What 15 Symbols On Your Car's Dashboard Mean

VikiVector/iStock via Getty Images
VikiVector/iStock via Getty Images

When something goes wrong with your car or if a feature you should know about gets activated, a signal funnels through the electrical system and into the dashboard. This illuminates a hieroglyphic, and these cover a wide range of issues—some of which may be serious. Here are the meanings behind 15 of these curious-looking markers (and what they look like, in case you need a mnemonic device to help your memory).

Your dashboard may be different and the symbols may have altered designs or indicate slightly different things, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual. Some of these lights could portend a serious malfunction. Don't ignore them. When in doubt, have a professional check it out. (For more information on dashboard symbols for all types of cars, check out this resource.)

1. Engine Temperature Warning Light

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What it looks like: A pirate ship with its sails down as if to say, “I’m just a normal boat, no pirates here.”

What it means: Your engine is too hot, friend. Here is a useful guide for what to do if your engine overheats.

2. Tire Pressure Warning Light

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What it looks like: A Buckingham Palace guard telling you the field goal is GOOD!

What it means: The pressure in one or more of your tires is too low and needs to be attended to.

3. Oil Pressure Warning

iStock

What it looks like: You’re about to get three wishes.

What it means: Your engine is running low on oil, or there is a problem with your car's oil pressure system.

4. Traction Control

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What it looks like: Cthulhu wearing a fedora.

What it means: The car's traction control system is engaged.

5. Engine Warning

iStock

What it looks like: Yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine.

What it means: It can blink on for a number of reasons. Read about some of those here.

6. Antilock Brake Warning

iStock

What it looks like: The cover of a fitness magazine.

What it means: There is an issue with your anti-lock brake system that needs to be diagnosed and fixed.

7. Automatic Shift Lock or Engine Start Indicator

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What it looks like: The bat signal, if Bruce Wayne had been traumatized in a shoe closet instead of a bat cave as a child.

What it means: You need to engage the brake, either to start your car's ignition or to get it out of neutral.

8. Battery Alert

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What it looks like: Math LEGO.

What it means: The car's charging system is short of power. You are running solely on battery.

9. Fuel Indicator Symbol

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What it looks like: A snake-infested ATM.

What it means: You are running low on fuel. Fun fact: The symbol on the fuel gauge also has an arrow next to it—this indicates which side of the car has the gas cap. No more gas station three-point turns in rental cars ever again.

10. Seatbelt Reminder Light

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What it looks like: James Carville wearing a bandolier.

What it means: Buckle your seatbelt, please.

11. Airbag Indicator

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What it looks like: A man wearing a tie, shaking his fist at you as he falls down. Why did you push him?

What it means: There may be an issue with one or more of your car's airbags, or the airbag system in general.

12. Fog Lamp Indicator

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What it looks like: A jellyfish leaping through a waterfall.

What it means: Your fog lights are on.

13. Security Light

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What it looks like: They put a boot on your car and your car is also covered in icicles. This has been the worst winter ever.

What it means: You may need a key with the proper transponder in order to trigger the ignition. Or, there is something else wrong with your car's anti-theft system.

14. Traction Control Malfunction

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What it looks like: Pyramid on the dollar bill ... or is that what the Illuminati wants you to think it looks like?

What it means: There is an issue with your anti-skid system, and it may be shut off completely.

15. Washer Fluid Indicator

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What it looks like: A conductor's point of view, tapping her music stand and preparing to lead an orchestra consisting of two candy canes that are stuck together.

What it means: The washer fluid level is low. Please fill that up when you get a chance.

10 of the Best Indoor and Outdoor Heaters on Amazon

Mr. Heater/Amazon
Mr. Heater/Amazon

With the colder months just around the corner, you might want to start thinking about investing in an indoor or outdoor heater. Indoor heaters not only provide a boost of heat for drafty spaces, but they can also be a money-saver, allowing you to actively control the heat based on the rooms you’re using. Outdoor heaters, meanwhile, can help you take advantage of cold-weather activities like camping or tailgating without having to call it quits because your extremities have gone numb. Check out this list of some of Amazon’s highest-rated indoor and outdoor heaters so you can spend less time shivering this winter and more time enjoying what the season has to offer.

Indoor Heaters

1. Lasko Ceramic Portable Heater; $20

Lasko/Amazon

This 1500-watt heater from Lasko may only be nine inches tall, but it can heat up to 300 square feet of space. With 11 temperature settings and three quiet settings—for high heat, low heat, and fan only—it’s a dynamic powerhouse that’ll keep you toasty all season long.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Alrocket Oscillating Space Heater; $25

Alrocket/Amazon

Alrocket’s oscillating space heater is an excellent addition to any desk or nightstand. Using energy-saving ceramic technology, this heater is made of fire-resistant material, and its special “tip-over” safety feature forces it to turn off if it falls over (making it a reliable choice for homes with kids or pets). It’s extremely quiet, too—at only 45 dB, it’s just a touch louder than a whisper. According to one reviewer, this an ideal option for a “very quiet but powerful” heater.

