Flashing rectangles on the navigation system? Vibrating steering wheels? Abrupt warning sounds? It’s enough to drive a driver into making a mistake or it can save their life. And then there are those icons.
Less invasive and also simultaneously helpful and confusing, warning icons can also abruptly appear on your car or truck’s dashboard without, well . . . warning.
Some of the icons are commonplace, others are more difficult to decipher.
MotorTrend.com, the online version of automobile magazine dating to 1949, has accepted the task in long form of explaining in alphabetical order 10 icons that can appear on your vehicle. What they mean? How serious are their arrival? Here are abbreviate explanations.
ABS Sensor Warning Light
The ABS warning light signals an issue with the anti-lock brake system. It’s likely if you stop too hard with this light on, your car’s brakes may lock up, which could make it a struggle to come to a full stop. It’s best to take your car for servicing as soon as possible.
Airbag Warning Light
All cars and trucks are federally mandated to have airbags. If an airbag warning light appears, it can mean an issue with the sensors that detect crashes and deploy airbags in an accident. Service is recommended if the light consistently appears.
If a small red battery icon appears on the dash, it indicates only the battery is powering the car and the battery will eventually drain because the alternator isn’t charging the battery. A jumpstart or a new battery alternator may soon be required.
Brake System Warning Light
An exclamation mark with a circle around appearing on your vehicle’s dash means the brakes are problematic, components to the hydraulic fluid. Stop the car and call a tow truck.
Check Engine Light
If the check engine light illuminates, a sensor has identified a problem. It could a faulty spark plug, an issue with the intake manifold or low compression. Servicing is needed.
Coolant Level Warning Light
If a small little thermometer icon pops up on the dashboard, your vehicle is likely overheating. Stop the car or trucks as soon as it’s in a safe location and let the engine cool down. The coolant reservoir should be checked. If the engine doesn’t cool down or there’s smoke, a fire could be imminent. Service is required quickly.
Engine Oil Warning Light
If a light appears that’s shaped like a gravy boat, your vehicle has an engine oil pressure problem. Without the proper oil pressure, the engine can’t be properly lubricated and major mechanical problems can occur, like a sized engine. Service the vehicle in the engine oil warning light engages.
The fog light symbol looks like the one used for the regular headlights, albeit with a squiggly line in front of it instead of three lines that look like beams. Not all cars come equipped with fog lights. Get the vehicle’s foglight checked.
Low Tire Pressure
A little exclamation point inside of a half-circle merely means one of the vehicle’s tire pressure is low. Instead, find a safe place to stop and inspect your tires and proceed to the nearest gas station to check if the tires are properly inflated according to manufacturer’s specifications.
Traction or Stability Control Light
If an icon of an old sedan followed by some squiggly lines on the road behind it appears on the dashboard, the stability control system is either partially or fully off or it has failed. Make sure the system works satisfactorily or replace it.