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, 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 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.


Also, if the symbol you see contains an acronym or whole word in text, you can find an alphabetical list by clicking here.

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 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 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 and Other Indicators, more hereHood ajar indicatorTrunk 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
Engine Start System FaultEngine Start System Fault Indicators, Amber or Red, more hereEngine Start Symbol Fault 2
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 and Malfunction Indicator Symbols, more hereHigh-beam Assistant IndicatorHeadlamp Malfunction 2
Headlight Levelling IndicatorHeadlamp Levelling System Symbols, more hereHeadlight Levelling System Warning
Cornering Headlamps Malfunction IndicatorCornering Headlight System Malfunction Indicators, more hereCornering Light Malfunction Indicator 2
Daytime Running Lights SymbolDaytime Running Lights Symbol, more here
Tail Light Out Indicator SymbolTail or Stop Light Out Indicators, more hereStop Light Out Indicator
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

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
Seat Belt Reminder SymbolSeat Belt Reminder Indicator Symbol, more here
Rear Seatbelt IndicatorSecond Row or Rear Seat Safety Belt Indicator Symbols, more hereRear Seat Safety Belt Warning
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
Steering Lock IndicatorElectronic Steering Lock Indicator, Amber or Red, 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) / Engine Start Operation Indicator Symbols, more hereEngine Start Operation IndicatorUse Brake Indicator
Depress Brake PedalBrake Press 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
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
Electronic Power ControlEPC Warning Indicator, amber or red, more here
Sport Differential WarningSport Differential Warning Indicator Symbol, more here
Check Gas CapCheck Gas Cap Indicator Symbol, more here
Message Indicator SymbolMessage 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
Clogged Air Filter IndicatorClogged Air Filter Indicator, more here
Owners Manual IndicatorOwner Manual Indicator Symbol, more here

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.

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 hereDynamic Stability Control
Slip and Brake Fault IndicatorBrake Assist and Anti-Slip Regulation Fault Indicator, more here
Slip Indicator SymbolSlip, Stability Control, and Fault Indicator Symbols, more hereStabilty Control Fault IndicatorStability Control Fault Indicator

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 SymbolActive/Adaptive Cruise Control Indicator Symbols, more hereRadar Blocked Indicator
Follow Mode IndicatorMore Adaptive Cruise Control Indicator Symbols, more hereAdaptive Cruise Control
Smart Cruise Control Malfunction IndicatorSmart Cruise Control Warning Indicator Symbols, more hereSCC Warning Indicator 2
Smart Cruise MalfunctionMore Smart Cruise Control Warning Indicator Symbols, more hereSmart Cruise Control Radar Warning Indicator
ADAS status indicatorADAS Indicator Symbol, more here
ASL Indicator SymbolAutomatic Speed Limiter (ASL) Indicator Symbol, more here
Passive Speed Limit IndicatorPassive Speed Limit Indicator Symbol, more here
Distance Warning IndicatorDistance Warning Indicator Symbol, more here
Forward Alert IndicatorForward Alert Indicator Symbol, more here
Pre Collision System OffCollision Warning System Indicators, more hereForward Collision System Fault IndicatorAuto Braking Indicator Symbol
Sensor Blocked Indicator SymbolMore Collision Warning System Indicators, more hereFront_end Collision Warning Indicator
Lane Departure IndicatorLane Departure Warning Symbols, more hereLane Departure Symbol
Lane Departure WarningMore Lane Departure Warning Symbols, more hereAlert System Service Indicator
Congestion AssistTraffic Jam or Congestion Assist Indicator, Gray, Green, Amber or Red, more here
Pedestrian Warning Symbol 2Pedestrian Warning Indicators, more herePedestrian Warning Symbol 1
Night Vision Pedestrian WarningNight Vision Assist Indicator Symbols, more hereNight Vision Animal Warning
Blind Spot IndicatorBlind Spot System and Malfunction Indicators, more hereBLIS IndicatorBlind Spot Alert Malfunction
Parking Assistance SymbolPark Assist Indicator Symbols, more herePark Assist Symbol

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 IndicatorPower Top Trouble Indicator Symbol, more here
Key Not Detected IndicatorKeyless Ignition Detection Indicators, more hereKey Detected IndicatorIntelligent Key Warning
Key Fob in Vehicle IndicatorMore Keyless Ignition Detection Indicators, more hereKey Fob Battery Low IndicatorLow Key Battery
Low Fob BatteryAnd More Keyless Ignition Detection Indicators, more hereFob Not Detected
Frost Warning IndicatorFrost Warning or Snow Mode Indicator Symbol, more here
Attention Alert Indicator SymbolAttention Alert Indicator Symbols, more hereAlert Time Indicator Symbol
Easy Access SymbolEasy Access Indicator Symbol, more here
Cruise Control IndicatorCruise Control Indicators, more hereCruise Control Indicator Symbol
Brake Hold Indicator SymbolBrake Hold Indicator Symbol, more here
Suspension MalfunctionSuspension Setting and Malfunction Indicators, green, amber or red, more hereSuspension Setting Symbol
Active Suspension WarningMore Suspension Setting and Malfunction Indicators, green, amber or red, more hereSuspension Setting Symbol
P-AWS IndicatorPrecision-All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) System Indicator, more here
Haul (towing) IndicatorHaul (towing) and Fault Indicators, more hereTrailer Fault WarningTow Mode Indicator
Various Fuel Economy Aid Indicator Symbols
Intelligent Stop Start IndicatorStart/Stop System Function Indicators, more hereStop Start Ready IndicatorStop Start Off Indicator
Start/Stop Trouble IndicatorStart/Stop Trouble Indicators, more hereStart Stop Malfunction Indicator
Eco Operation Indicator SymbolEconomy Operation Indicator, more here
Economy Mode IndicatorEconomy Mode Indicator, more here
Predictive Efficiency AssistPredictive Efficiency Assist 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
Front Axle LockFront and Rear Axle Lock Indicators, more here Rear Axle Lock
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

Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid 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 or Plug-in Hybrid Battery Trouble Indicators, more hereHybrid Warning IndicatorHigh Voltage System Fault
EV System IndicatorEV System Warning and Hybrid Service Indicators, more hereHybrid Service Indicator
High Voltage Battery LowHigh Voltage Battery Charge Level Indicator, more here
Low Battery WarningLow Battery Warning Indicator, more here
Power Limitation IndicatorPower Limitation Indicator, more here
Charging Indicator SymbolCharging Indicator Symbols, more herePlug in Indicator
EV Operation Indicator SymbolElectric Vehicle (EV) Operation Indicator Symbol, more here
Ready Mode IndicatorHybrid Ready Indicator Symbols, more hereHybrid Ready Indicator
EV MODE IndicatorEV 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
AdBlue fill indicatorAdBlue Indicator Symbols, Red or Amber, more hereAdBlue Maintenance Indicator

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


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