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Picture Symbols

Don’t Panic!

The very first rule of thumb when any new tell-tale is activated on your instrument panel is Don’t Panic! Likely as not, the car is still running fine and while there may be a problem to attend to, it is best to proceed with confidence and patience.

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 will be more to add, as the industry continues to evolve and add more.

Don’t miss our page of Text Symbols. Some are repeated here for completeness, but the vast majority are shown on the page in alphabetical order. If the light you see has any text in it, you’ll find it there.

Also, if you are seeing multiple lights, check out our Multiple Lights and Indicators page for information.

Color is King

For the most part, a symbol in red indicates a potentially serious problem or safety issue. It is also used to indicate an important reminder. Yellow/orange mean something needs to be serviced or repaired soon. If the symbol is flashing, it is truly important that you contact your dealer. A green or blue symbol is for information only, telling you that a system is on or is operating.

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

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 SymbolMaster Warning Light, more hereAmber Master Warning Light Symbol
SRS Air Bag Indicator SymbolSRS Air Bag Indicator Symbols, more hereSRS Text Indicator
Side Airbag Off IndicatorSide Airbag Off Indicator, more here
Security Indicator SymbolSecurity and/or Immobilizer Symbols, more hereImmobilizer System IndicatorSecurity Lock Indicator
Drivetrain Trouble IndicatorDrivetrain or Powertrain Trouble Lights, more herePowertrain Trouble Indicator
Electric Shift MalfunctionElectronic Shift Malfunction, more here
Transmission Warning LightTransmission Warning Indicator Symbol, more here
Transmission Temperature WarningTransmission Temperature Warning, more here
Steering Trouble IndicatorPower Steering Trouble Light, more here
Parking Brake Engaged IndicatorParking Brake Indicators, more hereService Electric Parking Brake
Low Brake Fluid IndicatorLow Brake Fluid Indicator Symbol, more here
ABS Trouble Indicator USAntilock Brake System Trouble Lights, more hereEuropean ABS Warning IndicatorABS Trouble Indicator Canada
Brake Pad Wear Warning SymbolLow Brake Pad Warning Light, more here
Electronically Controlled Brake WarningElectronically Controlled Brake System Symbol, more here
Electric Park Brake IndicatorElectric Park Brake Fault Indicator, more here
Shift Lock IndicatorAutomatic Shift Lock (ASL) Indicator Symbol, more here
Tire Pressure Monitor SymbolTire Pressure Monitoring System Lights, more hereRare Tire Pressure Light w/Arrows
Check Engine Light SymbolCheck Engine Light Symbols, more hereMalfunction Indicator SymbolCheck Engine Light Text
Check Engine ElectricalCheck Engine Electrical Indicator, more here
Reduced Engine Power LightReduced Engine Power Indicator, more here
Engine Fault IndicatorEngine Fault Indicator, more here
Lambda Sensor IndicatorLambda (Oxygen) Sensor Indicator Symbol, more here
Check Gas CapCheck Gas Cap Indicator Symbol, more here
Message Indicator SymbolMessage Indicator Symbol, more here
Owners Manual IndicatorOwner Manual Indicator Symbol, more here
Catalytic Converter Warning SymbolCatalytic Converter Warning Symbol, more here
Low Coolant IndicatorLow Coolant Lights, more hereLow Coolant IndicatorLow Coolant Warning
More Low Coolant Lights, more hereLow Coolant Warning Indicator
Electronic Throttle Control IndicatorElectronic Throttle Control Indicator Symbol, more here
Service Reminder IndicatorService Reminder Indicators, more here
Clogged Air Filter IndicatorClogged Air Filter Indicator, more here
Seat Belt Reminder SymbolSeat Belt Reminder Indicator Symbol, more here
Rear Seatbelt IndicatorSecond Row Safety Belt Indicator Symbol, 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 Assistance
Information Display Example, much more here

Control Assist System Symbols and Indicators

The latest vehicle advances combine features old, such as Anti-lock Brakes (ABS), and new, like Stability 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.

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 Indicators, more hereTraction Control System Warning Light
Grade Assist IndicatorLow Speed and Grade Assist Indicators, more hereCrawl Control Indicator Symbol
Turn Assist IndicatorTurn Assist Indicator, more here
Various Stability Control Indicators and Symbols
Slip Control Off IndicatorStability Control Off Indicator(s), more here
DSC Off IndicatorVarious Stability Control Off Text Indicators, many more hereVDC Off Indicator
Dynamic Stability Control IndicatorDynamic Stability Control Indicator or Electronic Stability Program, more here
Slip and Brake Fault IndicatorBrake Assist and Anti-Slip Regulation Fault Indicator, more here
Slip Indicator SymbolSlip Indicator and Fault Indicator Symbols, more hereStabilty Control Fault IndicatorStability Control Fault Indicator

