What do the indicators on the meters mean? Which of them are most important?

Added 4 November 2019 by

Dashboards of modern cars (at least some of them) are reminiscent of aircraft cockpits. Full of all types of indicators, switches and other elements that are there to inform the driver about the vehicle’s condition and provide them with comfortable driving. What exactly do the aforementioned indicators mean and which of them should never ever be ignored?

Information indicators

They are usually green, blue or yellow. They inform about functioning of a particular component in the car, like lights being turned on (high beam, low beam, position lights, fog lights or indicators).

This category also includes indicators that notify about activating different types of driving modes, as well as systems that support driving the car (traction control, cruise control, stability control and others).

Warning indicators

They are orange. Their purpose is to direct our attention to a particular element of the car, the behavior of which deviates from the standards determined for it.

Examples:

  • open door indicator
  • low fuel indicator
  • airbag system malfunction indicator

Emergency indicators

They make themselves known in red, which should be rightfully associated with a threat or the “stop” light. An indicator of this type lighting up is a signal that a serious malfunction has possibly taken place.

Examples:

  • battery indicator
  • coolant indicator
  • engine oil indicator

Which indicators are the most important?

Paradoxically – all of them. The reason is simple: every car is an interconnected system. One small malfunction might be a beginning of a whole series of unfortunate events.

In certain situations, each of the indicators, be it emergency, warning or information type, might signalize an abnormality that might have an indirect or direct impact on the safety of further driving.

Example: ignoring a notification from a low tire pressure indicator might have an impact on the car’s surface traction, and in a longer run might lead to a permanent damage of tires. 

Which indicators show that further drive is impossible?

As has already been mentioned, all indicators are important, but some of them lighting up almost always mean having to stop driving. What is interesting, these not only include emergency indicators (red), but also the warning ones. Further driving is therefore pretty much impossible if any of the following indicators lights up:

  • low battery charge
  • coolant temperature
  • engine oil level
  • check engine (in that case it is ambiguous, the indicator lighting up might mean a minor error occurring that has little impact on further driving)
  • parking brake
  • power steering system

Which indicators show that driving is possible under certain conditions?

An indicator lighting up doesn’t always mean that we need to stop driving immediately. In many cases we will be able to continue driving for some time, but when possible, it will be necessary to stop in order to remove a particular malfunction / obstacle. It occurs, for example, if the following light up:

  • fuel reserve indicator
  • rear window heating indicator
  • fuel filler lock indicator

One more scenario: indicator malfunction

Last but not least, it’s a good idea to also mention indicators themselves malfunctioning, which should also catch our attention, as lack of information caused by them not working might lead us to not paying enough attention to a particular element.

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What do the indicators on the meters mean Which of them are most important
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What do the indicators on the meters mean Which of them are most important
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Dashboards of modern cars (at least some of them) are reminiscent of aircraft cockpits. Full of all types of indicators, switches and other elements that are there to inform the driver about the vehicle’s condition and provide them with comfortable driving. What exactly do the aforementioned indicators mean and which of them should never ever be ignored?
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autodna.com
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