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350Z 22nd April 2011 01:21 AM

Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
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All of us love caring for our cars by providing them a thorough wash on each weekend, taking them for a routine service, installing various add-ons and of course, enjoying driving miles and miles of distance. But frankly - how many of us actually care to read their complete user manual as soon as the car is bought home? Perhaps only a few, and that too only when the real need arises during an emergency breakdown. In fact, one of the most important things that a daily driver must know about their car is to correctly interpret the dashboard warning icons. So, what are the dashboard warning icons? These are small symbols which are normally located on instrument cluster, along with speedometer (behind the steering wheel), that indicate and provide an overview about the basic health of your car. Also, over the last few years, these indicators have gradually replaced the fashion of old-style analogue meters and because they tell about some of the most significant aspects, knowing them is necessary. Most of the warning icons in regular cars are almost self-explanatory Ė so letís kick-start with the basic ones first.

Attachment 19220

(1) High-beams on:
  • Cause: As simple as its name suggests. The blue semi-circle icon with horizontal straight lines on its left indicates that your vehicleís headlamps are turned on at the high-beam mode which ethically should not be, if you are driving on city with already sufficient lighting on the road for the sake to prevent glare on the eyes of driver in front.
  • Safe to Drive? Yes.

(2) Fog-lamps on:
  • Cause: This icon appears almost same as the high-beam but with vertical mark passing through horizontal lines and illuminates with yellow colour. It glows as soon as the fog lamps are switched on.
  • Safe to Drive? Yes.

(3) Engine Oil Level:
  • Cause: The oil level symbol is extremely important and should never be ignored because it tells about your carís engine oil state. Please turn off your car immediately if you notice this icon lit while the car is running. Check the engine oil and pressure level, top-up when low but if not and icon still illuminates, seek for prompt assistance.
  • Safe to Drive? Yes (Immediate check-up recommended)

(4) Battery Condition:
  • Cause: A very helpful mark this is Ė The battery icon, typically, could have two meanings: Either the alternator is not charging or your carís battery is soon going to be conked off. Donít panic, because you can still continue to drive but if the destination is far, then better halt at some workshop to know about the exact situation. After all, itíll be much better than being left stranded on an open road.
  • Safe to Drive? Yes (Immediate check-up recommended)

(5) Handbrake On:

  • Cause: An exclamation mark inside the circle signifies that the hand brake / parking brake of your car is lifted. Some fresh drivers generally forget to lift down the handbrake lever before starting off and this is not a nice practice. Please remember to turn off the parking brake before taking off for the sake of your carís rear brakes. This lamp might also remain illuminated when the brake fluid level is reaching the empty figure.
  • Safe to Drive? No.

350Z 22nd April 2011 03:05 AM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
1 Attachment(s)
Attachment 19224

(6) EPS Malfunction:

  • Cause: Electronic Power Steering (EPS) equipped cars have this icon. It shares similar appearance to handbrake icon, but with difference of replacing exclamation mark with ĎEPSí. If this remains lit in your car, then you should understand that there is some issue in the carís power steering and show it to an authorized workshop as soon as possible.
  • Safe to Drive? No. (Immediate check-up recommended)

(7) Faulty ABS:
  • Cause: Anti-Lock Braking System is a safety device in your car which helps to prevent skidding in-case you decide to suddenly put on the brakes. Like previous two, this icon too has same appearance but mentions ĎABSí instead. You are safe to drive the car when the icon is lit but most likely, the ABS will not function anymore, that is why the first thing you must do is to reach at authorized workshop.
  • Safe to Drive? Yes (Immediate check-up recommended)

(8) ABS + Handbrake:
  • Cause: When both, ABS and Handbrake icons stay on while the car is in motion then you must immediately pay a high priority. During such an occasion, the best practice is to gradually move the car on left to park it on a corner of road and slightly press the brake pedal. Afterwards, call for an emergency assistance to your car manufacturerís authorized workshop.
  • Safe to Drive? No. (On-spot check-up recommended)

(9) Engine Overheat:
  • Cause: This little thermometer sign warns you either when the engine is overheating or the coolant is low. It is not at all safe to drive when this happens. Also please do not attempt to open the hood or petrol filler cap immediately as it could be extremely hot and cause severe fatality. Park your car in a safe location allowing it to cool down and call for the assistance in meanwhile.
  • Safe to Drive? No. (On-spot check-up recommended)

