Collision Warning System and Malfunction Indicators

Pre_collision_system_indicatorCollision Mitigation Brake System IndicatorPCS stands for Pre Collision or Crash System. FCW stands for Forward Collision Warning System. Another is CMBS or Collision Mitigation Brake System. And the very awkward Forward_Collision Warning IndicatorPre-safe Seat Beltsounding Pre-safe Seat Belt (PSB) system. This one has a warning image in the message center in gray scale, like the seated figure shown to the left, along with a text warning. See below for yet more…


The end result is yet another advanced system that has managed to resist finding a standardized name. The systems discussed here use radar while others use cameras, which can be found here.

Regardless of name or acronym, the systems, if fitted, minimize the risk of injury if a crash becomes unavoidable. The vehicle will alter its suspension and brake settings (apply the brakes) and the front seat belts are tightened. If one of these indicator symbols is shown on your instrument cluster, it indicates a problem with the system and the vehicle should be taken to your dealer or authorized repair facility.

Note that some systems can only warn of a potential collision audibly and take no active measures to protect you. Check your owners manual carefully. And regardless of whether the system is active or not, it should never be relied upon to avoid a collision without the driver’s help!

Sensor Blocked Indicator SymbolA common problem is dirt on the sensors or cameras in the front of the vehicle and often a simple car wash or cleaning will resolve the issue. The symbol to the left showing an arrow piercing the top side of a car is used by manufacturers for what they call the City Safety System to indicate that sensors mounted in the windshield are blocked by dirt or debris.

Auto Braking Indicator SymbolPre Collision System OffSome manufacturers use the picture symbol to the left to indicate that the system is turned off. It and those to the right are intended to look like cars crashing into each other, and does the job. The symbol to the above right, which adds the exclamation point in the triangle alert and an arrow, illuminates when the brakes are applied automatically, which Forward Collision System Fault Indicatorwould be obvious if it occurred! If either of above lights remain illuminated, it indicates a problem with the system that will require your dealer or authorized service center to resolve. The light to the lower right is a trouble light only. See your favorite service center. And note that if there are any additional illuminated warning symbols, they must be addressed first.

Front End Collision Warning Indicator

This one to the left is a Front-end Collision Warning indicator, although the symbol is that of the back-end of a car. The manufacturer uses the same symbol for both a warning that the system has a problem or if a collision is imminent. We’ve shown it in red, which is used when a potential collision is detected. It will flash red as the condition worsens and/or when the relative speed between the two vehicles is great.

It will illuminate in amber when associated with the Active Cruise Control system and a vehicle driving ahead is detected. The indicator will flash if the system is not operating properly. In this case, the active cruise control will be deactivated and the brakes will be applied until the driver resumes control by either pressing on the brake or accelerator pedal.


* Keep the Symbol meanings with you! Download our free Mobile App here or search ‘Dashboard Symbols’ at your phone’s store.


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