This truck dashboard symbols and meanings guide will assist you in understanding what your car is telling you. Most drivers don’t know the meaning of all the symbols and warning lights that appear on their dashboard, and some choose to ignore these lights until things get worse.
It would be best to get your car to a professional as soon as a problem arises, and you can do this by paying attention to the dashboard lights. You don’t have to wait that long anymore because we have provided a comprehensive list of all the dashboard symbols and their meanings in this beginner’s guide!
- 1 Overview of Standard Truck Dashboard Symbols
- 1.1 Check Engine Light
- 1.2 Temperature Warning Light
- 1.3 Battery Light
- 1.4 Oil Pressure Warning
- 1.5 Airbag Warning Light
- 1.6 ABS Warning Light
- 1.7 Brake System Warning Light
- 1.8 Safety Belt Reminder Light
- 1.9 Gas Cap Warning Light
- 1.10 Tire Pressure Monitoring System
- 1.11 More Dashboard Warning Lights
- 1.12 Electric and Hybrid Dashboard Symbols
- 1.13 Understanding Truck Dashboard Symbols and Their Colors
- 2 Conclusion
Overview of Standard Truck Dashboard Symbols
If you check your dashboard, you’ll see that there are many symbols with different colors. The most common ones are the coolant warning lights, check engine warning lights, brake warning lights, and ABS warning lights, and they all have different meanings.
- Coolant warning lights turn on when the level of coolant in your truck is low. This means you should add more coolant to avoid further issues.
- Check engine warning lights come on when there’s a fault in your engine. This could be a simple issue like a loose gas cap or a more complex issue. Regardless, it’s a symbol you shouldn’t overlook.
- Brake warning lights illuminate when your brake system malfunctions.
- ABS warning lights represent the anti-lock brake system, and when it comes on, it shows that the truck’s brake has an issue.
These are not the only dashboard symbols you should know. Let us find out more about the other symbols you should know.
Check Engine Light
This light looks like a yellow submarine, and it’s a light you might have already noticed on your dashboard. As mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t overlook this light because, in many cases, it indicates a problem in how your engine runs or even an emissions problem.
In some trucks, especially newer models, you’ll find the word check close to the symbol. The symbol is not present in older trucks, and you’ll only find the text “Service Engine Soon” or “Check Engine.” For most vehicles, this light will come on when you ignite the engine. However, the light shouldn’t stay on for long, as this could mean that there’s an issue that should be checked.
Another thing to look out for is if the light starts to blink or flash. This is an indication that your engine is misfiring. Irrespective of what you observe with the check light, it’s important to know what to do. The best thing to do is to take the vehicle for servicing at a mechanic’s workshop.
If you notice the light starts to blink when driving, you should drive at a moderate speed until you get to your mechanic. Driving with the check engine light on is highly dangerous, and this can cause serious damage to your vehicle.
Temperature Warning Light
The light looks like a key submerged in water or a pirate ship, and it’s an indication that your engine is either overheating or close to that point.
This light may not be present in some vehicles, and the only thing you’ll find is a temperature gauge with the highest end represented by a red section. You know your vehicle is overheating when the indicator approaches the red section.
The battery light looks like a winking robot, and it’s an indication that there isn’t sufficient power in the charging system of your vehicle. This can lead to different electrical issues with your engine, lights, braking, and power steering. It’s also an indication of a problem with your alternator or even the battery itself.
Don’t hesitate to take your vehicle for servicing immediately after you notice this light. You might also want to consider getting a replacement for your battery or alternator.
Oil Pressure Warning
This warning light looks like a Neti pot or a magic genie lamp, and it indicates a decline in your oil pressure, which implies a loss of lubrication. Stop driving immediately after you notice this light, and check your oil pressure and level to be sure it’s not low. Take the vehicle to a professional mechanic if the oil pressure light doesn’t turn off.
Airbag Warning Light
The light looks like a meteor that is heading toward you, and the airbag indicator is also called supplemental restraint system. When it comes on, it means there’s an issue with your airbag system and you should take it for servicing immediately.
The key things to look out for are when the airbag light stays illuminated, continuous flashing, or doesn’t illuminate at all when you turn on the engine.
ABS Warning Light
ABS stands for the antilock brake system, and it helps in regulating the pressure of your brake so that the wheels don’t lock when you apply the brake. If there’s a malfunction in this system, it can cause the wheels to lock up, which is dangerous.
You’ll need to get a professional diagnostic session if the light doesn’t turn off. In some vehicles, you’ll find the text “ABS” or “Antilock,” and this can be orange, yellow, or red, depending on your vehicle model.
Brake System Warning Light
The brake warning light looks like a nearby Pokémon gym, and when its light illuminates, it means there’s a fault in your brakes. Some vehicles have a light with the text “Brake,” which illuminates when you turn to apply the parking brake when the brake system needs professional inspection or when the fluid is low.
