What does each of the lights on the dashboard mean?


Car dashboard

While every driver hopes his or her vehicle will never fail, life proves that anything can happen. What if a warning symbol appears on the control panel but you have no idea what it means and what to do next? Here's a look at the most popular symbols and their explanations to help you feel more secure on the road.

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Below are listed 64 (!) dashboard lamps, most of which are in all cars.   

  1. Front fog lamps on. The indicator is usually green and faced to the left. 
  2. This symbol indicates that the power steering is damaged. This warning should never be ignored. The power steering system can be "slaughtered" quite quickly. 
  3. Rear fog lights on. They are intended to replace rear taillights in poor visibility. Most often the lamp is yellow. 
  4. A symbol indicating a low level of window washer fluid. Remember about seasonality. Temperatures can also drop to minus in the spring and autumn months. 
  5. Warning that the brake pads are worn. When braking, this symbol is usually accompanied by a very squeaking sound. 
  6. One of the most convenient "extras" of cars is cruise control on. 
  7. Turn signals are on. Depending on the direction you are turning on, the right or left lamp will indicate. 
  8. Rain and light sensor light. If it lights up, the windshield wiper and headlamps may not work automatically. 
  9. Winter mode - usually informs the driver that the car is in winter mode. For modern "automatic" vehicles, this means the car starts driving at 2 or even 3 gear, to avoiding wheel spin. 
  10. Information message indicator. If such a symbol appears, read the message and do what it says. 
  11. Heater indicator. It illuminates when the ignition is switched on. When the control indicator goes out, the engine can be started. If the lamp does not light up at all or glows continuously, there is a problem with the heating system. 
  12. Ice indicator. This light informs the driver that ice on the road is possible and that extra caution is required. The sensor is usually located on the front bumper, far away from the heat generated by the engine. 
  13. Key issue. For modern cars, the keys are encoded on the control unit. If there is a problem with the key, this lamp should report about problem. 
  14. Key not found. The on-board computer informs the driver that the key is not detected. Is it possible that key is at home on the shelf? 
  15. The key battery needs to be replaced. 
  16. Keep a distance! Possible collision with a vehicle, obstacle, object in front. 
  17. The clutch pedal must be pressed. A friendly reminder to press the clutch pedal to start the car. 
  18. The brake pedal must be pressed. A friendly reminder to press the brake pedal to start the car. 
  19. Steering wheel locked. You need the keys to unlock it. 
  20. High beam on. 
  21. Low tire pressure. Fill the tires and clear the mistake. If its system does not automatically do this for you, find the appropriate button on the panel, press and hold for a few seconds. 
  22. Exterior lighting is on. Small side lights on the wings of the car. 
  23. External lighting is not working. One of the small lights does not work. 
  24. Brake lights do not work. Be sure to replace the bulb. Driving without these lights increases the risk of an accident. 
  25. The control indicator indicates that the diesel particle filter must be cleaned or replaced. 
  26. Trailer hitch problem. It may not be properly secured. 
  27. Indicator warning of pneumatic suspension. Check the bags and compressor. 
  28. Changing lane without turning on turn signal. 
  29. Catalyst overheated. 
  30. Fasten seat belts. The symbol illuminates as a reminder that the driver and passengers must wear a seat belt. When it’s done, the light goes out. It also lights up when heavy objects are placed on the seat. 
  31. The parking brake is activated. Make sure it is released before driving. 
  32. If the following symbol appears on the display, you need to charge the car battery. 
  33. Parking assistant. If the light is flashing, the sensors on the bumpers may be dirty and need to be cleaned. 
  34. The lamp indicates the need for car maintenance. Usually its oil and filter change. 
  35. Problem with adaptive low beam / high beam system. The sensors may have dirt on them. 
  36. Automatic headlight adjustment does not work. 
  37. You have a sports car if this light comes on. It signals problems with the rear spoiler. 
  38. If you have a convertible, then the car reports a problem with the auto-lower / tilt roof. 
  39. There are problems with the airbag system. Never ignore this lamp. Airbags save lives and, in your case, may not work in the event of a collision. In some cases, the lamp may indicate problems with seat belts. 
  40. Problems with brake hydraulics. Again, this is one of the dashboard lights that should not be ignored. 
  41. The on-board computer has detected the presence of water in the fuel filter. 
  42. Manually turned off one of the airbags. 
  43. Engine error. The computer has detected an error that needs to be read when connecting the computer. 
  44. Front fog lamps on. 
  45. Clogged air filter. Replacement required. 
  46. ECO driving mode activated. 
  47. Down hill control system activated. 
  48. The engine is overheated. Under no circumstances should this lamp be ignored and driving should be stopped. Elevated engine temperatures can cause permanent and very serious engine damage. Causes of problems can be many - coolant leakage, defective radiator, broken thermostat, broken water pump, etc. 
  49. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) not working and problems have occurred. 
  50. Problems with fuel filter. It may be clogged with dirt and require replacement. 
  51. Door open. If they are closed, then there is probably a problem with the electronics or fuses. 
  52. Car bonnet open. If it is closed, there may be a problem with the electronics or fuses. 
  53. The symbol indicates that the car is low on fuel. 
  54. Problems with automatic gearbox. There are usually three reasons - the fluid temperature is inadequate; the fluid level is too low, and the pressure is lacking. 
  55. Automatic speed limiter activated. 
  56. Problems with car shock absorbers. If for a while you feel that your car has started to rattle more than usual, then it's time to replace the shock absorbers. Usually replace both front / rear or all four at once. 
  57. This is another light that should not be ignored. This can be indicative of several things - low oil level, low oil pressure, oil pump damage, etc. Engine oil ensures the engine's "health". 
  58. Windscreen defrost on. 
  59. The boot of the car is open. If it is closed, there may be a problem with the electronics or fuses. 
  60. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is off. Usually, this light appears in the rear-wheel drive cars with the first snow. A flashing light indicates a system malfunction. If it illuminates immediately after the vehicle is started, switch off the ignition and then on again. If the control lamp no longer lights up, the ESC functions, but if the light comes on again, the system has encountered an error. 
  61. The problem was detected directly in the rain sensor. Although the lamp is on, it is still possible to turn it on manually. 
  62. The well-known "Check Engine" lamp. The causes of problems can be many, ranging from minor details to serious stings. Don't ignore it, take car to service, connect to computer and learn more. 
  63. Rear window heating on. 
  64. Problems with the windshield wipers themselves. The sensor may work fine, but the wiper does not.       


Lights on the dashboard indicate specific functions or malfunctions. To check the condition of the vehicle's systems, the control indicator lights will flash briefly when the ignition is switched on. If all is OK, they will go off within seconds of starting the car. If this is not the case, follow the advice and, if necessary, have the vehicle serviced.   

Depending on the make, model and, of course, the year, the number of dashboard indicators and their design may change. But the core remains the same!