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.
- 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 Warning Indicators, U.S. and Canada (r), more here|
|Engine Coolant Temperature Indicator Symbols, more here|
|Engine Oil Level or Oil Pressure Warning Light Symbol, more here|
|Engine Oil Sensor and Level Indicators, more here|
|Charging System Warning Light Symbols, more 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 Indicator Symbol, more here|
|Door Ajar or Door Open Indicator, more here|
|Fuel or Low Fuel Indicator Symbol, more here|
|Windshield Washer Fluid Low Indicator, more here|
|Tire Pressure Monitoring System Symbols, more here|
|Check Engine Light Symbols, more here|
|Service Reminder Indicators, more here|
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 Symbol, more here|
|Headlamp Out or Malfunction Symbols, more here|
|High Beam on Indicator Symbol, more here|
|Automatic Headlamp Dimmer Indicator Symbol, more here|
|High-beam Assistant Symbol, more here|
|Headlamp Levelling System Symbols, more here|
|Cornering Headlight System Malfunction Indicator, more here|
|Daytime Running Lights Symbol, more here|
|Tail Light Out Indicator Symbol, more here|
|Tail Light Indicator Symbol, Canada, more here|
|Fog Lamp Indicator Symbol, more here|
|Rear Fog Lamp Indicator Symbol, more here|
|Turn 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.
|Information 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.