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Picture Symbols

What follows is easily the most complete list available of symbols and warnings that may appear in and on your car’s instrument cluster. There are over 150 of them here, through three pages, so scroll carefully until you find an image that matches. We looked at cars built by well over 30 of the world’s largest manufacturers from roughly 2005. They are listed below, but if you don’t see yours, rest assured that there is enough overlap that you will find what you are looking for here.

It is worth noting that higher end vehicles have more exotic systems and associated symbols. They are more likely to be found on Page 2 or 3 (Control Assist and Special Features).

Some Basics

  • Don’t panic! Despite seeing a new tell-tale on your instrument panel, unless it is red it is likely the car is still running fine and while there may be a problem to attend to, proceed with confidence and patience.
  • Color is King! Red indicates a potentially serious problem or safety issue. Attend to it! Red may also indicate an important reminder. Yellow/orange mean something needs to be serviced or repaired soon. If it is flashing, it is important that you contact your dealer or trusted repair shop. Green or blue is only telling you that a system is on or operating.
  • Have a description in your mind? Try our search function at the top of the page. It could save looking over all the entries.
  • Do you see more than one light? Check out our Multiple Lights and Indicators page first.
  • Does your light have text in it? Then go right to our Text Symbols pages, where they are shown in alphabetical order, also over 3 pages.

We start with the most serious of the symbols and move in a rough descending order of importance. This is somewhat subjective, particularly if you are seeing something you don’t recognize!

Warning Symbols – the Truly Serious Ones

If you see any of the following symbols on your dashboard, take no chances. Stop you vehicle immediately and find an authorized repair facility. We start with a text symbol here, because it cannot be ignored in this set as it indicates a brake issue. Click the links for more information.

Brake Trouble IndicatorBrake Warning Indicators, U.S. and Canada (r), more hereBrake Trouble Indicator Canada
Temperature Warning Light SymbolEngine Coolant Temperature Indicator Symbols, more hereTemperature Indicator Cold
Oil Trouble Indicator SymbolEngine Oil Level or Oil Pressure Warning Light Symbol, more hereLow Oil Level Symbol
Engine Oil Level SensorEngine Oil Sensor and Level Indicators, more hereEngine Oil level Minimum Indicator
Charging System Trouble Indicator SymbolCharging System Warning Light Symbols, more hereHybrid Battery Trouble Indicator

Routine and Common Indicators and Symbols

The following symbols are intended to point out routine needs for your vehicle. For instance, the need to fill your windshield washer fluid, or close a door. They may show up as larger images in message centers. We also added the Tire Pressure Warning and Check Engine symbols, since these are simply seen the most often.

Seat Belt Reminder SymbolSeat Belt Reminder Indicator Symbol, more here
Door Ajar Warning IndicatorDoor Ajar or Door Open Indicator, more hereTrunk Hatch Ajar Warning
Low Fuel IndicatorFuel or Low Fuel Indicator Symbol, more here
Windshield Washer Fluid Low IndicatorWindshield Washer Fluid Low Indicator, more here
Tire Pressure Monitor SymbolTire Pressure Monitoring System/Flat Tire Monitor Symbols, more hereRare Tire Pressure Light w/Arrows
Check Engine Light SymbolCheck Engine Light Symbols, more hereMalfunction Indicator SymbolCheck Engine Light Text
Service Reminder IndicatorService Reminder Indicators, more hereService Reminder

Lighting Indicators and Symbols

The following are all related to your vehicle’s lighting system. Many you have seen before, and most will be green or blue.

Headlamp Indicator SymbolHeadlamp Indicator Symbol, more here
Headlamp Out IndicatorHeadlamp Out or Malfunction Symbols, more hereLamp Out SymbolLED Headlight Malfunction
High Beam On IndicatorHigh Beam on Indicator Symbol, more here
Auto Headlamp Dimmer IndicatorAutomatic Headlamp Dimmer Indicator Symbol, more here
High-beam Assistant IndicatorHigh-beam Assistant Symbol, more here
Headlight Levelling IndicatorHeadlamp Levelling System Symbols, more hereHeadlight Levelling System Warning
Cornering Headlamps Malfunction IndicatorCornering Headlight System Malfunction Indicator, more here
Daytime Running Lights SymbolDaytime Running Lights Symbol, more here
Tail Light Out Indicator SymbolTail Light Out Indicator Symbol, more here
Tail Light Indicator CanadaTail Light Indicator Symbol, Canada, more here
Fog Lamp Indicator SymbolFog Lamp Indicator Symbol, more here
Rear Fog Lamp IndicatorRear Fog Lamp Indicator Symbol, more here
Turn Signal IndicatorTurn Signal Indicators, more here

Information Displays and Message Centers

In what is a very, very useful trend, vehicle manufacturers are using more and more information displays to inform drivers of what features are in use, how they are operating, and what maintenance, if any, may be needed. What are shown are examples only. There are simply too many possibilities and iterations.

Note that if you are seeing something new on your instrument panel that appears to be informational only, check to see that a ‘display’ button has not been hit accidentally and thus changing what you are typically used to seeing.

Lane Keeping AssistanceInformation Display Example, much more here

Continue to More Picture Symbols (Trouble
Indicators, and Control Assist Indicators) >

Continue to Even More Picture Symbols (Driver
Assist, Special Features, Hybrid, and Diesel Indicators) >

Vehicles examined include those from Acura, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Fisker, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes, Mercury, Mini, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Saab, Saturn, Smart, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, and Volvo.


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