what the four Warning Lights below your amber Secondary Fault Warning are because they changed over time. But in my wife’s 1990 XJ-S convertible those four Warning Lights are Park Brake, Low Fuel Level, Hazard Lights, and Bulb Failure. It is possible that your Warning Lights are the same, but you will have to confirm that.

From a logical trouble shooting approach I think we can eliminate the Hazard Warning Light because your Secondary Fault is not flashing. We can also eliminarets the Bulb Failure Warning Light because you didn’t mention turning on you exterior lights. That leaves only two possible causes. You need to check and report back if your Parking Brake is on, or if your fuel level is low.

I know that you said that no Warning Lights are illuminated, but that is impossible because the Major and Secondary Faults do not have bulbs of their own. So get in the car at night, turn on the ignition and see which Warning Light below is on. One of them must be on but maybe it is difficult for you to recognize that because it being masked by the brighter Seconday Fault Warning.



It is a shame that someone would steal your manuals at a car show. I know that this happens because I have heard it before from others. I take my Jaguars to 5 or 6 car shows a year around southern California and Arizona and I try to lock up the easily pilferable items after the Judges finish up. Still there is always a risk that something will be damaged or stolen at a car show. Sad but true

My other posts should answer your questions about what can illuminate the amber Secondary Fault Warning. If not just let me know. My guess is either your fuel level is low or your parking brake is on. But it could be other causes.

There is no reason to continue be without a Drivers Handbook with so many popping up all the time on eBay. If I were you I would get one right away as it will help you solve mysteries like this one as well as dozens more that you haven’t thought of yet. I have a comprehensive technical library of owners manuals,

Parts Catalogues, Repair Operations Manuals and dealership technician training manuals for the five different Jaguars that we own and I am always learning or relearning things about them when I look things up even after 20 years of ownership.


Thanks to all who offered d advice, that Yellow w light is named “secondary fault warning”…but there is know where on e can find out what or where the fault could be!!!
So out of hours of looking, my son, a Motor Mechanic by profession, asked me “how long has the fuel been in the tank?”…my res[pnse, about 12 months…car has not been out because I have been ill.
A fresh fill of 98 octane, turn the key, start up and settled down as a V12 should…ALL LIGHTS OUT!! I am very happy.