Picture Symbols

What follows is easily the most complete list available of symbols and warnings that may appear in and on your car’s dashboard or instrument cluster. There are over 150 of them here, so scroll carefully until you find an image that matches. You can also search strictly by color. So…

Is your warning light filled with words or acronyms? Click here! (Its in alphabetical order).

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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 a warning light that looks exactly like yours, rest assured that there is enough overlap that you will find what you are looking for here.  Find one that looks similar, and you’re likely on the right track.

It is worth noting that higher end vehicles have more exotic systems and associated symbols. Look for Control Assist and Special features deeper in the page.

Some Basics

  • Don’t panic! Despite seeing a new tell-tale or warning light 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.
  • Again, does your light have text in it? Then go right to our Text Symbols pages, where they are shown in alphabetical order, 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 Trouble Indicator CanadaFor the full description, click here
Temperature Warning Light SymbolTemperature Indicator ColdFor the full description, click here
Oil Trouble Indicator SymbolLow Oil Level SymbolFor the full description, click here
Engine Oil Level SensorEngine Oil level Minimum IndicatorFor the full description, click here
Charging System Trouble Indicator SymbolHybrid Battery Trouble IndicatorFor the full description, click here

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 SymbolClick here for the full description
Door Ajar Warning IndicatorHood ajar indicatorTrunk Hatch Ajar WarningClick here for the full description
Low Fuel IndicatorClick here for the full description
Windshield Washer Fluid Low IndicatorClick here for the full description
Tire Pressure Monitor SymbolRare Tire Pressure Light w/ArrowsClick here for the full description
Check Engine Light SymbolMalfunction Indicator SymbolCheck Engine Light TextClick here for the full description
Engine Start System FaultEngine Start Symbol Fault 2Click here for the full description
Service Reminder IndicatorService ReminderClick here for the full description

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 SymbolClick here for the complete description
Headlamp Out IndicatorLamp Out SymbolLED Headlight MalfunctionClick here for the complete description
High Beam On IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Auto Headlamp Dimmer IndicatorHigh-beam Assistant IndicatorHeadlamp Malfunction 2Click here for the complete description
Headlight Levelling IndicatorHeadlight Levelling System WarningClick here for the complete description
Cornering Headlamps Malfunction IndicatorCornering Light Malfunction Indicator 2Click here for the complete description
Daytime Running Lights SymbolClick here for the complete description
Tail Light Out Indicator SymbolStop Light Out IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Tail Light Indicator CanadaClick here for the complete description
Fog Lamp Indicator SymbolClick here for the complete description
Rear Fog Lamp IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Turn Signal IndicatorClick here for the complete description

Trouble and Safety Indicators and Symbols

If you see any of these next few symbols, contact your dealer as soon as possible. They are sorted in what could be an order of importance. Note the links with additional information.

Master Warning Light SymbolAmber Master Warning Light SymbolClick here for the complete description
SRS Air Bag Indicator SymbolSRS Text IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Side Airbag Off IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Seat Belt Reminder SymbolClick here for the complete description
Rear Seatbelt IndicatorRear Seat Safety Belt WarningClick here for the complete description
Security Indicator SymbolImmobilizer System IndicatorSecurity Lock IndicatorClick here for the full description
Drivetrain Trouble IndicatorPowertrain Trouble IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Electric Shift MalfunctionClick here for the complete description
Transmission Warning LightClick here for the complete description
Transmission Temperature WarningClick here for the complete description
Steering Trouble IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Steering Lock IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Parking Brake Engaged IndicatorService Electric Parking BrakeClick here for the complete description
Low Brake Fluid IndicatorClick here for the complete description
ABS Trouble Indicator USEuropean ABS Warning IndicatorABS Trouble Indicator CanadaClick here for the full description
Brake Pad Wear Warning SymbolClick here for the complete description
Electronically Controlled Brake WarningClick here for the complete description
Electric Park Brake IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Shift Lock IndicatorEngine Start Operation IndicatorUse Brake IndicatorClick here for the full description
Depress Brake PedalClick here for the complete description
Tire Pressure Monitor SymbolRare Tire Pressure Light w/ArrowsClick here for the complete description
Check Engine Light SymbolMalfunction Indicator SymbolCheck Engine Light TextClick here for the full description
Check Engine ElectricalClick here for the complete description
Reduced Engine Power LightClick here for the complete description
Engine Fault IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Lambda Sensor IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Electronic Power ControlClick here for the complete description
Sport Differential WarningClick here for the complete description
Check Gas CapClick here for the complete description
Message Indicator SymbolClick here for the complete description
Catalytic Converter Warning SymbolClick here for the complete description
Low Coolant IndicatorLow Coolant IndicatorLow Coolant WarningClick here for the complete description
Low Coolant Warning IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Electronic Throttle Control IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Clogged Air Filter IndicatorClick here for the complete description
Owners Manual IndicatorClick here for the complete description

