Do-it-yourself auto repair

Dashboard markings

Every year, the vehicle producers install the newest car systems, as well as functions with individual dashboard indicators and signs, reading them may be pretty hard. Moreover, function or system in vehicles from different manufacturers may have indicator that is not similar to the indicator of another brand.

In this article, we provide a list of dashboard displays that are used to alert the driver. It is not difficult to guess that the green display indicator reports on the work of one system or another. Yellow or red ones usually warn of the problem.

So let’s consider all the marks (lights) of the dashboard:

Warning Indicators

Handbrake is applied, there might be a low brake fluid level, as well as there is a possibility of the brake system malfunction.

 

Red color means cooling system overheat, blue means reduced temperature. Flashing indicator is a fault in the electrical parts of the cooling system.

 

Engine oil pressure (Oil Pressure) is decreased. It also means a low oil level.

 

Engine Oil Sensor. Oil level fell below the permissible value.

 

The vehicle network voltage is dropped, or charging system warning, as well as there may be a other failures in the electrical system. MAIN word is actually a Hybrid Battery Trouble Indicator.

 

Indicators that provide information about faults and relate to security systems

The warning signal for the driver in case of emergency situation (a sharp drop in oil pressure or open door, etc.), it is usually accompanied by an explanatory text message in the dashboard display.

 

Fault of the Electronic Stability Control.

 

Faults of Supplemental Restraint System — SRS.

 

Indicator notifies that airbag is side off in front of the passenger.

 

Indicator for passenger airbag, this indicator will turn off automatically if adult seats on that seat and AIRBAG OFF indicator reports on fault in the system.

 

Roll Sensing Curtain Airbags (RSCA) System is not working, those airbags trigger in vehicle rollover. Such kinds of vehicles are equipped with this system. The reason for shutting down the system could be driving off-roads, big body roll can trigger activation of the sensor system.

 

Failure of Pre Collision or Crash System (PCS).

 

Activation indicator of engine immobilizer or anti-theft system.

 

Warns of anti-theft system fault or failure in its work.

 

Failure or overheat of automatic transmission, or other parts of the transmission.

 

See description of this fault in your Car Manual.

 

It occurs most often on sports cars and indicates that there is a fault in one of the transmission components. Another reason may be overheating. There is a danger that the vehicle will become unmanageable.

 

The temperature in the automatic transmission has exceeded allowable temperature. Driving on is not recommended as long as the automatic transmission is cooled.

 

Electrical fault in the automatic transmission (AT). Driving on is not recommended.

 

Indicator for parking mode of the automatic transmission (A / T Park — P), at position “P” “parking" is often installed on vehicles equipped with four-wheel drive and have low range of transfer case. Automatic transmission is blocked when the four-wheel drive mode selector is in position (N).

 

Shift Up Indicator is a light signaling the need to shift to a higher gear for maximum fuel economy.

 

Fault of electric or power steering.

 

Handbrake is activated.

 

The brake fluid level drops below permissible value.

 

Fault in the ABS (Antilock Braking System) or this system is switched off intentionally.

 

Brake pad wear has reached maximum level.

 

Brake force distribution is faulty.

 

Failure of the electric handbrake.

 

With the ignition informs about the need to press the brake pedal to unlock the automatic transmission shifter.

 

Caution about the air pressure drop of more than 25% from the nominal value in one or several wheels.

 

When the motor is running, it warns of the need of engine diagnosis, as well as its systems. This may be accompanied by disabling some vehicle systems as long as the fault is solved. When a fault is detected in the motor, Electronic Power Control system (EPC) will reduce the fuel supply.

 

Green indicator of Start-Stop system says that engine is off and the yellow one means fault in the system.

 

Engine power reducing for any reason. Engine stop and restart in about 10 seconds can solve the problem.

 

Failure of the transmission electronic parts, or engine. This may inform the fault of injection system or engine immobilizer.

 

Dirty or faulty oxygen sensor (lambda probe). Driving on is not recommended, since this sensor has a direct impact on the injection system operation.

 

Overheating or failure of the catalytic converter. This is usually accompanied by a decrease in engine power.

 

You need to check the fuel lid.

 

Informs the driver of another indicator is light on or a new message on the dashboard display. This signals the need to perform some service functions.

