Modern day cars come with more features and electronics than ever before. Engine management systems have also advanced with time and manufacturers now give enough warning lights in the speedometer console to let an owner know about a possible problem with the car.
These warning icons and symbols can be confusing and though it is best to refer to your car’s owner manual for the exact definition of each, we decided to come up with simple descriptions of some of the most common warning lights seen in almost all cars.
Do note that not all of these lights will be present in the car you own.
1. Door Open Warning Light
This icon comes on when one or more doors of the car are not shut properly. Some cars will also show the exact door that needs to be checked again.
2. Oil Pressure Warning Light
This light indicates loss of oil pressure in the engine. Avoid driving the car too long under such circumstance.
3. Washer Fluid Reminder
This icon comes on when the wiper fluid levels becomes low. This icon is usually present in premium cars only.
4. Service Reminder Light
Most cars now come with this helpful icon which comes on when a scheduled maintenance is due. Once you give your car for service, the technician will reset it.
5. ABS Light
This comes on when there is a malfunction in the ABS (anti-lock braking) system of the car. Regular braking is not affected by this.
6. Cruise Control Light
This light comes on when you activate the cruise control function in your car.
7. Automatic Shift Lock
Automatic cars require you to press the brake while shifting into a gear from neutral. Most such cars will display this icon in case you try to shift gears (from neutral) without pressing the brake pedal.
8. Hand Brake Icon
When you pull the hand brake, this icon appears on the console. If this light remains ON even after releasing the hand brake, then it indicates a malfunction in the braking system, including a possible low brake oil level.
9. Traction Control Icon
Cars that come equipped with traction control have the option to deactivate the same. When you do so, this icon appears on the console.
10. Fog Lamp Icon
When you switch on the fog lamps, this icon appears on the speedometer console
11. Engine Warning Light
This warning light appears when there is a malfunction with the engine’s management system. A diagnostic tool is required to check this problem and reset the light.
12. Power Steering Malfunction
The most common cause for this icon is low oil level in the power steering fluid reservoir. If topping the fluid does not help, you will need to show the car at an authorized center.
13. TPMS Icon
Some cars come with TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system). This icon appears when either there is low pressure in one of the tyres or a malfunction in the TPMS system.
14. Security Alert
Most car keys now come with an internal chip to prevent car thefts. This icon will appear if there is a fault while reading the chip embedded in the key. In this case, the car will not start until unless the system recognizes the key properly.
15. Airbag Icon
If this icon does not go after starting the car, it means there is a malfunction with the Airbag system of the car. This can only be corrected by visiting an authorized center.
16. Seat Belt Warning
This is probably the most common icon that we see in the speedometer console. It comes on when you are not belted up while driving the car.
17. Battery Alert
This icon will appear when the voltage level is below normal. It could be because of a faulty alternator, low battery levels or loose terminals.
If you own a premium or a luxury car, chances are, there will be more icons that could come up in the display area. It is best to refer to the owner’s manual of your car to understand the meaning of each warning light properly. It is advisable to keep the owner’s manual handy while heading out on long drives. As India’s largest buyer of used cars, we at CARS24 come across various car models every day and each has its own set of such warning lights in the speedometer console.
Want to tell us about more warning lights? Do share in the comments section below! And to know more such cool tips and tricks about cars, head over to our ‘car maintenance’ section.