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Car Warning Lights – What These Dashboard Lights Indicate

car dashboard symbols and meanings

Know Car Dashboard Symbols And Their Meaning

Nowadays a car has become much more than just an easy mode of transportation. It has transcended the age where the things were manually checked after regular intervals. Those who owned the older generations of cars were usually worried if all the things under the hood, outside the car or inside the cabin were functioning well. And this was because at that time there was nothing like the car warning lights equipped on the dashboard.

But now, cars have become as sophisticated as you can imagine. They are now fitted with electronic sensors that sense any trouble in the car and alert you on-time thus, making it easier to monitor the vehicle. The modern day dashboard comes with many warning lights that indicate problems occurred in your vehicle, or alert you in advance the key areas which require an immediate check. And to take a timely action, it is highly important for any car owner to understand the car dashboard warning lights.

So let us get familiarised with all the car warning lights and understand what they mean:

Brake Fluid Warning Light –

Brake Fluid Warning Light

This light starts showing up when the vehicle’s brake has developed some complication in it. Since brake is one of the most important parts of the car, it is strongly advisable to get it checked right away. This light also indicates a low brake fluid level. If this is the case, then fill your brake fluid as soon as possible.

Engine Warning Light –

Engine Warning Light

If this light is illuminating, this could mean a lack of power, as the car has gone into safe mode to protect itself, maybe due to the fault in the engine management. Sometimes this can be due to a faulty electrical sensor or maybe a bigger issue which can cause irreparable damage.

Airbag Warning Light –

Airbag Warning Light

A faulty airbag won’t go off during the crash which means that the passenger and driver may get injured seriously or also the bag deployment could be so nasty that it can cause a shock causing an injury.

Power Steering Warning Light –

Power Steering Warning Light

If this light is illuminated then it means that there is an issue with your power steering which translates your steering turning the movement into a heavy mode in which you will need an extra effort to make your car move.

Diesel Particulate Filter Warning Light –

Diesel Particulate Filter Warning Light

Most modern vehicles are fitted with ‘Diesel Particulate Filter’ which removes harmful soot from the exhaust gases so as to reduce emissions. If this filter becomes faulty the light will appear on the dashboard. Fault in this will lead to the releasing of the black smoke every time there’s a press on the accelerator and also can cause damage to the engine.

Coolant Warning Light –

Coolant Warning Light

When this light appears, it means that the coolant level is running low. It may also mean the possibility of the engine overheating and you need to stop your vehicle immediately.

Oil Warning Light –

Oil Warning Light

It will illuminate when oil temperature goes too high or oil level or oil pressure is low. The vehicle’s engine should be stopped immediately at this moment to avoid severe damage to the engine. Professional help should be taken to ensure that the correct oil level and pressure is maintained.

Tyre Pressure Monitor Warning Light –

Tyre Pressure Monitor Warning Light

This system is meant to sense a deviation from the normal tyre pressures.

Battery Charge Warning Light –

Battery Charge Warning Light

This warning light appears when the car is turned ON, but if this doesn’t go OFF few seconds after the engine starts, then that means that there is a problem with your car’s electrical system. Immediate help needs to be sought from a mechanic.

Rear Fog Light –

Rear Fog Light

This remains ON, once the driver turns ON the rear fog beams. If there’s some issue then it may not work and you need to get it checked.

Seat Belt Reminder –

Seat Belt Reminder

This light will keep on illuminating until you and all the passengers put their seatbelts. The light may be accompanied by a buzzer sound too.

Open Door Indicators –

Open Door Indicators

This symbol is turned ON, when the driver starts the car and one or more doors are not closed properly. When you close all the doors properly this will turn OFF.

Hazard Warning Light –

Hazard Warning Light

It indicates that there is a problem with the vehicle and other drivers need to cross the vehicle carefully to avoid a collision.

ABS Warning Light –

ABS Warning Light

This will light up when there is a fault in the vehicle’s ABS system.

Bulb Failure Warning Light –

Bulb Failure Warning Light

This symbol indicates that there is something wrong with one or more bulbs of your car and it needs a replacement.

Rear Window Defrost –

Rear Window Defrost

When there is a layer of mist on the windscreen then this will come up and once the window is clear, you must turn this OFF to save the battery consumption.

Child Safety Lock –

Child Safety Lock

If it starts illuminating, then this is the symbol that means the child safety lock has been activated. Do switch OFF when it is not required.

Cruise Control –

Cruise Control

This light will be turned ON when the cruise control is in the active mode. Not every vehicle has this feature.

Windshield Defrost –

Windshield Defrost

To clear the frost off the front screen the driver turns it ON and when the screen is clear it must be turned OFF to save the battery consumption.

Powertrain Malfunction –

Powertrain Malfunction

This will illuminate when there is a problem with the engine and it requires the engine to be shut down immediately. Take your car to a service centre instantly, if it happens.

Traction Control Light –

Traction Control Light

This light illuminates along with the ABS when the vehicle has a faulty system. It will also flash when the system is operating to warn the driver about the hazardous conditions.

Electronic Throttle Control Light –

Electronic Throttle Control Light

This indicator shows a malfunction in the Electronic Throttle Control System.

AWD Indicator –

AWD Indicator

It indicates that the All-wheel Drive is activated. Again, not every car has this feature.

ESP/BAS Light –


It functions to inform the driver about a potential problem with the Electronic Stability Program Technology. It is very much similar to ABS indicator.

Overdrive Indicator –

Overdrive Indicator

This is meant to indicate that the overdrive system is turned OFF.

Low Fuel Notification –

Low Fuel Notification

This normally comes up when the fuel gets very low and refuelling becomes necessary. If it is not functioning properly then it must be checked immediately or else you will face troubles with your fuel refuelling intervals.

Glow Plug Warning –

Glow Plug Warning

It is used in Diesel Vehicles. No attempt must be made to start the vehicle until this light is gone. The light also alerts the user when the fault is detected in the Engine Management.

Turn Signals –

Turn Signals

Without a doubt the most important indicators for any car, these turn signals are activated once the driver changes direction and uses the indicator.

High Beam Light –

High Beam Light

It is activated when the driver activates the high beam mode of the headlights. Its use is mainly limited to highway driving. One must avoid driving on high beam in narrow roads as you will not get any idea about the potholes.

Ankit verma

Author: Ankit verma

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