 

Reports that the driver should refer to the Car Instruction Manual to decrypt the message appeared on the dashboard display.

 

In the engine cooling system, the coolant level is too low.

 

Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) is out of order.

 

Blind Spot Monitor is disconnected or failed (Blind Spot — BSM).

 

It’s time for routine vehicle maintenance, oil change, etc. In some vehicles, the first indicator shows the presence of more serious problems.

 

Air filter of engine intake system is dirty, replacement is needed.

 

Night View System fault has occurred / infrared sensors burned out.

 

Overdrive (O / D) is shut off in the automatic transmission.

 

Assist systems in critical situations and stabilization

Indicators of Traction and Active Traction Control, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), or Traction Control System (TCS): the green informs that the system is working at the moment; yellow — the system is off or it is failed. Since it is linked to the brake system and the fuel system, the malfunction in these systems may cause its shut off.

 

Brake Assist System (BAS) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP) are interrelated. This indicator informs about the problems in one of them.

 

Failure of Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS).

 

Indicators of ascent / descent system, the constant velocity system, and taking-off system.

 

Stability Control is disabled. Also, it is automatically deactivated when Check Engine indicator is lit. Each manufacturer gives the Stability Control different definitions: Automatic Stability Control (ASC), AdvanceTrac, Dynamic Stability and Traction Control (DSTC), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Interactive Vehicle Dynamics (IVD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), StabiliTrak, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Precision Control System (PCS), Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), Vehicle Dynamics Control Systems (VDCS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), etc. In wheel slip, with the help of the brake system, suspension and fuel supply, Stability Control aligns the moving vehicle.

 

Electronic Stability Program (ESP) or Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). On vehicles of some manufacturers, this indicator denotes Electronic Differential Lock (EDL) and Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR).

 

System requires diagnosis, or four-wheel drive is enabled.

 

Failure of Brake Assist System (BAS). This failure leads to deactivation of Electronic Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR).

 

Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) is deactivated, the assist system is able to apply braking system in case of obstacles in dangerous proximity to the vehicle. If the system is enabled, and the indicator is on, it means dirty or failed laser sensor system.

 

Indicator informs the driver that the vehicle slipping is fixed and stability control has started.

 

The stability control is not functioning or malfunctioning. The vehicle is driven normally, but electronic assist is shut off.

 

Auxiliary and Special System Indicators

Electronic key is absent / present.

 

The first icon means that there is no electronic key in the vehicle. The second — the key is found, but the key battery needs to be replaced.

 

Mode is activated, this mode supports high gear when taking off and driving.

 

Indicator that offers the driver to have a rest from driving. In some vehicles, it is accompanied by a text message on the display or audible signal.

 

Informs about the critical distance reduction to the vehicle ahead, or about obstacles on driveway. In some vehicles, it may be part of Cruise Control.

 

Easy Access Indicator, equipped with body height adjustment system.

 

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) or Cruise Control is activated, the system maintains the desired velocity in order to provide a safe distance to the vehicle ahead. Flashing LED informs about the system malfunction.

 

Indicator lamp of rear window defroster switch. The lamp illuminates when the ignition is switched on, indicating that the rear window is heated. Switch on using the appropriate button.

 

Brake Hold is activated. Disinhibition happens after you press the accelerator.

 

Sport Suspension Setting / Comfort Suspension Setting for shock absorbers.

 

In vehicles equipped with air suspension, this indicator shows body height above the road. Here is the highest position (HEIGHT HIGH).

 

Check Suspension — CK SUSP. Reports of possible faults in running gear, warns to check it.

 

Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS) is faulty or disabled, the cause may be a radar sensors pollution.

 

Tow Mode is activated.

 

Park Assist. Green — system is active. Yellow — system is malfunctioning, or the system sensors are dirty.

 

Lane Departure Warning Indicator (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), or Lane Departure Prevention (LDP). Yellow flashing indicator warns that the vehicle moves out the lane to the left or right. Sometimes, it is accompanied by a beep. Yellow solid light indicates a fault. Green light means the system is switched on.

 

Failure in Start / Stop System, which is capable to stop the engine in order to save fuel, e.g. when stopping at a red light, and start the engine again when pressing on the accelerator.

 

Fuel Economy Mode is activated.

 

The car moved in ECO MODE.

 

Tells the driver when to switch to a higher gear, in order to save fuel, this is present on the vehicles that are running the manual gearbox.

