What 20 Symbols on Your Car’s Dashboard Mean

by Rishika Jain2 years ago
Picture What 20 Symbols on Your Car’s Dashboard Mean

There are many different symbols on a car’s dashboard, and many of them might be strange to you. Some symbols of the car are so simple that they are easier to figure out than others. The most important thing is to know what every symbol means in case a strange symbol pops out of nowhere, and you don’t know what to do. Let’s find out the meaning of 20 common symbols in your car’s dashboard.

1 Oil pressure warning light indicates that there might be a problem with your car’s oil pressure system.

Oil pressure warning light
Oil pressure warning.

The old-fashioned oil can symbol indicates that you are either low on oil or your car’s oil pressure system might be facing some issues. The oil pressure warning light may go off if you’re running low on oil. There is also a possibility that your oil pump isn’t circulating enough oil to properly lubricate the surface inside your car’s engine, or there is an oil leak. Go to a nearby mechanic as soon as possible to find out the cause of the low oil pressure. (source)

2 Engine temperature warning light indicates that your engine is overheating.

Engine temperature warning light
Engine temperature warning.

If this symbol lights up, then your engine is getting overheated, and that probably has to do with your coolant (also called “antifreeze”). It can happen due to overheating, trouble in the cooling system, or lack of cooling water. The first thing to do is turn off your car’s air conditioner and pull the car over for a couple of minutes in a safe area with shade. Wait for your car to cool down, then call for roadside assistance. (source)


3 Tire pressure warning light turns on when the pressure in your car’s tire is too high or too low.

Tire pressure warning light
Tire pressure warning.

The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) measures the tire pressure of the car’s tires. The tire pressure warning light comes on when the pressure in your car’s tires is too high or too low. The TPMS symbol flashes for around 60-90 seconds when you turn on your car, and if it stays illuminated after your tires are properly inflated, then something is wrong with the TPMS sensors. Turn off your vehicle immediately and inflate or deflate your tires as soon as possible. (source)

4 Traction control light indicates that one wheel of your car might be spinning faster than the others.

Traction control light
Traction control.

The traction control system determines when your car’s tires lose contact with the road during rainy, icy, or windy conditions. If the traction control light gets activated while you’re driving, it’s because your system is working to keep your car’s wheels in contact with the road. It applies the brakes to help your car regain traction with the help of an anti-lock brake system. If the traction control light turns on even in good weather conditions, then there might be a serious problem, and you should get your car checked. (source)


5 Engine warning light gets triggered when the gas cap is open, loose, or cracked.

Engine warning light
Engine warning light.

The engine warning light or the check engine light gets triggered for various reasons. It might be due to your car’s gas cap being open, loose, or cracked, which would be causing fuel to evaporate. However, sometimes it might also be a serious issue like low oil pressure or overheating. In this case, you need to reduce your speed, pull over safely, and call a tow truck immediately. (source)

6 Traction control malfunction light indicates that your vehicle’s traction control system sensor is broken.

Traction control malfunction
Traction control malfunction.

The traction control system controls the anti-brake system and uses the same wheel speed sensors to control the tire slip during acceleration. When the traction control malfunction light turns on your car’s dashboard, that indicates that your car’s traction control system has some issues. It might have a broken or damaged sensor or some other serious malfunction. However, in some cases, there might be a problem with your ABS, and this should be the reason for this symbol popping up. You should get your car checked to avoid further issues. (source)


7 Anti-lock braking system (ABS) warning light alerts that the anti-lock braking system might be compromised.

Anti-lock braking system (ABS) warning light
Anti-lock braking system warning light.

When you brake hard, like on slick roads, the ABS pulses the brakes to prevent your wheels from locking up when the driver slams hard on the brake pedals in an emergency situation. Whenever you turn on your vehicle, the ABS lights illuminate, as it does a diagnostic self-check. However, if the ABS light stays on or pops up while you are driving, then it means that something is wrong with the system. In this situation, it’s important to have a mechanic diagnose as soon as possible. (source)

8 Battery alert light signifies a problem with the vehicle’s charging system.

Battery alert light
Battery alert light.

If the battery alert light pops up when you are driving, then there must be something wrong with your vehicle’s charging system, or the charging system isn’t working. Possible culprits include a problem with the alternator or voltage regulator, loose or damaged cable, bad wiring, damaged cells or plates inside the battery, or there might be some other type of electrical fault. The charging system warning light should pop up for a few seconds when you start your vehicle, but if it comes on while driving, then you should get the vehicle’s battery checked. (source)


9 Low fuel indicator light simply means that your car is running low on fuel.

Low fuel indicator light
Low fuel indicator light.

The low fuel indicator light has only one function – to alert the driver that their car is running low on fuel. When the light illuminates, then there might be some amount of fuel left in the car’s tank. Don’t drive ignoring the low fuel indicator because the distance you can drive with low fuel is uncertain. Don’t test your luck and get your car refueled at a nearby gas station. (source)

10 Automatic shift lock or engine start indicator means you are trying to shift gears or start your ignition without using the brake.

Engine start indicator
Engine start indicator.

The automatic shift lock or engine start indicator indicates your car’s shift lock release in an automatic transmission. It mainly indicates you must engage your brakes while shifting gears or while starting the car’s ignition. The shifting lock will lock your car out or in neutral until you engage the brake. The symbol of an automatic shift lock may differ from car to car, but most definitely it would have the sign of a foot, a boot, or a shoe on or near a pedal. (source)

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