(10) Engine Malfunction:
  • Cause: All the modern cars can be now noticed with the all-in-one engine malfunction warning lamp. This is very helpful and should always be taken seriously because it cautions about the malfunction in your carís engine. In some cases, it may automatically vanish after you turn off and restart the car within sometime (i.e. after engine management restarts). Although, itís always recommended to get your vehicle thoroughly inspected at reliable workshop as soon as you come across this error, in order to prevent any unknown damage to the engine which will be enough to burn a hole in your pocket for repairs.
  • Safe to Drive? No. (Immediate check-up recommended)

350Z 22nd April 2011 03:08 AM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
1 Attachment(s)
Attachment 19225

(11) Airbags Malfunction:

  • Cause: The airbags are soft balloons which automatically pop-out during an accident to cushion the occupants. They are indeed one of the greatest safety features one can have in their car but they might have an ill-effect when malfunctioned and / or used without seatbelts. It’s recommended to get the problem diagnosed soon.
  • Safe to Drive? Yes. (Check-up recommended)

(12) Blocked DPF*:
  • Cause: DPF or Diesel Particulate Filter, this symbol is specific to Diesel cars only and informs the driver that DPF is partially blocked. The Diesel Particulate Filter performs an active regeneration process to burn off the soot at high exhaust temperature so that only small residue is left. This process automatically takes place at a particular point of time, which is set by ECU. Sometimes, the un-burnt soot partially blocks the DPF if the process could not complete, thus it shows a message through this icon. Though, there is nothing to worry about, because it can be easily resolved by driving for a few minutes at consistent speed of 60 Kmp/h and above.
  • Safe to Drive? Yes.

(13) Fuel Filter Water Trapped*:
  • Cause: This light illuminates in Diesel engine-cars after turning them on, if the water has been detected in the fuel filter. It’s better to drain it out as soon as possible, since it may cause significant damage to the engine.
  • Safe to Drive? Yes. (Immediate check-up recommended)

(14) Glow Plug Warning*:
  • Cause: The glow plug is a coil spring like icon, which indicates that your car’s glow plugs are heating up for a cold start. Please make sure to wait for this lamp to dis-illuminate before fully turning on the ignition key.
  • Safe to Drive? No.

(15) Seatbelt Reminder:
  • Cause: This is a small yet significant indicator that consistently reminds you and your co-passenger to fasten the seatbelts. Please don’t forget to buckle up because the life that you save might be your own.
  • Safe to Drive? No.

350Z 22nd April 2011 03:12 AM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
1 Attachment(s)
Attachment 19226

(16) Low Tire Pressure:

  • Cause: A tire icon with an exclamation mark points towards an under-inflated tire. You should park the car and get off to check the condition of tire. If it’s enough to move one, then drive ASAP to the nearest tire shop or fuel bunk to get the adequate amount of air filled in, otherwise on an empty road – it’s better to take help of the spare wheel.
  • Safe to Drive? No. (Depends upon condition.)

(17) Air Filter Malfunction:
  • Cause: Air filter malfunction lamp informs that an error was found with the car’s air filter. You can continue driving the car but it’s best to get to problem checked soon.
  • Safe to Drive? Yes. (Check-up recommended)

(18) Wash Wipe and Defrost:
  • Cause: The name is self explanatory but sometimes many are confused with the appearance of these icons. It indicates that your car’s windshield wipers have been activated along with the pressure washer. Another similar icon with arrows pointing towards a square box tells us about the activated front / rear windshield defrost feature.
  • Safe to Drive? Yes.

(19) Service Reminder:
  • Cause: Auto-manufacturers have now included the tiny wrench icon in their car models so that the owner can timely stay informed about when to service their car. When you see this icon blinking, remember to book a service for your car soon at an authorized workshop.
  • Safe to Drive? Yes. (Check-up recommended)

350Z 22nd April 2011 03:13 AM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
1 Attachment(s)
Attachment 19229