 

Transmission is placed it in the rear drive.

 

Transmission is in rear drive mode, but if the electronics is necessary, it automatically switches on four-wheel drive.

 

Four-wheel drive is activated.

 

Four-wheel drive is activated with transfer case low range.

 

Center differential is locked, the vehicle is in non-flexible four-wheel drive.

 

Rear axle differential is locked.

 

The first indicator means four-wheel drive is disabled. The second one shows that four-wheel drive is failed.

 

With the engine is running, it can inform about the problems of 4-wheel drive (4WD, All Wheel Drive — AWD), may report the front and rear wheel axle diameter discrepancy.

 

Fault of Super Handling (SH) in 4WD. Probably the differential is overheated.

 

The oil temperature of the rear differential (Rear Differential Temperature) has exceeded the permissible value. It is advisable to stop and wait for the differential cooling.

 

When the motor is running, it informs that there is a fault in 4 Wheel Active Steer (4WAS).

 

Problems with the Rear Active Steer (RAS) system, or the system is deactivated. Fault of the engine, suspension or brakes can cause disabling of the RAS.

 

Overdrive is activated. It is often used in vehicles with automatic transmission, while driving on a slippery road surface.

 

This indicator lights for a few seconds after the ignition has been switched on, it is used in the vehicles with a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission).

 

Fault of Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS).

 

Indicators of SPORT, POWER, COMFORT, SNOW Electronic Throttle Control System (ETCS, Electronically Controlled Transmission — ECT, Elektronische Motorleistungsregelung, Electronic Throttle Control). It can change the suspension, automatic transmission and engine settings.

 

POWER (PWR) MODE is activated on the automatic transmission. For the given mode, the switch «up» occurs later that maximizes the engine speed, respectively, it will allow you to get more output power. The indicator can change the settings of the fuel supply and suspension.

 

Electric / Hybrid Vehicle Indicators

Fault of the main battery or the high voltage circuit.

 

Reports a malfunction of the electric drive. It has the same meaning as Check Engine indicator.

 

Indicator, which informs about low charge of high voltage battery.

 

Batteries need to be charged.

 

Informs about a significant power reduction.

 

The battery is being charged.

 

Hybrid is in EV (electric vehicle) MODE.

 

Indicator reports that the vehicle is ready to move (Hybrid Ready).

 

Faulty external audible pedestrian warning system.

 

Indicator informing that critical (red), or non-critical (yellow) fault is detected. It is in electric vehicles. Sometimes, it is possible to reduce power or stop engine. If the indicator is red, driving on is not recommended.

 

Diesel Engine Vehicle Indicators

Heating glows are activated. The indicator shall light off after warming up, switching off the glows.

 

Particulate filter indicator (Diesel Particulate Filter — DPF).

 

Lack of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF), this fluid is needed for the catalytic reaction of exhaust gas purification.

 

Fault of the exhaust system, the cause of indicator may be too high emission level.

 

Indicator reports that the water is present in fuel (Water in Fuel), can also report the need for maintenance of Diesel Fuel Conditioning Module (DFCM).

 

indicator for electronic systems or presence of water in the diesel fuel.

 

Timing Belt replacement is needed. Illuminates when the ignition is switched, informing about the failure, and when you start the engine it goes out. It informs when approaching 100,000 km, and signals that it is time to change the T-belt. If the lamp is lit when the engine works, and the speedometer is far enough from 100 000 km point, so your speedometer is twisted.

 

External Light Devices Indicators

Outdoor lighting activation.

 

One or more outdoor lamps do not work, the cause may be a fault in the circuit.

 

Main beam is switched on.

 

Informs that the distal and proximal light automatic switch is activated.

 

Fault of Head Light Angle Leveling System.

 

Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) is disabled, if the indicator is flashing, the fault is detected.

 

Daytime Running Lamps (DRL) automatic switch is activated.

 

Failure of one or more stoplight / tail light lamps.

 

Parking lights are switched on.

 

Fog lights are switched on.

 

Rear fog lights are switched on.

 

Turn signal or alarm is switched on.

 

Accessory Indicators

Recalls that the seat belt is not fastened.

 

Trunk / hood / door not closed.

 

Fuel is running out.

 

Windshield low fluid level.

 

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