Do You Actually Know What All of These Dashboard Symbols Mean?

By: Kennita Leon
Image: Youtube by Tutoriale AUTO

About This Quiz

As we're sure you already know, the dashboard is the control panel in a vehicle that is located just behind the steering wheel. It displays the controls necessary for a vehicle's smooth running and operation.

Now, you may also know that not all vehicles have the same dashboard. The differentiating factors are the age of the vehicle, whether it takes gas or diesel, how many features the vehicle has and whether it's energy efficient. Despite this, there are always a few that all vehicles have, such as low fuel, brake warnings and service required. If you want to prove your auto knowledge, do it by taking this dashboard symbols quiz. 

Back in the day, all dashboards needed to show were oil pressure and the speed and fuel levels. The word "dashboard" was first used not to describe a car, but a wooden barrier in a horse-drawn carriage. They've come a long way, and now show an array of things not limited to a tachometer, turn indicators and other basics. At the very least, you should know that anything flashing red means bad stuff, but we're going to test you beyond that!

So if you think you've got what it takes to ace this quiz, give it a go and display what you've got! 

The seatbelt light is sometimes accompanied by a repetitive chime to remind the driver and occupants to buckle up.

Also known as the "charging alert," this light is an indication that the vehicle's car battery voltage is lower than normal. A decrease in charge can result in the vehicle quickly losing all electrical power.

This lesser -known symbol on the dashboard indicates that water or another contaminant may be in your fuel. Diesel engines are equipped with fuel filters which separate water from fuel. This light may signify a need to change this filter.

This aids in stability and traction. When a loss of control is detected, steering and braking are taken over from the driver. If this feature is shown as "off," it could be that the driver has pressed the button to deactivate the feature. If this is not the case, then there could be a problem with the function itself.

This light can either come in the form of a little thermometer image or words such as "temp" or "engine overheating." Whatever its form, it is one of the most significant lights. This is an indication that your coolant level is either inadequate or that the water/coolant ratio is off.

This feature tells drivers that the engine either has a problem or needs to be serviced. It should be checked immediately, as problems can arise. You can either take your car into your mechanic or check the error yourself with an OBD2 code reader.

In addition to being able to respond to rain, some vehicles are also equipped with the ability to manipulate headlights and wipers in response to the sun and rain. If this light comes up on your dash, it indicates that there is a problem with the automated system, but changes can still be made manually.

This bright red light on your dashboard is definitely not one to be ignored. Seeing it can mean that key bearings and friction surfaces are not being properly lubricated. If it appears while you are driving, pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and investigate the cause.

Regardless of the cause, if this light comes on, then it means that your airbag won't deploy should it ever be needed.

Modern cars have even more illuminated areas than before, from the license plate to tail lights; this symbols showing up means that you need to begin a search for the bulb that isn't getting enough voltage.

These are wavy lines that intercept straight ones and face the right. They indicate light is passing through a fog and only shows up when your front fog lights are on.

As if driving a modern vehicle was not already fun; this little dashboard necessity lets us know that traffic is backed up and that it will serve as an assistant.

Just as the name suggests, this function tells when there is an obstruction and tells which side it is on. It is a huge addition to the "mirrors, signal, blind spot" mantra that we all learned as driving students.

This feature helps motorists to be more alert to what or who is on the road with them when it is dark.

No one likes being dazzled by an oncoming vehicle; this safety feature helps to adjust the angle of headlights as one moves through various terrains and roadways.

This feature is the cure for tailgating, as it informs the driver when they are too close to the vehicle in front of them. It also gives notice of stationary objects within the automobile's path.

Driving a diesel vehicle means that there is a lot of soot and other waste matter being created, and these can cause respiratory illnesses. Should this warning light come on, it could mean that the filter is blocked. The good news is that this is fixed by simply driving consistently over 40 mph for about 10 minutes.

Do not be the person who fails to signal a turn! These germane little arrows show in which direction you have opted to turn. We have all signaled left when we meant right or vice versa, and these arrows help to swiftly correct that.

This red or orange light tells that the emergency brake is engaged. If this light appears with a wrench beneath it, then attention from an auto mechanic is necessary.

Connected to the door switches, this light tells when a door is open, and in some vehicles, it even indicates which door.

This setting is like the autopilot of the vehicle. You choose a speed to drive at, and once cruise control is activated, that speed is maintained until you brake. The symbol simply means that it is activated.

This usually is present in green on the dash to let you know that it is activated. Once in action, the system will assess the area around the vehicle to assist smoother and quicker parking. If the symbol is amber or flashing, then a fault with the system has been detected and will be deactivated until rectified.

This light's function serves to tell you that the fluid used to clean your windscreen is running low and needs to be refilled.

If the hill decent control light is on, then you know that your vehicle's ABS is monitoring the speed at which your vehicle goes downhill and is automatically applying the brakes as needed.

This button, which is identified as a rectangle with curved arrows running through it, activates a light on your dash to let you know when air from the vehicle's vent is being redirected to the back windows to remove the fog that has accumulated on them.

One of the best safety functions is this little monitor that lets the driver know when they are veering off of their lane. The system monitors the road markings and the vehicle's position in relation to them and alerts the driver once they are moving too far away from them.

If this red light comes on and remains on, it means that there is an issue with the braking system. It most commonly means that brakes need to be serviced soon or it can be a more urgent issue. If the light is flashing, it could mean that brake fluid levels are running low.

The future is here with wipers that know when to come on and just how fast to swish around. This light means that the setting is activated.

This monitors the pressure of tires and informs the driver when one — or any or all — of them have fallen below par.

This is a safety feature that lets users know that the rear storage compartment of the vehicle is not properly closed.

You can't cruise if you don't have the juice! This reminder tells you the level of your fuel tank and may even have an alarm which tells you when you are running dangerously low.

Another aid to driving safety is the Anti-lock Brake (ABS) system. This allows the driver to apply maximum brakes while also steering — for instance, when swerving to avoid a possible collision with a person. If the ABS warning shows up, this needs to be checked immediately.

This light shows up as amber at a certain atmospheric temperature and then becomes red as it gets cooler. This warns the driver of the possibility of icy roads.

Also known as the Automatic Speed Limiter (ASL), this pops up as a green light and comes on when this setting is engaged. It utilizes the cruise control settings to maintain a particular speed limit which is usually also displayed.

Yet another awesome reminder for servicing; this feature lets you know when your brake pads and discs have put in their time and need to be replaced.

With motor vehicular theft becoming more common, manufacturers have drivers covered with this feature. It is activated whenever someone attempts to shift the wheel without the key in the ignition.

If one drives a hybrid vehicle, this is equivalent to the "check engine" light. It is more than likely a problem that involves any of the parts responsible for mobility.

This isn't the most helpful of lights, but it is one of the most feared. It tells you that something isn't working properly, motor-wise, and you should get to a professional sooner than later.

Usually attached to the windscreen, these sensors are able to detect rain and sun as well as a decrease in visibility and make changes, such as turning the headlights on or off. Should there be an issue with this function, the symbol will be illuminated on the dashboard.

This nifty little feature reminds modern car drivers to have their vehicles checked. With the age of increasing information to retain, one can easily miss the next scheduled vehicle servicing, but fear not; technology always has the solution!

This tells drivers of automatic vehicles that they need to press the brake pedal to shift out of "park."

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