Catalog of Car Dashboard Icons with Transcripts
Catalog of Car Dashboard Icons with Transcripts

Catalog of Car Dashboard Icons with Transcripts

On the dashboard of any car, there are signal icons that inform the driver about the operation of certain mechanisms, as well as about malfunctions. These icons help you stay up to date on what’s going on with your vehicle.

The number of systems (new technologies, assistants, and autopilots) in cars is constantly growing. Automakers often implement similar technologies in their vehicles, but under their own names, so a problem with the same system may appear on the dashboard with different icons. In this material, we have collected a catalog of indicators (icons) on car dashboards with detailed descriptions and decoding of their designations.

As a rule, green icons indicate the activation of some kind of automotive system, yellow and red indicate malfunctions. Red icons usually indicate more serious problems or may indicate critical malfunctions in which the vehicle is unacceptable.

Critical Fault Icons

As a rule, a critical fault icon shows with red, it informs about a serious problem or about some unresolved security issue. Red is also used to indicate important reminders.

Exclamation Point in A Circle or the Inscription Brake: Handbrake

The handbrake is on or there is a problem with the brake system (low brake fluid level, excessive pad wear, etc.), or a malfunction of one of the sensors.

Blue or Red Thermometer: Engine Temperature

Engine temperature problems. A red thermometer means overheating – it is urgent to turn off the engine, and a blue thermometer means a low engine temperature – it is worth warming up the engine before driving. Also, these errors can occur due to faulty temperature sensors.

Oiler with a Drop (Kettle): Low Engine Oil Pressure

Usually indicates low engine oil pressure or a faulty oil pressure sensor. Sometimes this icon also means low oil level, although another designation is more common for the latter (see below).

Oiler with Waves or Inscriptions Oil Level, Min, Sensor

Low oil level in the engine or malfunction of the oil level sensor. Check the oil dipstick. Some of these icons may also indicate low engine oil pressure.

Battery or Battery Labeled “Main”

If the battery light is on, it means that the battery is low, and the battery is not charging due to a malfunction of the generator or a problem in its circuit. On hybrid vehicles, it is more common with the inscription Main.

Engine with Stop Sign or Just Stop Sign: Engine Stop

Such a signal lamp indicates the need for an emergency stop of the engine. In some old vehicles, it usually means a low level of brake fluid or oil. The appearance of such an icon may be accompanied by a sound signal. It’s better to stop moving.

Security System Malfunctions

A car security system is a set of components installed in a vehicle for human protection and to prevent unauthorized access or theft of the vehicle. This typically includes an alarm, a locking system, and an immobilizer. It may also include GPS tracking and a backup power source to keep the system functioning even if the main battery is disconnected.

Airbag Inscription, SRS, or “Pregnant Man”

Error on SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) – auxiliary restraint system, refers to passive safety systems. The SRS light comes on when there is a problem with the airbags or their circuit. Motorists call the first badge “pregnant man”, this error often occurs due to the oxidation of contacts in the circuit to the airbags, on some cars, this is a “sore”.

Man with a Belt, the Inscription Side Airbag Off

Indicates the deactivation of the front passenger airbag. This may be a sign of a circuit malfunction, an airbag problem, or simply the front passenger airbag is disabled – modern cars have this feature – with the airbag disabled, you can transport children in front in child seats. The switch is usually located on the right side of the dashboard.

ABS Lettering, Antilock, Sliding Car Badge

All of these indicators indicate a problem with the anti-lock braking system ABS. Typically, the sensors of this system are in each wheel and a malfunction of any of the sensors will cause such an error. Diagnostics required.

Exclamation Mark in a Red Triangle

One of the doors, the trunk or hood is open, and the driver or passengers are not fastened with a seat belt or other emergency situations. The indicator can be combined with a buzzer.

Exclamation Point in an Orange Triangle

Problems in the vehicle’s electronic stability control (ESP).

RSCA OFF Inscription

Disabled side curtain airbags, triggered when the vehicle rolls over. Usually, off-road vehicles are equipped with a button with the ability to turn off this system – with strong body rolls, the curtains can work.

PCS Lettering or Car with Key

Disabled collision avoidance system or pre-crash safety – PCS (Pre-collision system or Pre-crash system).

Key or Car Icon with Lock

The standard alarm or immobilizer is activated. After recognizing the key, it should go out. If this does not happen, the key is not recognized or there is another problem.

