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  • Derek Kennedy

Ever wondered what all these symbols mean?

Check out our no-nonsense-guide to the most common dashboard symbols, what they mean and when to stop driving immediately.

When something goes wrong with your car or if a feature you should know about gets activated, a signal is sent through your car's electrical system and into the dashboard. This illuminates a symbol, and these cover a wide range of issues - some of which may be serious. Here are the meanings behind the 9 most common symbols that could appear.


Your dashboard may be different and the symbols may have altered designs or indicate slightly different things, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual. Some of these lights could indicate a serious malfunction - so don't ignore them. When in doubt, have a professional check it out.

This symbol means there is an issue with your anti-lock braking system. It will need to be diagnosed and fixed. If this light is on, it means your car's ABS won't function as it should.


This symbol refers to your car's traction control system. If it appears on your dashboard and stays on, this indicates there is a problem with this system. This will need to be diagnosed and fixed.


This symbol means the pressure in one or more of your tyres is too low and needs to be attended to. You may have a flat tyre - stop driving and check your tyres before deciding next steps.


This symbol means there is no oil pressure in your car's engine. This could be due to no oil in the system or a problem with the oil pressure system. Stop your engine immediately as you may cause major engine damage if you continue driving. Seek towing assistance.



This symbol indicates that your coolant level is low. Coolant may need to be topped up or you may have a leak. This needs to be addressed immediately as damage to the engine can occur if there is a lack of coolant in the engine. Seek towing assistance.


There may be an issue with one or more of your car's airbags, or the airbag system in general. If this light is on, it means your airbags may not work in the event of an impact.


This symbol indicates the temperature of the coolant in your engine is too high. This could be due to a coolant leak. This needs to be addressed immediately as engine damage will occur if you continue to drive. Seek towing assistance.


This symbol indicates there is a problem with your car's engine management system. It will need to be diagnosed and fixed by a professional.


The car's charging system is short of power. You are running solely on battery. This will need to be diagnosed and fixed.

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