Special and Advanced Feature Symbols and Indicators

The symbols and indicators in this next group are associated with special and advanced 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 Trouble IndicatorPower Top Trouble Indicator Symbol, more here
Key Not Detected IndicatorKeyless Ignition Key Detection Indicators, more hereKey Detected IndicatorIntelligent Key Warning
Key Fob in Vehicle IndicatorMore Keyless Ignition Key Detection Indicators, more hereKey Fob Battery Low Indicator
Frost Warning IndicatorFrost Warning or Snow Mode Indicator Symbol, more here
Attention Alert Indicator SymbolAttention Alert Indicator Symbols, more hereAlert Time Indicator Symbol
Distance Warning IndicatorDistance Warning Indicator Symbol, more here
Easy Access SymbolEasy Access Indicator Symbol, more here
Cruise Control IndicatorCruise Control Indicator Light, more here
Cruise Control Indicator SymbolCruise Control Indicator Symbol, more here
Active Cruise Control SymbolActive/Adaptive Cruise Control Indicator Symbols, more hereRadar Blocked Indicator
Smart Cruise Control Malfunction IndicatorSmart Cruise Control Warning Indicator Symbols, more hereSmart Cruise Control Radar Warning Indicator
Brake Hold Indicator SymbolBrake Hold Indicator Symbol, more here
Suspension Setting SymbolSuspension Setting Indicator, more here
Haul (towing) IndicatorHaul (towing) Indicators, more hereTow Mode Indicator
Parking Assistance SymbolPark Assist Indicator Symbols, more herePark Assist Symbol
Lane Departure IndicatorLane Departure Warning Symbols, more hereLane Departure WarningAlert System Service Indicator
Pre Collision System OffPre Collision System Indicators, more hereAuto Braking Indicator SymbolSensor Blocked Indicator Symbol
Blind Spot IndicatorBlind Spot System Indicators, more hereBLIS Indicator
Various Fuel Economy Aid Indicator Symbols
Stop Start Ready IndicatorStart/Stop System Function Indicators, more hereStop Start Off Indicator
Start/Stop Trouble IndicatorStart/Stop Trouble Indicator, more here
Eco Operation Indicator SymbolEconomy Operation Indicator, more here
Economy Mode IndicatorEconomy Mode Indicator, more here
Up Shift Light SymbolUp Shift Light Symbols, more hereUp Shift Indicator
Sport Mode IndicatorSport Mode Indicator, more here
Various 4-Wheel and All-Wheel Drive Feature Symbols
AWD-V On IndicatorAll Wheel Drive (AWD) On Mode Indicators, more here
4_wheel_drive_low_indicator4 Wheel Drive Indicators, more here4 Wheel Drive Low Indicator
Differential Lock IndicatorDifferential Lock Indicators, more here 4WD Lock IndicatorAll Wheel Lock Indicator
Electronic Rear Differential LockRear Differential Lock Indicators, more here Rear Differential Lock Indicator
All Wheel Drive DisabledAll-wheel Drive Disabled and Fault Indicators, more hereAWD Malfunction Indicator
Grade Assist IndicatorLow Speed and Grade Assist Indicator Symbols, more hereHill Start Assist Off Indicator

Symbols and Indicators for Hybrid and Plug-in Hybid Vehicles

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 should address.

Hybrid Battery Trouble IndicatorHybrid or Plug-in Hybrid Battery Trouble Indicators, more hereHigh Voltage System Fault
EV System Indicator
EV System Warning Indicator, more here
High Voltage Battery Low
High Voltage Battery Charge Level Indicator, more here
Low Battery Warning
Low Battery Warning Indicator, more here
Power Limitation Indicator
Power Limitation Indicator, more here
Charging Indicator Symbol
Charging Indicator Symbols, more here
Plug in Indicator
EV Operation Indicator SymbolElectric Vehicle (EV) Operation Indicator Symbol, more here
Ready Mode Indicator
Hybrid Ready Indicator Symbols, more here
Hybrid Ready Indicator
EV MODE Indicator
EV Mode Indicator Symbol, more here
External Sound System Fault IndicatorExternal Sound System Fault Indicator Symbols, more herePedestrian Sound Indicator

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 SymbolGlow Plug Indicator Symbol, more here
Diesel Particulate Filter symbol indicator 1Diesel Particulate Filter Warning Symbol Indicators, more hereDiesel Particulate Filter symbol indicator 2
Diesel Exhaust FilterMore Particulate Filter Warning Symbol Indicators, more hereDiesel Exhaust Filter 2
Water in Fuel Indicator SymbolWater in Fuel Symbol Indicators, more here Water Trap IndicatorWater in Fuel Indicator 2

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

Routine Indicators and Symbols

The following symbols are intended to point out routine needs for you vehicle. For instance, the need to fill your windshield washer fluid.

Seat Belt Reminder SymbolSeat Belt Reminder Indicator Symbol, more here
Door Ajar Warning IndicatorDoor Ajar or Door Open Indicator, more here
Low Fuel IndicatorFuel or Low Fuel Indicator Symbol, more here
Windshield Washer Fluid Low IndicatorWindshield Washer Fluid Low Indicator, more here

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

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