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What All the Symbols on Your Car’s Dashboard Mean

What All the Symbols on Your Car’s Dashboard Mean

It's crucial for drivers to understand the numerous icons and symbols that appear on the dashboard display of their vehicles. These dashboard symbols may signify a range of significant information. It could be a straightforward reminder to buckle up or a more serious issue with your car's engine or brakes. Understanding the significance of these signals and what to do will help you stay informed. That way, you can take the required steps to protect your safety and your car's overall health.

The Car Warning Lights May Turn on During Startup

If you notice many different lights turning on during startup before switching back off again, you don't have anything to worry about. This is a way for you to see that the dashboard warning lights are working, but not a way to find out you have issues you have to care for. If you want to learn more about vehicles, you should know that most cars will have warning lights on each time you turn them on. These lights only show for a second before shutting off, and you only have to worry about the lights that don't turn off. If all your dashboard lights turn off, you probably don't have an extra issue you need to address.Some Car Warning Lights Aren't Serious

Not all warning lights are serious. Some are minor lights you can ignore. The quickest way to determine if warning lights are serious is to look at their color. If you see green or blue lights, you have a feature turned on, but you likely don't have an actual problem that needs to be corrected. When the lights are yellow or orange, you have a mild issue that needs to be addressed, but the issue still probably isn't a life-or-death situation. Finally, any red lights are severe and should be handled immediately. Many red lights tell you not to drive your vehicle or to look for serious problems to keep the vehicle running properly.

The Most Common Symbols on Your Car’s Dashboard

The experts at GoodCar want to ensure you know some of the most common symbols you might see on your car's dashboard, their meanings, and what you need to do in each case.

Seatbelt ReminderSeatbelt Reminder

  1. What it Means: This symbol often resembles a person wearing a seatbelt and shows that the computer in your automobile has noticed that one or more passengers have not yet buckled their seatbelts.
  2. What To Do: For your protection, this indicator serves as a reminder to buckle up. The best thing to do is to secure your seatbelt.

Low Fuel WarningLow Fuel Warning

  1. What it Means: This symbol resembles a gas pump and lets you know when your car's gasoline level is low. Depending on your vehicle, the alert can turn on when you have between 30 and 100 miles of remaining range.
  2. What To Do: To avoid running out of gas and perhaps harming your engine, it's crucial to fill up as soon as you can and frequently.

Check Engine LightCheck Engine Light

  1. What it Means: This indicator, which often resembles a yellow or orange engine, denotes an issue with your car's emissions control system or engine. Simple problems like a loose gas cap or more significant ones like a broken sensor might be the cause.
  2. What To Do: To stop any more damage, it's crucial to get your automobile assessed and fixed as quickly as possible.

Oil Pressure WarningOil Pressure Warning

  1. What it Means: This symbol resembles an oil can with an oil droplet coming out. It signifies that there is an issue with the oil pressure in your automobile. Low oil levels, a broken oil pump, or a clogged oil route might all be to blame for this.
  2. What To Do: To avoid catastrophic engine damage, getting your automobile evaluated immediately is crucial.

Battery WarningBattery Warning

  1. What it Means: The battery icon signifies that the charging mechanism in your automobile is malfunctioning. A defective alternator, a weak battery, or a loose or corroded connection might all be to blame for this.
  2. What To Do: To avoid having your car's battery die and maybe leaving you stranded, it's crucial to get it examined as soon as possible.

Brake WarningBrake Warning

  1. What it Means: When you see this sign, which usually resembles an exclamation point inside a circle, your car's braking system is malfunctioning. Brake sensor issues, brake line leaks, or worn brake pads could bring this on.
  2. What To Do: To ensure that your brakes are working correctly and prevent any possible mishaps, it's crucial to have your automobile tested immediately.

Engine Temperature Warning LightEngine Temperature Warning Light

  1. What it Means: Should this light turn on, it means the sensors in the engine bay have detected the coolant temperature is too high. That means the engine is overheating.
  2. What To Do: it would be advisable to pull the car over to a safe area and turn the engine off. Wait for half an hour before starting up and take it to the mechanic to determine the cause of the spiking temperatures.

Traction Control LightTraction Control Light

  1. What it Means: This symbol, which resembles a vehicle with wavy lines behind it, shows that the traction control system of your automobile is on.
  2. What To Do: The traction control can help prevent wheelspin during acceleration while driving in slick or rainy weather.

Cruise Control lightCruise Control light

  1. What it Means: This symbol resembles a car with a speedometer in front of it, indicating that your car's cruise control system is engaged.
  2. What To Do: if there is a warning, stop the vehicle when it is safe, then turn off the engine. Restart the car afterward and check if there is obstructing dirt or ice on the radar.

