Car dashboard symbols can appear all of a sudden, which may look complicated or scary at first, but actually is quite easy to identify. Finding out car dashboard symbol meaning requires a small amount of practice in identification as well which is why we provided you with a small test for identification at the end!
And don't think that there is no need for identifying them. Each car dashboard symbol has its own unique identity and meaning, and they often confuse us as to which one meant what. If only MIDs were big enough to display the full name of the light instead of just a tiny icon!
12 Car Dashboard Symbol Meanings You Didn’t Know of
Read this article to find more about the car dashboard symbol meanings that you probably didn’t know about. It often happens that you recognise the symbol to be familiar with your car's components, but just can’t exactly remember it. And learning this is quite important as some symbols appearing on your MID can imply dangerous consequences on your car if left unattended, which is why you should make sure to check out our test related to identifying Car signs at the end of the blog.
Symbol #1 - The Engine Light (or the check engine light)
The most dreaded car dashboard sign shown in movies, advertisements, and stock photos. Most people immediately refer to this as a broken car that needs to be completely replaced. Why? Because it shows the engine and engine is the main part, right? Only a few actually encounter this in real life.
There can be numerous reasons why your engine light is on. The most common one is when your petrol or diesel cap is loosely closed, causing the petrol/diesel to be converted to vapour.
Recall when was the last time you went to fill Petrol/Diesel [I’m pretty sure it won’t be hard, considering it must’ve created a hole in your pocket ;) ] If it was in recent times, then it could be this.
Your next action depends on how the light is being displayed. If it is flashing or is red, then stop driving and tow it to the nearest auto repair shop. If it is simply glowing in yellow colour, then you can drive it yourself to the auto shop. (Don’t continue driving to your destination, it's advisable to get your car checked first).
Symbol #2 - Battery Alert Light
The battery alert light is a car dashboard symbol that indicates an issue in the charging system (the battery light would always show up for a few seconds after you start your car, so if it’s that, you need not worry). As the name suggests, the issue lies in the battery. Some of the most common reasons why this battery light shows up is a loose wire connection inside the battery or related to the battery system. The problem could also be because of the age of the battery of the car, i.e corroded and damaged cells.
The best thing to do in this case is to try and jumpstart the car using cables. If it doesn’t work, try another time, but move your car to a sloped area and while in motion start the car. Trust us, it works. Right after the car starts, drive it to your nearest workshop for a repair.
Symbol #3 - Low fuel light
If you haven’t seen this car dashboard symbol, you either just haven’t driven a car much or you have a good track record in filling your tank even before half of it finishes. If you haven’t we’re talking about the low fuel light. The low fuel light generally shows up when 15% of the total fuel in the car remains. It may vary for each car depending upon the company, size of the car etc…
This one’s easy; go to your nearest fuel station. If you don't have enough fuel to reach the petrol pump, then consider calling a tow truck, or calling a friend or relative to tow your car. Although, this could be not possible if you are a person with a fondness to travel a lot. Thus, it's important to buy reserves of fuel just in case you’re travelling to remote locations where fuel might be an issue.
At the same time, comfort should be taken care of while travelling far off, right? Take a quick look at these
Symbol #4 - Engine overheating icon
This sign simply means that the engine temperature is too high. The most common reason for this is that your car engine coolant is running low.
Stop driving the car immediately, turn on your hazard light and let it cool down for at least 45 minutes before driving it to the nearest workshop. If you’re in a dark place, turn on your emergency light. If you don’t have one yet, buy an
If a reputable workshop is within a 2.5 KM radius, then you could take it without stopping. Just drive easily and be light on the pedal during the traverse. If a service centre isn’t near, wait for the car to cool down and utilise the time by checking for additional leaks, and cracks in the coolant hose.
Symbol #5 - Transmission Temperature Warning
This car dashboard sign triggers when the engine’s transmission fluid experiences a rise in temperature. This problem is more evident in DCTs (a type of automatic transmission that has two internal clutches, generally found in sportier cars), and sometimes seen in poorly built torque converters(another type of automatic transmission generally found in heavy Diesel cars) as well.
