What do the warning symbols flashing on your car’s dashboard actually mean?

Drivers around the world will understand the terrible feeling one feels when a warning light comes on on the dashboard.

Some of the symbols you see in the car are fairly simple, while others continue to cause confusion for many.

There are hundreds of possible icons that can appear on a dashboard


There are hundreds of possible icons that can appear on a dashboardPhoto credit: Shutterstock

What do each symbol on my car dashboard mean?

First of all, not every symbol that appears on a car’s dashboard is a warning light.

Some symbols indicate vehicle features, mechanical problems and safety features.

So how do you know when your car is trying to alert you?

It is important to know that the colors of the symbols are important.

Green or blue lights show you that everything is working properly.

Orange or yellow lights indicate that your vehicle will soon need repairs or service.

However, when a red light comes on, it usually means you should take action immediately.

A study by HPI found that 59 percent of drivers have difficulty seeing what all the warning lights on their dashboard are indicating.

Worryingly, 96 percent were unable to identify a common brake light, potentially putting them in danger.

As self-driving cars become more of a reality and in-car technology continues to increase, it’s even more important to keep your vehicle in good condition.

In most cases, if an icon suddenly lights up on your dashboard, it’s a good idea to take a look at it.

It’s important to understand exactly what your car is trying to say and what you can do about it. Here you will find everything you need to know and what each warning symbol means.

But remember: not every car has the same symbols, they vary from vehicle to vehicle.

Here is a list of some symbols you may see on your car.

1. Indicator for operating the clutch

2. Indicator for operating the brake pedal

3. Steering wheel blocked

4. High beam switched on

5. Low tire pressure

6. Parking lights on

7. Headlight, taillight and signal lamp problems

8. Problems with brake lights



9. Winter mode

10. Info display

11. The diesel additional heater

12. Ice warning

13. Startup system problems

14. The key is not in the car

15. Key battery weak

16. Warning distance to another car



17. Maintenance warning light

18. Adaptive cornering lights switched on

19. Headlight angle adjustment

20. Variable rear spoiler problems

21. Problems deploying the electric roof

22. The front airbag is switched off

23. The handbrake is on

24. Fog lights on



25. Power steering problems

26. Rear fog light switched on

27. Low windshield fluid level

28. Worn brake pads

29. Cruise control is activated

30. Signal indicators

31. Problem with light sensor or rain sensor

32. Water in fuel filter



33. Airbag switched off

34. Mechanical problem or electrical fault

35. Low beam switched on

36. The dirty air filter needs to be replaced

37. Parking sensors switched on

38. Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) Problems

39. Mistake – Disconnecting the connector from the trailer

40. Air suspension problems



41. Warning about leaving the lane when the lane departure warning system is active

42. Problems with the catalytic converter

43. Seat belt warning

44. Warning parking light

45. Alternator or battery problems

46. ​​​​ECO mode activated

47. Hill descent assistant switched on

48. Cooling system problems



49. Problem with ABS

50. Fuel filter problems

51. Open the door

52. Open the hood

53. Fuel tank on reserve, the tank needs to be filled

54. Automatic transmission problems

55. Speed ​​limiter is active

56. Suspension problems



57. Windshield defroster

58. Electronic stability program (ESP) is switched off

59. Open the trunk

60. Low oil pressure

61. The automatic windshield wiper

62. Engine problems or hazards

63. Rain sensor

64. Rear window defroster



Alley Einstein

Alley Einstein is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Alley Einstein joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing Alley@ustimespost.com.

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