What Do the Car Dashboard Symbols Mean


When we get a warning on the dashboard of our vehicle, sometimes we may not know what it means, and more and more cars tend to give us more information about their status.

In this article, we will try to clarify all doubts about the lights that appear from the most common to those that have never appeared today:

Car dashboard symbols

1, Red brake indicator: this light usually comes on when the handbrake is activated, but if it comes on when the vehicle is running, it can lead to various failures.

car dashboard symbols

  • Wear of the brake pins
  • Lack of brake fluid
  • Brake system failure
  • Detects a serious failure that must immobilize the vehicle, such as lack of oil or coolant.

2, Engine failure or engine failure: it is due to various reasons, it is an indication that you should check your vehicle in a workshop or with a diagnostic machine, the possible causes for these symbols to appear on the dashboard of the car are:

  • Catalytic system failure, catalyst failure, particle filter failure, lambda probe, or leaks in the exhaust system.
  • Injection failure: when there is bad combustion, the vehicle detects it through its sensors, which warns the driver that it should revise.
  • Sensor failure: admission or some set of them.

3, Red Battery: When the battery turned on in the frame of the vehicle, and it does not turn off, is that something is happening with the electrical system, the symptoms for this symbol to appear are:

  • Battery depleted or about to run out
  • The alternator does not charge, a symptom that needs replacing.
  • Is there any short circuit in the system
  • Consumption over current

4, Yellow spring: a problem that derives from the vehicle’s ignition system, diesel preheaters are often not activated correctly.

  • Pre Heaters or spark plugs in poor condition
  • The heating relay in bad condition or burned
  • Control unit burned or disconnected

car dashboard symbols

5, Yellow lines with the car (esp): normally driven when the vehicle is in a field that tends to slip the wheels. If it stays on, it may be that this system is disconnected or some failure with the system.

6, Step on the brake: a light on the dashboard with a shoe indicates that you must step on the vehicle’s brake.

7, Temperature warning: When this light comes on, the vehicle must stop immediately, to avoid problems, and never, under any circumstances with the hot engine, should water or the like added since we can cause damage to the cylinder head or other vehicle components. The possible causes for this symbol to light on our board are:

  • High temperatures caused by an inefficient cooling system, fan or radiator in bad conditions.
  • Water pump failure
  • Sleeve breakage or leak in the cooling system.

8, Emergency: this light on the board indicates caution; it activated when pressed or in the box when we must be attentive to any indication.

9, Windshield defrosting: this indication is usually located in the middle of the dashboard and not in the frame itself, it is activated or must be activated when the windows are fogging.

car dashboard symbols

10, Red light airbag: before starting the vehicle, it starts a diagnosis of the sensors in the airbags which if they are not correct or believe that something may be failing, keeps this light on, the possible causes are:

  • Bad seat sensors
  • Deteriorated belt sensors
  • Bad airbags

Another may accompany this light with the AIRBAG callsign.

11, Low tire pressure: this symbol appears on the dashboard when we have a tire under air pressure, or when a wheel sensor is in poor condition.

12, Rear fog lights: these indicative shows when the rear fog lights are activated.

13, Low oil pressure: this code show when for some reason the vehicle oil is low, or there is a problem with the lubrication system, the most common faults are:

  • Lack of lubricating oil, the level can be very low
  • Lubrication system failure
  • Obstruction in the oil filter
  • Oil sensor failure

14, ABS: if this code is shown on the dashboard or is flashing, it may indicate a failure in the brake system assembly, sensors, pads, switchboards, etc.

15, Belt: this indicator is shown for our safety and indicates that we should wear the Belt; it usually accompanied by a continuous sound for us to wear.

Others that we can also find, failure in the pollution system (orange light) water in the feeding system (red light that looks like a filter).

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