Understanding What the 10 Most Common Dashboard Symbols Mean

You get behind the wheel of your car, you’re driving down the road on your way to work, and your “check engine” light comes on. Do you know what to do in this situation? Do you know what each car light means when it illuminates on your dashboard? There are so many indicator lights that are luckily all located in each vehicles user manual, but it is good to know a few of the important ones on your own. Here are the top 10 dashboard indicator symbols that are most useful and common:

Here are the 10 Most Common Dashboard Symbols

Here are the top ten most common dashboard lights and symbols, sometime called indicator symbols:

  • Seat Belt Indicator
  • Low Fuel
  • Door Open Check Engine
  • Low Tire Pressure
  • High Beams Indicator
  • Windshield Washer Fluid Low
  • Turn Signal Indicator
  • Cruise Control
  • Stability Control Indicator

Dashboard Indicators

1. Seat Belt Indicator

This is a reminder to put on your seat belt. If you put the car in drive and the driver or passenger does not have their seat belt on, the seat belt indicator will pop up and remind you to drive safely and buckle up!
Seat Belt Indicator

2. Low Fuel

Once your gas level hits a certain point, it will alert you to refill your gas tank.  Once you are alerted you will have enough time to drive to the closest gas station and refill. Helpful Tip: When you get to the gas station, the gas tank symbol on your dashboard will have an arrow present which points in the direction of the side your gas cap is located. This is an easy indicator when you go to refill!
Low Fuel

3. Door Open

If you forget your trunk is open or if a door is not shut properly an indicator will alert you that your door is open. It is important to make sure all your doors are shut correctly before you drive away.
Door Open

4. Check Engine

This symbol is very important. If your check engine light comes on, you should have a mechanic check your vehicle for any issues. The check engine light could mean numerous things so by bringing your vehicle to a mechanic; they will inform you if there is an issue.

Check Engine

5. Low Tire Pressure

The tire pressure symbol illuminates if either your tire pressure is low or you have a flat tire, and your tire is 25% under manufacturers recommended tire pressure. If your tire pressure is low, you can go to your local gas station or mechanic and add air into the tire. If the tire is flat, it is recommended to get the tire checked by a mechanic. Tire pressure can vary based on the weather. By having low tire pressure, it can create unsafe driving conditions.
Low Tire Pressure

6. High Beams Indicator

When you activate your high beam lights it will illuminate the symbol on your dashboard. High beam lights are used for better visibility when driving in the dark. Helpful tip: Make sure to turn your high beams off when there is a car driving towards you or in front of you, it will affect their visibility. Once there are no longer cars in front of you, you can turn them back on!
High Beams Indicator

7. Windshield Washer Fluid Low

Windshield washer fluid helps clean your windshield when it is dirty. When you use the washer fluid, it sprays onto your windshield, and the wipers activate which helps improve your visibility. This light indicates that there is no longer enough washer fluid in the reservoir, in order to clean the windshield. If this occurs, open the hood of your vehicle and fill the reservoir with washer fluid.
Windshield Washer Fluid Low

8. Turn Signal Indicator

When making a right or left turn it is essential to always use your indicators. This will alert the drivers in front of you and behind you the direction you will be turning. When turning to the left, you push the indicator down, and a blinking arrow will illuminate pointing left on the dashboard until you make the left turn. If you wish to make a right turn, you push the indicator up, and a blinking arrow will illuminate pointing right on the dashboard until you make the right turn.
Turn Signal Indicator

9. Cruise Control

When your cruise control is engaged this light will illuminate. Cruise control is used when you’re on the highway, and there are not many cars around. You lock your speed in so you don’t have to keep your foot on the gas pedal. If you no longer want to be in cruise control, you simply press the button and deactivate it. Helpful Tip: This will help control your speed, so you don’t go over the speed limit on long drives.
Cruise Control

10. Stability Control Indicator

During the winter when icy conditions are high, this is an important symbol to be aware of. When a vehicle detects slippery conditions, a light will flash irregularly indicating your traction control system is working to keep the vehicle in control. It is important to keep calm in a situation of driving on ice.
Stability Control Indicator

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