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Car Dashboard Symbols and Meanings: A Complete Guide

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Last Updated On :
  • 31/08/2023

Knowing your car and its different parts is one thing; however, various indicators on the car’s dashboard show you the health and status of your car. For example, you will know when you are about to run out of fuel or if the car’s battery needs to be charged.

Let us look at this guide to get a clear understanding of the most common car dashboard signs meaning and how to respond to them. So buckle up, and let's get started!

Car Dashboard Symbols and their Meaning

Your car's dashboard lights are essential indicators of its condition. Knowing what they mean can help prevent damage to your vehicle and avoid accidents.

Typically, red lights are warning signs and should be checked immediately, while yellow/orange lights indicate a potential issue. On the other hand, green/blue lights show that the system is in good working condition or that the fuel tank is full.

The car dashboard signs light up when you start your car. However, if there is an issue with your four-wheeler, the lights will turn red and start blinking until you stop the car and find a solution.

Important Car Indicator Symbols

Given below are some of the standard car display symbols and their descriptions:

Engine Indicator

This indicates there’s a problem with the engine or emissions control system. If this light stays on, it's best to check the car as soon as possible.

  • It could be some issue with your engine’s electrical system or engine management system.

  • Or it may be a faulty engine sensor, any other damaged part in your engine, the emissions control system, or an incorrectly fitted air flow sensor.

  • An open fuel cap can also trigger the warning sign, as there may be air in the fuel system.

ABS Lights

The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is a protective indicator that prevents the wheels of a vehicle from locking up when the brakes are applied.

  • Once the vehicle’s ignition is turned on, see whether the ABS light is on for a second as the system conducts diagnostics.

  • Once the self-check is done, the light should turn off automatically.

  • If it doesn’t light up, the bulb might have burnt out. You should have a professional look into it.

  • If the ABS light doesn’t turn off or is on again while driving, you need to check out what’s causing the alert. Considering it is a safety feature, it won't be wise to drive a vehicle with a faulty ABS.

Airbag Warning Sign

The airbag warning sign or SRS, i.e., supplemental restraint system, indicates a problem with the airbag system.

  • In most cars, the sign SRS indicates the issue, while others use an airbag figure.

  • The causes of SRS or airbag warning sign is as follows —

  • A fault in the seat belt latch

Corrosion issue

An issue with the clockspring, i.e., an electrical connector that is located inside the steering wheel

  • Retain SRS computer battery backup

  • Fault in SRS computer

Oil Pressure Indicator

The oil pressure light indicates the oil pressure in the vehicle is too low or too high. This is a bad sign indicating the future possibility of wrecking your engine.

The causes of the oil pressure indicator sign are as follows-

  • Low engine oil

  • There is a fault in the oil pressure sensor

  • There is an issue/problem with the oil pressure sensor wiring

  • There is a fault in the oil pump

  • Clogging in oil pickup tube or filter

  • There is a fault in the instrument cluster of your car

  • There is an internal oil leak

  • Wear and tear of engine parts

Battery Charge Indicator

The battery charge indicator light on your car's dashboard lets you know whether your car's battery is being charged. The battery is charged by the alternator, which is powered by a belt connected to the engine.

Every time you start your car, the battery loses some of its charging, and the alternator works to recharge it. However, if the battery charge indicator stays on even after you start the car, it may be a sign of a problem. Some common causes of this include problems with:

  • the auxiliary drive belt

  • the alternator

  • the alternator to cluster wire connection

  • the cluster wire

  • the battery

  • the battery terminals

  • the engine earth straps

  • a broken alternator pulley.

It's essential to address any issues with the battery charge indicator as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your car's battery or alternator.

Tire Pressure Indicator

The tire pressure indicator warns you about problems with your tire pressure monitoring system. This can happen if there's an issue with the tire pressure sensor. The indicator will turn on if your tire pressure is too low or too high. The reasons why the tire pressure indicators blink are:

  • An issue with the tire pressure monitoring system

  • Loss of memory in the tire pressure sensor

  • The wheels need to be changed

  • Low tire pressure

Traction Control Issues

Traction control helps to control your wheels by reducing power and applying brakes to manage your car’s stability. For example, suppose you're driving your car on slippery ground with traction on your wheels. When you pull your break in sensing an accident, your power will be reduced slowly, ensuring you have more grip & control on the wheel.

  • The causes of the tire pressure sign are as follows-

  • an issue with the ABS speed sensor

  • issues with ABS ring

  • a problem with the throttle body

  • a problem with the brake pedals

  • a problem with the steering angle sensor

  • a problem with ABS wiring

It is important to ensure that your car is in proper condition to perform well and keep you safe from accidents and mishaps. However, to secure another layer of protection for your car and yourself, you can purchase a car insurance policy from Tata AIG!

Choose from a range of comprehensive four-wheeler insurance plans, compare car insurance plans online and enhance your car insurance policy with our add-ons to ensure that the smallest risks and events that can cause damage to your car are covered under the policy.


The above details of a car’s dashboard signs and names should come to your mind if you see the lights blinking on your dashboard. This is helpful because, in a moment of panic, you should not lose your focus on the road or impulsively hit your brakes; instead, simply find a quiet and safe place to park your car soon and look into the potential problem.

Understanding your car’s dashboard signs meaning does not take much time once you learn how to drive. And the more you use your car, the better acquainted you get with the dashboard symbols in your car.

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