Buy it: Amazon

3. De’Longhi Oil-Filled Radiator Space Heather; $79

De’Longhi/Amazon

If you prefer a space heater with a more old-fashioned vibe, this radiator heater from De’Longhi gives you 2020 technology with a vintage feel. De’Longhi’s heater automatically turns itself on when the temperatures drops below 44°F, and it will also automatically turn itself off if it starts to overheat. Another smart safety feature? The oil system is permanently sealed, so you won’t have to worry about accidental spills.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Aikoper Ceramic Tower Heater; $70

Aikoper/Amazon

Whether your room needs a little extra warmth or its own heat source, Aikoper’s incredibly precise space heater has got you covered. With a range of 40-95°F, it adjusts by one-degree intervals, giving you the specific level of heat you want. It also has an option for running on an eight-hour timer, ensuring that it will only run when you need it.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Isiler Space Heater; $37

Isiler/Amazon

For a space heater that adds a fun pop of color to any room, check out this yellow unit from Isiler. Made from fire-resistant ceramic, Isiler’s heater can start warming up a space within seconds. It’s positioned on a triangular stand that creates an optimal angle for hot air to start circulating, rendering it so effective that, as one reviewer put it, “This heater needs to say ‘mighty’ in its description.”

Buy it: Amazon

Outdoor Heaters

6. Mr. Heater Portable Buddy; $104

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Make outdoor activities like camping and grilling last longer with Mr. Heater’s indoor/outdoor portable heater. This heater can connect to a propane tank or to a disposable cylinder, allowing you to keep it in one place or take it on the go. With such a versatile range of uses, this heater will—true to its name—become your best buddy when the temperature starts to drop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiland Pyramid Patio Propane Heater; Various

Hiland/Amazon

The cold’s got nothing on this powerful outdoor heater. Hiland’s patio heater has a whopping 40,000 BTU output, which runs for eight to 10 hours on high heat. Simply open the heater’s bottom door to insert a propane tank, power it on, and sit back to let it warm up your backyard. The bright, contained flame from the propane doubles as an outdoor light.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Solo Stove Bonfire Pit; $345

Solo Stove/Amazon

This one is a slight cheat since it’s a bonfire pit and not a traditional outdoor heater, but the Solo Stove has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon for a reason. Everything about this portable fire pit is meticulously crafted to maximize airflow while it's lit, from its double-wall construction to its bottom air vents. These features all work together to help the logs burn more completely while emitting far less smoke than other pits. It’s the best choice for anyone who wants both warmth and ambiance on their patio.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dr. Infrared Garage Shop Heater; $119

Dr. Infrared/Amazon

You’ll be able to use your garage or basement workshop all season long with this durable heater from Dr. Infrared. It’s unique in that it includes a built-in fan to keep warm air flowing—something that’s especially handy if you need to work without wearing gloves. The fan is overlaid with heat and finger-protectant grills, keeping you safe while it’s powered on.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Mr. Heater 540 Degree Tank Top; $86

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Mr. Heater’s clever propane tank top automatically connects to its fuel source, saving you from having to bring any extra attachments with you on the road. With three heat settings that can get up to 45,000 BTU, the top can rotate 360 degrees to give you the perfect angle of heat you need to stay cozy. According to a reviewer, for a no-fuss outdoor heater, “This baby is super easy to light, comes fully assembled … and man, does it put out the heat.”

Buy it: Amazon

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Want to Fall Asleep Faster? Try This Breathing Technique

Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels
Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Struggling to fall asleep can feel like a hopeless battle. It often seems like the harder you try turning your brain off, the less likely it is to happen. One way to trick yourself into falling asleep fast is finding something to concentrate on other than how long you've been awake. For nights when your thoughts just won't stay quiet, try the 4-7-8 technique.

According to Simplemost, the 4-7-8 breathing method is meant to combat anxiety, restlessness, and other enemies of a good night's sleep. The actual technique is simple: Just inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. Like counting sheep, measuring out your breaths gives your brain something to do that isn't obsessing about your hectic day or the day ahead.

Taking slow, deliberate breaths has also been proven to reduce stress. Neurons that influence calmness have been found in the breathing control centers of mouse brains. In humans, deep breathing has long been central to mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation. The 4-7-8 breathing technique functions as both a distraction from your thoughts and a way to combat any anxious sensations that may be keeping you awake.

The next time you find yourself tossing and turning at night, try anywhere between three and eight rounds of this breathing technique to calm your body and mind. And to get the best rest possible, make sure you're settling into the best sleep position for your health.

[h/t Simplemost]