Skip to content
Back Back to Insurance menu Go to Insurance
Back Back to Saga Money Go to Saga Money
Back Back to Saga Magazine menu Go to Magazine
Search Magazine

Car dashboard lights – what they mean

11 October 2017

Award-winning motoring expert Quentin Willson guides you around the modern car dashboard – what the icons mean and what to do when they light up.

Press brake pedal light
Some car brands use a similar system to the one above but use pressing the brake pedal as a safety system before the car will start.

We’ve all sat there, slack-jawed at that bewildering pebbledash of buttons and warning lights. The latest car dashboards look like they’ve been strewn with random boiled sweets thrown by some surly toddler.

There’s also a forest of illuminated acronyms that are just as unfathomable. ECO ESP, EPAS, DPF, DSC, HDC have been dreamed up by an industry that stuffs the modern car with so many layers of complexity that even trained mechanics (and motoring journalists) reach for the nearest workshop manual.

Fear not – my guide to navigating your way round the baffling blizzard of modern car buttons and symbols will ease the most worried mind.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.