Red Circle

A red circle or ball means the activation of the anti-theft system, as a result of which the engine was blocked. After recognizing the key, it should go out, if this does not happen, there may be a problem with the immobilizer or the key is not recognized.

Automatic Transmission Errors

Automatic transmission is a type of transmission used in motor vehicles that automatically changes gears based on the speed of the vehicle. It eliminates the need for manual shifting of gears by the driver and provides a smoother driving experience. It uses a complex system of hydraulic or electronic controls to automatically select the appropriate gear ratio.

Exclamation Mark in Red or Yellow Gear

An error with a yellow gear means problems with the automatic transmission and its operation in emergency mode. A red gear can also mean problems with the powertrain.

AT or A/T Oil Temp, Wrench, Gear Thermometer

The inclusion of one of these indicators means there are problems with the automatic transmission – AT (Automatic Transmission). Most often, this means overheating of the oil in the gearbox or a malfunction of the temperature sensor. Yellow lights warn of problems, when the red light is on, it is better to stop moving. Also, such bulbs can indicate problems with the gearbox control unit.

Car Axle with Levers

It can mean various problems with the transmission units, including overheating of the gearbox, clutch problems, and more. For the exact value of a specific vehicle, please refer to the owner’s manual.

Gearbox and Auto Lettering

This light will only come on in vehicles with automatic transmissions. It means there are problems with the automatic transmission – low oil level, high temperature, and problems with the automatic transmission control unit or sensors.

Up Arrow

Indicates the need to change gear to a higher one.

CVT Lettering

CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) error.

Lettering 2nd STRT

Some vehicles with automatic transmissions have a 2nd gear start-off function that helps you get started in difficult conditions (icy conditions). When this light comes on, the system is activated.

Boot in A Circle with Brackets

An indicator that is placed on cars with automatic transmission. Reminds you to depress the brake pedal before shifting into gear.

Car Icon with Wrench

This may indicate problems with the engine, transmission, or immobilizer. Specifically, what does this light bulb mean in your car, see the manual for its operation?

PWR Inscription

This light is on when the “Power” mode is activated in a car with an automatic transmission. In this mode, the upshift occurs at a higher RPM than usual in order to get maximum power.

Lettering O/D Off or OverDrive Off

This light indicates that the OverDrive system has been disabled. Available only on cars with automatic transmission, when this system is turned off, the car will not shift up to a higher gear to save fuel. If there is an OverDrive system, there should also be a button to turn it off.

Other Errors on the Instrument Panel

Here we have some general errors.

Waves in a Circle and Brackets on Both Sides

The indicator indicates a low level of brake fluid.

Steering Wheel with Exclamation Mark

Problems with the power steering system.

Yellow Exclamation Point in A Circle with Brackets

The problem with the brake force distribution system (Electronic brakeforce distribution, EBD). This is a more advanced system than ABS and it works all the time, not just during emergency braking.

Yellow Circle with Broken Brackets

Pad wear indicator. The information comes from consumable sensors, which are gradually erased along with the pads until the electrical circuit breaks – at this moment such a light comes on. You need to replace the pads or check the sensors.

Lightning In A Circle with Brackets

The system has detected a problem with the electric parking brake.

Tire Pressure Indicator

Such bulbs can be placed on the dashboard of cars with tire pressure sensors. Low pressure is reported (pressure drop of more than 25% nominal).

Exhaust Icon

The maximum allowable level of exhaust emissions has been found.

Exhaust Water Icons

The sensors detected the presence of water in the fuel. High levels of water in the fuel can damage the injectors or the engine. Also, these errors may indicate the need to service the fuel cleaning system.

The letter “i” In A Circle

An informational message may also remind you of some other error.

Book with the letter “i”

We recommend that you read the owner’s manual of the car,

Helpful Tips

Once one red or yellow light comes on, don’t wait for the others to come on, as the longer you delay visiting the workshop, the greater the risk of an even more serious breakdown of the car, which in turn can lead to very unpleasant consequences.

Try to carry out regular technical inspections, which will help to avoid unexpected malfunctions. Always pay attention to the dashboard icons, and you will be aware of the operation of all vehicle systems.

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About Sadir

Blogging is my passion, and I am always curious about technological happenings. Passionate to explore new ideas of better living and share experiences in sounding words.


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