Control Assist System Symbols and Indicators

The latest vehicle advances combine features old, such as Anti-lock Brakes (ABS), and new, like Traction Control, into Assist Systems. They have their own unique symbols and indicators, some of which, unlike ABS, use different terminologies to describe exactly the same thing.

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Note that if additional lights, such as the Check Engine and ABS light, are on, they should be addressed first. See our Multiple Lights page for more information. Note as well that some specialty systems will also shut down associated advanced systems. Thus, for example, if Low Speed Assist is in use or you have locked the differential for additional traction, Stability Control will be unavailable. Etc.

Traction Control IndicatorTraction Control System Warning LightClick here for the full description
Grade Assist IndicatorCrawl Control Indicator SymbolClick here for the full description
Turn Assist IndicatorClick here for the full description
Various Stability Control Indicators and Symbols
Slip Control Off IndicatorClick here for the full description
DSC Off IndicatorVDC Off IndicatorClick here for the full description
Dynamic Stability Control IndicatorDynamic Stability ControlClick here for the full description
Slip and Brake Fault IndicatorClick here for the full description
Slip Indicator SymbolStabilty Control Fault IndicatorStability Control Fault IndicatorClick here for the full description

Driver Assist Systems Symbols and Indicators

As we move inexorably towards self driving cars, individual systems are being developed to aid drivers maintain control of their vehicles. Some systems can even take control of braking and steering functions temporarily if an emergency situation is detected.

Active Cruise Control SymbolRadar Blocked IndicatorClick here for the full description
Follow Mode IndicatorAdaptive Cruise ControlClick here for the full description
Smart Cruise Control Malfunction IndicatorSCC Warning Indicator 2Click here for the full description
Smart Cruise MalfunctionSmart Cruise Control Radar Warning IndicatorClick here for the full description
ADAS status indicatorClick here for the full description
ASL Indicator SymbolClick here for the full description
Passive Speed Limit IndicatorClick here for the full description
Distance Warning IndicatorClick here for the full description
Forward Alert IndicatorClick here for the full description
Pre Collision System OffForward Collision System Fault IndicatorAuto Braking Indicator SymbolClick here for the full description
Sensor Blocked Indicator SymbolFront_end Collision Warning IndicatorClick here for the full description
Lane Departure IndicatorLane Departure SymbolClick here for the full description
Lane Departure WarningAlert System Service IndicatorClick here for the full description
Congestion AssistClick here for the full description
Pedestrian Warning Symbol 2Pedestrian Warning Symbol 1Click here for the full description
Night Vision Pedestrian WarningNight Vision Animal WarningClick here for the full description
Blind Spot IndicatorBLIS IndicatorBlind Spot Alert MalfunctionClick here for the full description
Parking Assistance SymbolPark Assist SymbolClick here for the full description

Special Feature Symbols and Indicators

The symbols and indicators in this next group are associated with special and unique automotive features. What used to be accessories in many cases. The symbols generally are shown on the instrument panel in green when the systems are active. Other symbols are shown when there is a problem with the system, and will be yellow or red.