(20) Unlocked Door(s):
  • Cause: Yet another useful symbol, that can be seen in almost all the new cars. It comes up after ignition is switched on to tell the driver that one of the doors of car is still open
  • Safe to Drive? No.
(21) AWD Error:
  • Cause: AWD is abbreviation for All Wheel Drive, and also known as 4x4. An AWD symbol flashes to warn about the malfunction in your vehicle's 4x4 system. You can still drive the car, but it's better to get in touch with the nearest workshop immediately.
  • Safe to Drive? Yes. (Immediate check-up recommended)

(22) Cruise Control:
  • Cause: Perhaps one of the easiest icons to understand. The Cruise icon is seen on when your car is being driven with an aid of the cruise control. Normally this should automatically turn off as soon as you touch the brake pedal but if not, get a hint that something is not right.
  • Safe to Drive? No. (Immediate check-up recommended)
(23) Low-Fuel Warning:
  • Cause: Simplest one to end with. The petrol pump icon warns that your vehicle is running out of the fuel. It's highly recommended to fill up immediately but do not panic because each car keeps some amount of fuel in reserve (Enough to reach the bunk near by)
  • Safe to Drive? No. (Immediate Fill-up recommended)

Disclaimer:
- Icon names marked by a star (*) are Diesel-Engine specific only.
- Different cars may have different signs, please refer to the manual.
- ‘Check-up recommended’ means that you must soon drive the car to workshop.
- ‘Immediate check-up recommended’ means that before anything else, you must drive the car to workshop.
- ‘On-spot check-up recommended’ means that you must halt the car and call mechanic to check the situation on the spot.
- This article is a property of The Automotive India (C) 2011. Do NOT copy it elsewhere without written permission of the author.

350Z 22nd April 2011 05:46 PM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
Article Added. I have made an attempt to add as much warning lights as possible, but still some have been left which will be included soon. Please feel free to post / suggest more in the meanwhile. Also, it's important to note that all the lights necessarily do not need to be present in a single car.

Drive Safe,
350Z

cooldhaya 22nd April 2011 06:27 PM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
Good article 350Z , this will surely be very useful to a new car owner. I strongly feel many people fail to notice these warning lights and this in turn aggravates the repairs or damage to the car.


I think you have covered almost everything but check out my christmas tree(Aria's instrument cluster) to see if you have missed out anything by chance!

I think i know the inspiration for this thread.[;)]

mukeshus 22nd April 2011 07:05 PM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
Thanks for sharing the info Vibhor.
A 5 star rating from my end.

In the instruction 8 you have mentioned was the problem i was facing in my car.

And that too after fixing at A.S.S it came again, and i did travel to Goa with ABS+(!) light ON on cluster.

The light used to go off when i used to switch off the engine, & used to came back after running few kms.

auto_luver 22nd April 2011 10:32 PM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
very useful article indeed. Nice info , good work done . thanks for posting

350Z 22nd April 2011 10:36 PM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cooldhaya (Post 75316)
I think you have covered almost everything but check out my christmas tree(Aria's instrument cluster) to see if you have missed out anything by chance!

Can you post a picture with all the lamps lit specifically for this thread? Because I don't think there's one, at present.

Quote:

Originally Posted by auto_luver
very useful article indeed. Nice info , good work done . thanks for posting


Quote:

Originally Posted by mukeshus (Post 75323)
Thanks for sharing the info Vibhor.
A 5 star rating from my end.

Thanks. And I'll be glad if it can be of help to anyone. :smile:

Drive Safe,
350Z

cooldhaya 22nd April 2011 10:40 PM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
@ 350Z Check out my ownership report of Aria for that picture.

Umang 24th April 2011 02:18 PM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
kudos 350z for great work. i learn so much from your articles and i never knew meaning of most of symbols here!!! [thumbsup]

350Z 25th April 2011 01:26 PM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cooldhaya (Post 75372)
@ 350Z Check out my ownership report of Aria for that picture.

Sorry. Too lazy to flip over 11+ Pages of that thread.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Umang (Post 75533)
kudos 350z for great work. i learn so much from your articles and i never knew meaning of most of symbols here!!! [thumbsup]

Hey, thanks. More exciting stuff coming up soon. Do watch this space.

Drive Safe,
350Z

Nofate 25th April 2011 09:20 PM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
Great collection of Icons and information 350Z.

Shona210 29th April 2011 01:27 AM

Re: Guide: Know Your Carís Instrument Cluster Warning Lights
 
1 Attachment(s)
This yellow icon shows up in my car when passenger side airbag is turned off.


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