What 15 Symbols On Your Car’s Dashboard Mean
When something goes wrong with your car or if a feature you should know about gets activated, a signal funnels through the electrical system and into the dashboard. This illuminates a hieroglyphic, and these cover a wide range of issues—some of which may be serious. Here are the meanings behind 15 of these curious-looking markers (and what they look like, in case you need a mnemonic device to help your memory).
Your dashboard may be different and the symbols may have altered designs or indicate slightly different things, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual. Some of these lights could portend a serious malfunction. Don’t ignore them. When in doubt, have a professional check it out. (For more information on dashboard symbols for all types of cars, check out this resource.)
What it means: Your engine is too hot, friend. Here is a useful guide for what to do if your engine overheats.
What it means: The pressure in one or more of your tires is too low and needs to be attended to.
What it means: Your engine is running low on oil, or there is a problem with your car’s oil pressure system.
What it means: The car’s traction control system is engaged.
What it means: It can blink on for a number of reasons. Read about some of those here.
What it means: There is an issue with your anti-lock brake system that needs to be diagnosed and fixed.
What it means: You need to engage the brake, either to start your car’s ignition or to get it out of neutral.
What it means: The car’s charging system is short of power. You are running solely on battery.
What it looks like: A snake-infested ATM.
What it means: You are running low on fuel. Fun fact: The symbol on the fuel gauge also has an arrow next to it—this indicates which side of the car has the gas cap. No more gas station three-point turns in rental cars ever again.
What it means: Buckle your seatbelt, please.
What it means: There may be an issue with one or more of your car’s airbags, or the airbag system in general.
What it means: Your fog lights are on.
What it means: You may need a key with the proper transponder in order to trigger the ignition. Or, there is something else wrong with your car’s anti-theft system.
What it means: There is an issue with your anti-skid system, and it may be shut off completely.
What it means: The washer fluid level is low. Please fill that up when you get a chance.