Car Talk

Car Dashboard Symbols and Meanings: Here is What to Know

Avatar Adie Tinkle -

What does the glowing, mysterious light on your car’s dashboard mean to you?

Dashboard warning lights exist, which means something went wrong with your vehicle. However, the symbols of the lights can be complicated. It is crucial to understand what every indication means. 

This guide will take you through the major car dashboard symbols and meanings and define what they mean to avoid any mistakes. Are you excited to know the hidden meanings? 

Let’s have a Look at the table of symbols on the dashboard and their intended meaning before getting into any details. 

Oil pressure warning lightLow oil or the oil pump does not circulate enoughLow fuel indicator lightVehicle running low on fuel
Tire pressure warning lightAn issue with your tire pressureAirbag warning lightAn issue with the airbag system
Engine temperature warning lightEngine is overheatingSecurity indicator lightThe security system needs to be fixed
Engine warning lightOpen or loose gas capLow oil pressureOverheatingBrake warning lightProblem with the braking system
Battery alert lightLoose or damaged battery cableElectrical faultTransmission temperature warning lightTransmission is overheating

What Are Car Dashboard Symbols and Meanings

The meaning and indication of car dashboard symbols are difficult to understand, but let’s try to understand these notations.

Check Engine Light

The “check engine” is one of the most common car dashboard symbols. The illumination of this symbol informs you of the detected problem with your car’s emissions system or engine. Some of the most common reasons the check engine light turns on include:

  • Lose/not tightening properly also has an effect
  • Faulty oxygen sensor
  • Bad catalytic converter
  • Unfortunately, inadequate air mass flow sensors.
  • Spark plugs or ignition coils are among the main reasons for the engine not starting, stalling engine, or your engine temperature suddenly rising.
  • Faulty fuel injector
  • Using the wrong oil type can result in worn-out piston rings or low compression.
  • A damaged timing chain of the engine is a familiar problem.

When this symbol appears on the car dashboard, the engine light comes on, which means the car has detected a failure within the system that needs to be looked at by a professional. The matter will likely be an issue with the car’s safety, but you shouldn’t postpone the opportunity to check the trouble and do the necessary repairs.

Tire Pressure Light

Another frequent car dashboard symbol is the tire pressure light. It begins to glow in case one or even several of your tires are extremely underinflated. The look of this light is similar to a horseshoe with an exclamation mark in the middle.

Driving with improper air pressure in tires is dangerous and can lead to a blowout. Excess friction stood for the cause of heat, as the lower tire pressure results in the contact of the two things, the tire and the road. Excessive heat from long-distance running can make the tires break down. Tires that have long been worn out also wear out more. On the other hand, improper tire pressure increases fuel consumption.

If this symbol appears on your car dashboard, you surely use an accurate tire pressure gauge while you check each tire; after the cold, there’s a spare one. If burning still when finished with tire inflation, you’ll probably have to reset your vehicle’s tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

More often than not, vehicles have a button or process that facilitates the check function. It is normally situated on the steering wheel or the driver’s controls. When riding a few meters, the light must turn off automatically. Proper tire pressure should be kept in mind to make room for safe driving, low fuel consumption, and avoiding blowouts.

Oil Pressure Light

The oil pressure indicator light is another symbol on the car dashboard and glows up when oil pressure is low in the engine’s oil lubrication system. This is a critical warning sign that should never actually be disregarded in any way whatsoever.

Several issues can cause low oil pressure:

Low oil level: This is the most widespread issue. You could have problems and hence low oil levels caused by leaks, oil burning by the engine or something similar, or just forgetting about changing the oil in due time.

Poor quality oil pump: The oil pump pumps the oil around the engine. The dynamics change due to a nonoperational pump or a malfunctioning of one.

Restricted oil flow to the engine: When the oil filter catches debris, it clogs and prevents oil from passing to the engine.

Faulty bearing: The weakened connecting rod or main bearing permits the petroleum to run out, lowering the pressure.

Fasten Your seatbelt, as driving with low oil pressure is a road to disaster and can potentially burn your car engine down. If the oil pressure light is on while driving, you must immediately pull over, turn off the engine, and then fix the engine or call for help. Moreover, Check the oil level and add it if it runs low.

Brake Warning Light

This warning light will come on if there isn’t enough brake fluid in your vehicle to exert sufficient pressure on the brakes. Driving is associated with this risk because brake fluid is a crucial element of a properly functioning braking system. This symbol on the car dashboard may lead to total brake failure and increase the stopping distance.

When the brake fluid level decreases, you should fill it to the mark. Generally, the brake fluid reservoir is situated on the hood side. You can locate it by referring to your owner’s manual. Pour at a slower pace, and be careful not to spill.

On the other hand, if the check engine light happens after adding brake fluid, the fluid may leak out of the brake system. It is important to see a mechanic immediately to get this fixed.

If you have any of these symbols on your car dashboard, you should never ignore them. The shutdown is the safest place to stop and diagnose the problem.

Safe driving is all about having your eyes where they need to be; those lights are a constant reminder.


Car Dashboard Symbols and Meanings are important for everyone to understand because they can save you from big trouble. However, you must be aware that every symbol on the car’s dashboard is not meant to be a warning sign. Some are vehicle features, such as safety, while others can be warning signs of mechanical issues.

It is important to keep two things in mind. First is that every car, which means the symbols on your car’s dashboard may vary from other cars. When you turn on the car, the dashboard lights illuminate briefly to check if the system performs well. If they turn off after a few seconds, you don’t need to worry, as everything is normal. Get more on SAT

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning of car dashboard symbols and meanings?

The green and blue lights in your car tell you the system of your car is just operating. The yellow or orange light means it needs to be repaired soon and needs service. You must overlook these signs if a red light is flashing because it means you need to take action instantly.

Which warning light should I take more seriously?

The check engine light is one of the most serious warning signs you must be worried about as it indicates something is wrong with your car engine.

What does an oil warning light mean?

The oil warning light in your car means the oil pressure has dropped, and immediate action should be taken. But ignoring this sign and keeping moving, driving the car can cause serious damage to your vehicle’s engine.

What is the most dangerous warning sign?

The most dangerous warning sign is the “Red Light,” which should be taken seriously immediately.

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