Have you ever turned on your engine, only to see a brand new icon light up and utter confusion follow closely behind? Our vehicles are complicated and it’s important to know what all those lights and icons mean so you can maintain your car’s health and ensure its safety. Maybe you’re new to driving or perhaps you’re a seasoned driver who just needs a refresher. Either way, our new series “What Do the Lights on My Dash Mean?” will hopefully provide some insight on what all those many confusing icons are and what they mean about your vehicle and driving experience, so you can look out for potential problems!
This is the seat belt light. It illuminates if the car is in motion and the driver’s seat belt is not fastened. Most modern cars also come equipped with a sensor in the front passenger seat and if a passenger is detected without a seat belt fastened, the light will illuminate.
These are the service vehicle lights. They are similar to the check engine lights, but refer to the vehicle as a whole and not just the engine. They may indicate a fault in the wheels, brakes, suspension, etc. The lights can be amber, orange or red.
This light refers to the stability control system. It can be illuminated if the stability control has been manually disabled by the driver. Some vehicles will flash this symbol when the stability control is actively working. It may also stay lit up if there is an issue with the system.
This light can be related to the automatic start or start/stop system. With an automatic starter, the light may be illuminated until the car is manually started using the key. In a vehicle with start/stop, the light will illuminate if the system is turned off by the driver or if there is a fault.
This light indicates the steering is locked. Many vehicles will lock the steering in place when the ignition is not in the “run” position. Others can lock the steering if the programmed chip in the key is not present.
A light referring to a trailer hitch lock system some vehicles are equipped with, it will turn on if the vehicle detects the trailer hitch is currently unlocked or if there is a fault with the system.
The left and right arrows are the turn signal indicators. Usually green in colour, the left signal will flash when the left turn indicator is selected and the right will flash when the right indicator is selected. A lot of vehicles will flash both together when the hazard lights are switched on.
This refers to parking sensors. A lot of modern vehicles are equipped with parking sensors that help aid in parking in tight spaces. This light will illuminate when the system has been manually turned off or if there is an issue with the sensors.