This issue should be resolved as soon as possible as even a 10% rise can reduce the transmission’s life by half. The best thing to do is let the transmission cool down for a while by engaging neutral and after waiting for about half an hour, drive it to the nearest and most experienced mechanic.
Symbol #6 - Oil Pressure Warning
The oil pressure warning light comes up as a sign on your dashboard when the car’s oil pressure experiences a sudden change, that is if the oil pressure increases or decreases rapidly. Some of the reasons for this sudden change can be low oil levels, poor quality of the oil or dirty oil, and leakage of oil.
Driving with an oil pressure warning light blinking is the last thing you want to do if you want your car to drive properly for the next few years. It can completely ruin your engine and can even lead to a complete breakdown of the car. A tow truck should be called and the issue should be resolved as soon as possible.
Note that the next few car dashboard symbols are not warning signals, but are merely indications of a particular thing that is ‘on’ or engaged, which is why no solutions have been given [considering there's no problem in the first place.]
Symbol #7 - Low Tire Pressure
Low tire pressure symbol comes up when the tire pressure in any of the tires is low. Most of these systems show in which particular tire the air pressure is low.
Symbol #8 - Hazard Light
Hazard lights show and indicate that the car is at rest and is in trouble when parked at the side of the road. It is a great way for improving visibility in fog as well. It is engaged by ourselves via a triangle button generally at the middle of the dashboard, near the AC vent.
Symbol #9 - Brake Warning
The brake warning car dashboard symbol comes up when the handbrake is engaged. Driving with an engaged handbrake has obvious repercussions such as slower speed and smoothened brake pads.
It can also mean in some cases the brake fluid is low. In that case, you can still drive, but the brake’s efficiency drops and it’s advisable to drive to the nearest service centre for a fill up. Or you can do it yourself [it’s quite easy] by
Symbol #10 - Windshield defroster
This car dashboard signal shows up when you engage the defogger of your car. It just lets you know and has no other role to play. It also reminds us to switch it off when we leave the car. [especially made for people like me who tend to forget things quite easily :} ]
Symbol #11 - Seatbelt reminder
It reminds you to put your seatbelt on by showing an icon on the MID. It is also generally accompanied by a constant chime, or rather a beep, in new cars.
Symbol #12 - Fog lamp Indicator
It shows that the fog lamps are on via a symbol that appears on the MID. It is a useful feature as sometimes we keep all the lights on that results in blindness to the driver coming from the opposite side. It also results in extra battery consumption.
How urgent is the Car Dashboard symbol light?
The urgency of the situation given by car dashboard symbols can be figured out and estimated by the manner it was displayed and shown.
Generally, if the colour of the symbol was green, then all is safe and the car dashboard sign just wants to indicate something that’s on. If it is yellow or orange, then it means that the car should be serviced as soon as possible. However, the most urgent situation is when the car dashboard sign shows a red light or possibly even a blink with it.
Although, not all of this is the same for each car, and it depends and varies according to factors such as the make and model of the car.
Test yourself with this Car dashboard symbol identification
Identify these 5 car dashboard signals just by looking at them. Answers are right below the test. And no cheating!
- Q) Identify the following car dashboard signs by choosing the correct option below -
- Rear defroster
- Front defroster
- Front fog lamp
- Handbrake engaged
- Low Brake fluid
- Both (a) and (b)
- Rear defogger
- Front defogger
- Windshield defroster
- Parking Brake engaged
- ABS ‘off’ light
- Low tire Pressure
- High cabin temperature
- Oil Pressure Fluctuation
- Overheated Engine
- High Engine Temperature
- Dirty Air Filter
- Loose Fuel Cap
- High Brake Pad Temperature
- Clutch Failure
- High Transmission Temperature
All of them have option (c) as correct!
So this was everything you needed to know about the different car dashboard symbols and their meanings. We at
If you found this blog enlightening, make sure to check out other interesting articles on the Carorbis Blog and also read some ‘beyond the obvious’ reasons why your fuel mileage is dropping in this article - Fuel Mileage dropping without any reason? Here are some possibilities beyond the obvious!