Here’s What the Symbols on Your Car Dashboard Mean

The average American drives around 13,500 miles a year. If you don’t want to wind up broken down on the side of the road, you have to know how to care for your vehicle.

You can even save money on vehicle care if you know how to spot small problems before they grow into larger issues. A great place to start is by learning the different car dashboard symbols. Now, instead of wondering what’s wrongs with your car, you do something to fix it!

Read on to learn what your car warning lights are trying to say.

Car Dashboard Symbols


While every vehicle will have its unique dashboard setup, the colors of each warning will carry the same meaning. Here’s a look at what each color is trying to tell you:

  • Green: Everything is working well and is in use
  • Blue: Car function works well and is in use
  • Yellow: Something isn’t right, check soon
  • Red: Something serious is wrong, check immediately

Knowing the meaning behind your car dashboard symbols means being able to avoid a total breakdown. While a yellow light warning may be able to wait a few days, red-colored warnings won’t be so forgiving.

Depending on the car you have, the yellow light could be amber or orange. If at any time the yellow light starts to flash, that means the problem is becoming more severe. You’ll want to contact a trusted repair shop, or dealer, to determine the best route for repair.

Save Money With Self Repairs


Of course, you can also look into completing repairs yourself. Once you know what the symbol means, you can visit this website, to find out the best way to fix the problem with your car model and year.

Check Engine Light


Your check engine light will have a yellow color, and sometimes it’ll have the word “Check”, displaying from it.

If you’re driving an older vehicle, you might not have the submarine shaped box for this symbol. Instead, your car might just have the text appear in yellow that reads “check engine” or “service engine”.

The check engine light is one of the more serious car dashboard symbols since it could be alerting you to a major problem. Oftentimes, the engine warning symbol is letting you know that there’s some type of problem with your car’s emissions. If the symbol begins to flash, it could mean that you’re engine is about to misfire.

Air Bag Indicator


Your airbag indicator symbol will have a red color. It’ll show a picture of a person sitting down, with a big circle (the airbag) in front of them. When you turn your car on, your airbag symbol will temporarily light up.

The momentary lighting lets you know that your airbag is working. If the symbol doesn’t temporarily illuminate or your airbag light comes on and stays on, your airbags aren’t working properly. Another indicator of the malfunction is if the airbag symbol starts flashing.

Battery Light


The battery light has a red color and almost looks like a robot that’s winking at you. Using a plus and minus sign on the battery symbol, it’s easy to identify this warning.

When your battery light symbol is on, it’s letting you know there’s an issue with your car’s charge. Either your system isn’t charging correctly or the system is short on power.

In many cases, you’ll be able to fix the problem by getting a new battery or alternator. In some cases, however, the battery light could be indicating a more complex wiring problem.

Oil Pressure Warning


The oil pressure warning light on your car dashboard has a red color. It looks a lot like a teapot, with a drip of water coming out of it. Whenever your oil pressure light is on it means you shouldn’t drive your car.

If you’re driving when it turns on, look for a safe spot and pull your car over immediately. Next, you’ll need to check the car’s oil levels once it’s cool enough to do so. If adding more oil doesn’t fix the problem, you’ll need a professional mechanic.

Brake System Warning Light


The brake system warning light is a circle with an exclamation point in the middle. Around the circle, there will also be what looks like parentheses.

When your brake symbol illuminates, it could be as notifying you that your emergency brake is on. However, if the light only illuminates when you’re pressing the pedal, you’ll need to take immediate action. Your car could be telling you that you have a leaky disk caliber, a messed up hose, or something even worse.

Temperature Warning Light


The temperature warning light has a red color. It looks like an upside-down key that’s sitting in 2 waves of water. Whenever your temperature light turns on it means that your engine is too hot or the system needs more coolant.

You’ll want to pay immediate attention to this symbol, since ignoring it could cause your car to stop running completely. If it’s not a need for more coolant, the car could be running hot for more serious reasons.

The radiator might have a leak or there could be a clog. In the worst-case scenarios, a temperature warning light will be letting you know that you have a blown head gasket. If you try to drive with a blown head gasket you risk ruining your car’s engine, forever.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System


Your tire pressure monitoring system, or TPMS, has a red color. The symbol looks like a big pot with an exclamation in the middle of it. When this light comes on it’s letting you know that your tires are low on pressure.

Certain car models will have both a yellow and red color for the TPMS symbol. For these cars, if the light is yellow than your tires are only slightly low on pressure. Once the light’s red it means that your tire pressure is drastically low.

Drive With Peace of Mind


Now you know the meanings behind your car dashboard symbols. What’s 1 new thing you learned today?

Did you learn that yellow lights indicate mild problems, while red lights indicate urgency? Or were you surprised to find out that your oil pressure warning light isn’t something you can ignore?

If you’re looking for more ways to drive with peace of mind, we can help! Go ahead and explore the rest of this site.

Be sure to check out Natrad if you would like to know more about car air conditioning repair in Melbourne.

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