What the Symbols on Your Car’s Dashboard Mean

The symbols on the dashboard in your car can tell you about the functions the car is performing or give you information about the car’s condition. Ignoring some signals can be dangerous for the car, so it’s better to know what the symbols mean and what you should do if you see them.

We at 5-Minute Crafts hope that our article will help you learn more about the symbols on the dashboard and memorize them quickly.

Before you deal with the meaning of the indicators on the dashboard, look at what colors they are.

  • Red signals usually mean that there are some serious problems. Most of the time, they mean the problem has to be solved immediately.
  • Yellow or orange symbols mean the problem has to be solved fast.
  • Green or blue symbols are there for your information. They may, for example, indicate things about the lights or cruise control.

Warning symbols

  1. Cooling system malfunction indicator
    If the indicator is visible, it means the engine temperature is above normal. You need to check the amount of coolant, the fans, and the radiator lid.
  2. Battery indicator
    The indicator informs you that the electrical system of the car is malfunctioning. It may be a drop in voltage, battery problems, or other similar issues.
  3. Oil pressure indicator
    An indicator light means loss of oil pressure, meaning lubrication is low or lost completely. Immediately check the oil level and pressure.
  4. Brake warning light
    This indicator light turns on when the handbrake is on. If it’s lit continuously, it means that hydraulic pressure has been lost on one side of the brake system or that the fluid level in the master cylinder is dangerously low (due to a leak somewhere in the brake system).

Safety symbols

  1. Seat belt indicator
    The indicator light means that a seat belt has not been secured.
  2. Parking brake light
    The indicator light means the parking brake is on.
  3. Airbag indicator
    The indicator light turns on when the front airbag is switched off. If this lamp lights up or flashes, there is a fault in the airbag or seatbelt system.
  4. Security indicator
    If your vehicle has an anti-theft system, this image means that something could be malfunctioning. This symbol also briefly lights up when you turn your vehicle on, which isn’t an indicator that something is wrong.
  5. Tire pressure warning light
    The indicator light means the pressure is low in one of your tires. Driving with this problem is not safe, so it needs to be fixed as fast as possible.
  6. Traction control light
    The indicator light turns on when the vehicle TCS (traction control system) is activated.
  7. Traction control light: off
    The indicator light turns on when the vehicle TCS (traction control system) is turned off.
  8. Steering wheel lock
    The indicator light means your steering wheel is locked and cannot be moved. To turn off the steering lock, insert the key into the ignition and turn it to at least the first position while turning the steering wheel in either direction.
  9. Power steering warning light
    The indicator light turns on if there’s an issue with the power steering system and will be disabled until fixed.
  10. Check engine indicator
    The indicator light turns on whenever the engine is turned on to check the bulb. If the light stays illuminated, the car’s diagnostic systems have detected a malfunction that needs to be investigated.
  11. Powertrain fault
    The indicator light turns on when a powertrain or AWD fault has been detected.
  12. Brake fluid
    The indicator light means that the brake fluid level is low.
  13. Brake pad warning
    The indicator light means that the brake pads are worn.
  14. ABS malfunction
    The indicator light means there may be a malfunction in the ABS system.

Light symbols

  1. Low beam indicator
    The indicator light means that the vehicle’s dipped beam is on.
  2. High beam light indicator
    The indicator light means your car’s high beam headlights are on, or that the high beam flash function is being used.
  3. Side light indicator
    The indicator light will turn on when the normal headlights are in use.
  4. Front fog lights
    The indicator light means the front fog lights are turned on.
  5. Rear fog lights on
    The indicator light means the rear fog lights are on.
  6. Auto high beam
    The indicator light means the Auto High Beam system has switched on the high beam headlights.
  7. Exterior light fault
    The indicator light means any exterior light on your car isn’t working.
  8. Stop signal fault
    The indicator light means one or more stop signals aren’t working.
  9. Headlight range control
    The indicator light turns on if there is an issue detected with the headlight range control system.

General symbols

  1. Windshield defrost
    The indicator light means that the window defrost is in operation.
  2. Rear window defrost
    The indicator light means that the rear window defrost is in operation.
  3. Washer fluid reminder
    The light indicates that the windscreen washer fluid reservoir is nearly empty. Fill the washer fluid reservoir.
  4. Low fuel level
    The indicator light means that the car is running low on fuel and will soon need a refill.
  5. Door not closed
    The indicator tells you one or several doors are not closed.
  6. Hood open
    The indicator light means that the car hood is not closed properly.
  7. Cruise control on
    The symbol means the system is on.
  8. Direction indicator
    The indicator light means that one of the turn signals (left or right) has been activated.
  9. No key
    The signal means the key is not in the ignition.
  10. Ignition warning
    The indicator light means there’s an issue with the ignition system or the car key. It could be due to a glitch or a worn-out key.
  11. Auto windscreen wiping
    The indicator light means the windscreen wipers are in operation on Automatic mode.
  12. Hazard lights on
    The indicator light means the hazard lights are turned on.
  13. Fan
    The indicator light means that the internal ventilation/fan is in operation.
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