All Woman

Dashboard 101: More about symbols

By PATRICK FOSTER fosterp@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, May 28, 2012    

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WE continue discussion on the dashboard.

While some dashboard symbols are common to all vehicles, a few models/brands have developed systems and signals unique to them.

And as vehicles get more sophisticated, new methods of delivery have joined the fray.

For instance, many high-end models now have information from the dash, such as speed, gas usage etc, projected on to the windscreen so the driver never has to take his eye off the road, not even for a second.

As dashboard symbols increase in numbers with improvements in engine and operational management, it becomes even more important that their messages are fully understood to avoid mishaps.

More ways through which your car communicates with you are:

Front seat airbag. This light monitors the front airbag, housed under the dash (passenger) and steering wheel, and when on, signals a problem requiring professional assistance.

Overdrive indicator. This shows the driver that the overdrive system is turned off. Overdrive is used for driving without the need to constantly change to low gears.

Rear window defrost/Windshield defrost. They are turned on once either defrost button is pressed. The windshield defrost can always be identified by its diverging lines opposed to the rectangular shape of the rear defrost symbol.

Side airbag. This has the same function as the front airbag, but is intended for the side airbags.

Child safety lock. If you see this lighting up in your dash then the child safety door lock has been activated.

Open door indicator. Straightforward isn't it? A door isn't closed properly. Some model cars will even show what door.

Electrical problem warning. Not one of the more common symbols, but this light tells that there is a problem in the car's electrical system.

Electrical throttle control light. Another of the less well known symbols, it signals that there is a malfunction in the car's electronic throttle control system.

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