Convertible Top IndicatorClick here for the full description
Key Not Detected IndicatorKey Detected IndicatorIntelligent Key WarningClick here for the full description
Key Fob in Vehicle IndicatorKey Fob Battery Low IndicatorLow Key BatteryClick here for the full description
Low Fob BatteryFob Not DetectedClick here for the full description
Frost Warning IndicatorClick here for the full description
Attention Alert Indicator SymbolAlert Time Indicator SymbolClick here for the full description
Easy Access SymbolClick here for the full description
Cruise Control IndicatorCruise Control Indicator SymbolClick here for the full description
Brake Hold Indicator SymbolClick here for the full description
Suspension MalfunctionSuspension Setting SymbolClick here for the full description
Active Suspension WarningSuspension Setting SymbolClick here for the full description
P-AWS IndicatorClick here for the full description
Haul (towing) IndicatorTrailer Fault WarningTow Mode IndicatorClick here for the full description
Various Fuel Economy Aid Indicator Symbols
Intelligent Stop Start IndicatorStop Start Ready IndicatorStop Start Off IndicatorClick here for the full description
Start/Stop Trouble IndicatorStart Stop Malfunction IndicatorClick here for the full description
Eco Operation Indicator SymbolClick here for the full description
Economy Mode IndicatorClick here for the full description
Predictive Efficiency AssistClick here for the full description
Up Shift Light SymbolUp Shift IndicatorClick here for the full description
Sport Mode IndicatorClick here for the full description
Various 4-Wheel and All-Wheel Drive Feature Symbols
AWD-V On IndicatorClick here for the full description
4_wheel_drive_low_indicator4 Wheel Drive Low IndicatorClick here for the full description
Differential Lock Indicator4WD Lock IndicatorAll Wheel Lock IndicatorClick here for the full description
Electronic Rear Differential LockRear Differential Lock IndicatorClick here for the full description
Front Axle LockRear Axle LockClick here for the full description
All Wheel Drive DisabledAWD Malfunction IndicatorClick here for the full description
Grade Assist IndicatorHill Start Assist Off IndicatorClick here for the full description

Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Symbols and Indicators 

A whole new series of symbols have been created just for the new generation of hybrid vehicles. For the most part, they tell a driver when a particular system is operating and/or in what mode. Remember that a flashing light likely indicates a problem that your dealer or authorized repair shop should address.

Hybrid Battery Trouble IndicatorHybrid Warning IndicatorHigh Voltage System FaultClick here for the full description
EV System IndicatorHybrid Service IndicatorClick here for the full description
High Voltage Battery LowClick here for the full description
Low Battery WarningClick here for the full description
Power Limitation IndicatorClick here for the full description
Charging Indicator SymbolPlug in IndicatorClick here for the full description
EV Operation Indicator SymbolClick here for the full description
Ready Mode IndicatorHybrid Ready IndicatorClick here for the full description
EV MODE IndicatorClick here for the full description
External Sound System Fault IndicatorPedestrian Sound IndicatorClick here for the full description

Symbols Found in Diesel-powered Vehicles

The following are symbols used only in diesel powered vehicles. They vary somewhat by manufacturer but all generally refer to starting and fuel quality and filtration.

Glow Plug Indicator SymbolClick here for the full description
Diesel Particulate Filter symbol indicator 1Diesel Particulate Filter symbol indicator 2Click here for the full description
Diesel Exhaust FilterDiesel Exhaust Filter 2Click here for the full description
Water in Fuel Indicator SymbolWater Trap IndicatorWater in Fuel Indicator 2Click here for the full description
AdBlue fill indicatorAdBlue Maintenance IndicatorClick here for the full description

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

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, Suzuki, Tesla, Toyota, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, and Volvo.

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Permanent link to this article: http://dashboardsymbols.com/the-symbols/

Red Picture Symbols

The color red is the most serious of warnings  in most cases . Unfortunately, there are a few instances where it is trivialized, but always start by taking any red indicator as a serious issue that must be addressed. We’ve gathered all the red indicators used by all the various vehicle systems. Please look carefully. …

Yellow or Amber Picture Symbols

The yellow or amber color is a warning. Whatever system is indicated will need to be attended to soon. We’ve gathered all the yellow or amber indicators used by all the various vehicle systems. There are lots of possibilities here, so look carefully. Not yellow/amber? If your picture symbol is red, click here. If your …

Blue and Green Picture Symbols

If the picture symbol on your instrument panel is either blue or green, is the place to start. We’ve gathered all the blue and green indicators used by all the various vehicle systems. These colors are used primarily to indicate that a system is active and functioning as it should. Not blue or green? If …