The first thing to do when you notice the light is to check the brake fluid. If the light doesn’t turn off after you top the fluid and release the parking brake, you should get your vehicle inspected immediately. In some cases, you might notice both the brake light and ABS light come on simultaneously. This indicates more serious issues with your brake, and you should see a mechanic immediately.
Safety Belt Reminder Light
The safety belt reminder light looks like a person wearing a bandolier, and the light is usually accompanied by a beeping or chiming sound. This light is simply a reminder that you should fasten your seat belts. The light might persist if there’s a significant weight on the belts, and you can resolve this by removing the weight.
Gas Cap Warning Light
The light looks like there’s a big screw stuck in your vehicle, and it comes on when your gas/fuel cap is not properly fastened. In some vehicles, the text “Check Gas Cap” is included on the dashboard. The cap helps in preventing fuel from evaporating and also in keeping it safe from dust and rain.
If you notice this light when driving, simply pull over and tighten the cap. Visit a professional mechanic if the light persists even after you tighten the cap.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
The light looks like a boiling cauldron, and it only comes on when the pressure in one or more of your tires is low. It can be a yellow or red light, and it’s one you should look out for. Check the pressures of your tire immediately after you notice the light because driving with low pressure is dangerous.
More Dashboard Warning Lights
The list of dashboard warning lights is not restricted to the ones we have listed above. Those are only the common ones every beginner should know, and there are many other lights you’ll notice on your dashboard. It’s equally important to know what they mean.
Here’s a quick rundown of more dashboard lights not mentioned above:
- Low fuel light, which turns on when your fuel level goes lower than 1/6th or 1/8th of the tank’s capacity.
- Service reminder light is an indication that you have covered enough miles and your oil service is due.
- Transmission problem light is a serious one and indicates issues with your transmission system. Visit a mechanic immediately after you notice this light.
- A/T oil temp light ignites when your transmission overheats. Allow your vehicle to cool off before you continue driving, or get it towed to a mechanic.
- Transmission temperature is an alternative to the A/T oil temp light, and it’s also an indication of issues in your transmission system.
- Power steering light looks like a steering wheel with an exclamation point, and the light illuminates when the level of the power steering fluid is low.
- Hazard lights which shouldn’t be on when you’re driving through traffic. It’s a reminder that you should turn off the light.
- Open hood, open trunk, and open doors, as the name suggests, come on when you are driving with an open door, hood, or trunk.
- Key missing symbol is common in vehicles with keyless start and entry, and it’s a reminder that you should keep the FOB close to the ignition.
- Air suspension light illuminates when there’s an issue with your air suspension system.
- Catalytic converter light illuminates when your catalytic converter is clogged, and this can lead to gas buildup in your exhaust system.
- All-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles also have their own symbols and lights, depending on the wheels you use when driving. The common symbols are 4×2 mode,4WD mode, 4×4 auto mode, 4×4 low mode, center differential lock, rear differential lock, and 4×4 high mode.
There are so many dashboard symbols, and as a beginner, knowing the lights we have mentioned above is a great way to get started in knowing these lights. Electric and hybrid vehicles also have their unique dashboard symbols and lights.
Electric and Hybrid Dashboard Symbols
Here’s a quick overview of the dashboard symbols you’ll find in electric and hybrid vehicles:
- Regenerative brake problem light, which comes on when the brake system doesn’t create sufficient power to charge the batteries, is important to take note of.
- Charging indicator comes on when the vehicle is still connected to a power source.
- Limited power indicator comes on to notify you that your vehicle is running out of charge and you’ll need to stop at the nearest charging station.
- Charging indicator comes on when your battery power is low.
Understanding Truck Dashboard Symbols and Their Colors
Dashboard symbols mostly have different colors, and having a general understanding of what each color means is a great way to determine their functions. These symbols and colors are usually presented in the user manual of your truck, but
here is a list of these colors in case you don’t have yours anymore:
- Blue: Represents an information center
- Red: Indicates systems that require urgent attention
- Green: Shows that a system is functioning properly
- Yellow: Represents systems that need monitoring
Before knowing the meaning of each dashboard symbol, it’s vital that you know these colors. That way, you can know when a system is working properly or not.
Dashboard symbols are also grouped into different categories depending on their colors. Basically, the red symbols show that your vehicle needs urgent attention, the yellow symbols show that you should monitor your truck, the blue is for the information center, and
the green shows that everything is functioning properly.
- Dashboard symbols used to only be a few warnings for electrical problems, coolant, or oil, but they’ve gone beyond that today.
- These symbols can vary, and it mostly depends on the vehicle you drive and your country of origin.
- The most common dashboard symbols to know are the coolant lights, check engine lights, brake lights, and ABS lights.
- Knowing what each of these symbols represents is a great way to identify issues in your vehicle.
There are so many dashboard lights, and depending on your truck, it’s important to know these lights, which is why we have highlighted most of them in this comprehensive beginner’s guide.
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