For some, it is easy to figure out what the symbol means and what action to take next. But many are unclear on what they’re seeing.
According to a survey by Goodyear Auto Service and Just Tires, young drivers are not as familiar with dashboard symbolsas they are with emojis. The survey concluded that 88 percent of young adults could identify an emoji, compared to 51 percent of young adults who can identify a vehicle warning sign.
These symbols, often called “idiot lights” (think warning signs for dummies) are aimed at being easy to understand. But for many drivers, young and old alike, it’s not that easy.
Here are 10 dashboard symbols and meanings, according to AutoZone.
The symbol indicates that the anti-lock brake computer set a code and needs professional diagnosis.
This symbol is for diesel vehicles only and means that the engines glow are warming up and the driver should not start the engine until the light is off.
Fog lights are illuminated when this symbol is activated.
The brake system icon indicates one of three potential issues — parking brake is on, problem with braking system or fluid is low, or ABS problems.
When the car doors are open, this icon will make sure the driver is aware. Leaving door open overnight can drain the battery.
Washer fluid reminder
This symbol indicates that washer fluid is low. Fill washer fluid reservoir in the hood of the vehicle. A cap to refill the reservoir should have the symbol.
Tire pressure monitoring system
Drivers should check the pressure in their tires or manipulation of tire sensors when this icon is activated. Some vehicles may allow the operator to manually reset the warning light, while others may require service.
This symbol indicates that cruise control is set while driving.
This icon indicates that the voltage level is below normal level and the vehicle’s charging system is not functioning properly. Auto Zone advises to check battery terminals, alternator belt and battery condition.
Engine cooling system
An engine cooling system, or coolant temperature warning, light will appear if the temperature exceeds normal limits. Check fan operation, radiator cap, coolant leaks and coolant level.
When lights come on, it generally is best to have the issue checked out. A warning light doesn’t always mean the worst — sometimes it could be a faulty wire or a bad sensor.
But there’s no sense in taking chances.