High Beam warningHigh Beam warning

  1. What it Means: This sign, which resembles a headlight with beams, shows that your car's high lights are on.
  2. What To Do: The best solution would be to take the vehicle to a mechanic because it requires disassembly to reach switch modules.

Low BeamLow Beam

  1. What it Means: Your car's low beams are on when this symbol, which resembles a headlight with a line coming out, is shown.
  2. What To Do: Clean the headlight lenses as much as possible to maintain optimal light output.

Washer Fluid Indicator LightWasher Fluid Indicator Light

  1. What it Means: the warning light shows that the amount of windshield washer fluid is low.
  2. What To Do: check the windshield washer fluid level and refill the tank if needed.

Security Indicator LightSecurity Indicator Light

  1. What it Means: the security indicator light blinks when the key is out of the ignition. This means that the immobilizer is active and keeps the engine from starting. It could also mean the car no longer recognizes your key.
  2. What To Do: Insert a second key into the keyhole and start the car with light twisting. This turns off the security light.

Fog LightsFog Lights

  1. What it Means: This indicator, which resembles a headlight with wavy lines in front of it, shows that the fog lights on your automobile are on.
  2. What To Do: It is possible that the fog lights are on, but the lights are not working. Check the fog lights now and then to ensure they are in working order.

Turn SignalsTurn Signals

  1. What it Means: When you see one of these symbols, which typically resemble arrows pointing left or right, your car's turn signals are in use.
  2. What To Do: If the light indicates faster than it typically does, check the connections on that specific light. Check the ground connections and possibly replace the bulb.

Lane Departure Warning IndicatorLane Departure Warning Indicator

  1. What it Means: the lane departure warning light is designed to help one avoid collisions when they drift into the wrong lane. The warning is a flashing indicator or a sharp tone on the corresponding side.
  2. What To Do: Check if the lane is clear before merging onto it. If it is not, operate the steering wheel and guide the vehicle to the center of the lane.

Hazard LightsHazard Lights

  1. What it Means: This sign, which resembles two triangles crossing over, shows that the warning lights on your automobile are on.
  2. What To Do: The hazard lights show the vehicle is experiencing an issue. If there is no apparent issue, these lights should be off. The indicator level or hazard light relay may have internal problems. The mechanic or wiring expert can check these.

Automatic Shift Lock or Engine Start Indicator LightAutomatic Shift Lock or Engine Start Indicator Light

  1. What it Means: In some vehicles, it shows the need to press the brake pedal before starting the engine or shifting a lever. It looks like the image of a shoe on the pedal.
  2. What To Do: If the car is in drive, neutral, or reverse, first remove the shift lock and put the transmission in park. Press your foot on the brake pedal before switching on the engine via the key or the Start button.

Transmission Temperature Warning LightTransmission Temperature Warning Light

  1. What it Means: the indicator will show that the transmission fluid temperature is too high, leading to gearbox failure.
  2. What to do: pull the car to a safe place and allow it to cool for over thirty minutes to an hour. Take the car to the mechanic as soon as possible to fix the heated transmission issue.

Parking BrakeParking Brake

  1. What It Means: The parking brake on your automobile is engaged when this sign, which often takes the form of a circle with an exclamation point inside it, is shown.
  2. What To Do: take the vehicle to the mechanic to check hydraulics or for worn brake pads and rotors.

You can stay informed about the condition of your car by knowing what these symbols signify and making sure you take the proper action when it's required. To prevent potential safety hazards and save expensive repairs down the road, it's crucial to get your automobile examined by a trained mechanic as soon as you see a warning symbol or indicator light on the dashboard.

There may be more warning indications or symbols on your car's dashboard besides these being unique to your vehicle's make and model. Keep your vehicle's owner's manual in your car for quick access since it should thoroughly describe all dashboard symbols and their meanings.

The More You Learn About Dashboard Warning Lights, the Better You Can Track the Health of Your Vehicle

When you know how to read warning lights, you can use that skill to evaluate new vehicles you're also considering buying. If you test drive a new car, you can look for any warning lights on the dashboard. If a light is on and you know what the symbol means, you can guess why it is on, and if it's a severe issue, you should be concerned about it. Along with carefully inspecting the vehicle and looking for warning lights or maintenance issues, you should look up a vehicle history report for extra details about how the car was cared for. A history report gives you an in-depth look at the car's past and which owners had it. You'll find out whether a car can be trusted, and you can use the information to help you decide whether to finalize a deal.

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