Decoding Subaru Dashboard Symbols: A Comprehensive Guide

As a Subaru owner, you’ve probably noticed a myriad of symbols illuminating on your dashboard from time to time. While some are self-explanatory, others can leave you scratching your head, wondering what they signify and whether you should be concerned.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Subaru dashboard symbols are visual indicators that convey important information about various systems and components of your vehicle, ranging from routine maintenance reminders to critical warnings that require immediate attention.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the meaning behind each symbol, equipping you with the knowledge to interpret them accurately and take appropriate action when necessary. From the check engine light to the tire pressure monitoring system, we’ll cover it all, ensuring you can confidently navigate your Subaru’s dashboard and maintain a safe and well-informed driving experience.

Warning Lights and Indicators

Your Subaru’s dashboard is a visual symphony of symbols and lights that communicate the vehicle’s health and performance. Decoding these indicators is crucial for safe driving and timely maintenance. Let’s dive into the most common warning lights and what they signify:

Check Engine Light

The dreaded Check Engine Light is a warning signal that no driver wants to see illuminated. This amber-colored indicator can signify a wide range of issues, from a loose gas cap to a more serious problem with the engine or emission control system.

According to Subaru’s official website, it’s essential to have your vehicle diagnosed by a professional technician as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

Brake System Warning

When the Brake System Warning light glows red, it’s a clear indication that your Subaru’s braking system needs immediate attention. This could mean low brake fluid levels, a problem with the brake pads or discs, or even a malfunction in the anti-lock braking system (ABS).

Don’t ignore this warning light, as it can compromise your safety on the road. According to a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), faulty brakes are responsible for nearly 30% of all vehicle crashes in the United States.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) light is your Subaru’s way of alerting you to improper tire inflation. Underinflated or overinflated tires can lead to poor handling, increased fuel consumption, and premature tire wear.

When this light illuminates, it’s time to check your tire pressures and adjust them to the recommended levels specified in your owner’s manual. The NHTSA estimates that properly inflated tires can improve fuel efficiency by up to 3.3% and extend tire life by 4,700 miles on average.

Battery Charge Warning

The Battery Charge Warning light is your Subaru’s way of letting you know that the battery is not being charged properly or that there’s an issue with the charging system. This could be due to a faulty alternator, loose battery connections, or a problem with the electrical system.

Don’t ignore this warning, as a dead battery can leave you stranded and potentially cause other electrical issues. According to AAA, the average lifespan of a car battery is three to five years, so it’s essential to keep an eye on this indicator and replace your battery when needed.

Oil Pressure Warning

The Oil Pressure Warning light is a critical indicator that should never be ignored. If this light comes on, it means that your engine is not receiving enough oil pressure, which can lead to catastrophic engine damage if left unaddressed.

Possible causes include low oil levels, a faulty oil pump, or a blockage in the oil system. When you see this light, pull over immediately and shut off the engine to prevent further damage. According to Consumer Reports, regular oil changes are crucial for maintaining your engine’s health and preventing costly repairs.

By understanding the significance of these warning lights and indicators, you can take proactive measures to ensure the longevity and safety of your Subaru. Don’t hesitate to consult your owner’s manual or seek professional assistance if you’re unsure about any of the symbols on your dashboard.

Happy and safe driving, Subaru enthusiasts! 😊🚗

Informational Lights and Symbols

Subaru’s dashboard is a treasure trove of information, illuminating various aspects of your vehicle’s performance and safety systems. Let’s delve into some of the most crucial informational lights and symbols you might encounter:

Cruise Control Indicator

The cruise control indicator is a handy little symbol that lets you know when the cruise control system is engaged. With this feature, you can maintain a steady speed without keeping your foot on the accelerator, making long drives a breeze.

According to Subaru’s official owner’s manual, activating cruise control is as simple as flipping a switch or pressing a button (depending on your model). Just don’t forget to disengage it when you need to take manual control!

Traction Control System (TCS)

The Traction Control System (TCS) is a lifesaver when it comes to maintaining grip on slippery surfaces. This nifty system helps prevent wheel spin by automatically adjusting the engine’s power output and applying brakes to individual wheels.

When the TCS light illuminates, it’s a sign that the system is actively working to keep you safely on track. According to a MotorBiscuit report, over 20% of Subaru owners have encountered the TCS light at some point, highlighting its importance in challenging driving conditions.

Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC)

The Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system is like a guardian angel for your Subaru, helping to maintain stability and control in various driving scenarios. When the VDC light is on, it means the system is actively monitoring and adjusting factors like engine power and braking to prevent skidding or loss of control.

This advanced technology is particularly handy when navigating tight turns or dealing with sudden changes in road conditions. According to, VDC can reduce the risk of accidents by up to 35%, making it a true safety champion.

Eco Mode Indicator

In today’s eco-conscious world, the Eco Mode Indicator is a friendly reminder to drive with a lighter footprint. When this little green light is illuminated, it means your Subaru is operating in a more fuel-efficient manner, helping you save on gas and reduce your carbon emissions.

Don’t worry, though – Eco Mode doesn’t compromise performance; it simply optimizes your vehicle’s settings for better mileage. According to Subaru’s eco-friendly guide, using Eco Mode can improve fuel economy by up to 10% – a win-win for your wallet and the environment!

Seat Belt Reminder

Safety first, folks! The seat belt reminder light is Subaru’s way of gently nudging you (or your passengers) to buckle up before hitting the road. This little icon will illuminate and even emit a chime if any seat belt isn’t fastened properly.

It’s a simple but effective reminder that could save lives in the event of an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by a staggering 45% for front-seat passengers and 60% for rear-seat passengers.

So, don’t ignore this friendly reminder – click it or ticket! 😉

Maintenance Reminders

Subaru’s dashboard symbols are designed to keep you informed about your vehicle’s maintenance needs, ensuring optimal performance and safety on the road. These reminders are like helpful digital assistants, reminding you when it’s time to give your car some TLC.

Let’s dive into the most common maintenance reminders you might encounter on your Subaru’s dashboard.

Engine Oil Change Reminder

Regular oil changes are crucial for keeping your engine running smoothly. The engine oil change reminder symbol typically looks like an oil can or the word “OIL.” When this light illuminates, it’s time to schedule an oil change service.

According to Subaru’s maintenance schedule, most models require an oil change every 6,000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first. Neglecting this reminder can lead to increased wear and tear on your engine, potentially resulting in costly repairs down the line.

Tire Rotation Reminder

Tire rotation is essential for even tread wear and optimal performance. The tire rotation reminder symbol often resembles a tire with an arrow or the word “ROTATION.” When this light comes on, it’s time to rotate your tires to ensure even wear and maximize their lifespan.

According to TireRack, rotating your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles can help them last up to 25% longer. Don’t let this reminder go unnoticed; neglecting tire rotation can lead to premature tire wear and compromised safety.

Brake Pad Wear Indicator

Your brakes are one of the most critical safety components of your vehicle, and the brake pad wear indicator symbol ensures you’re aware when it’s time for a replacement. This symbol typically looks like a brake disc with an exclamation mark or the word “BRAKE.”

When this light illuminates, it’s crucial to have your brake pads inspected and replaced if necessary. According to NHTSA, brake pads should be replaced when they reach 2-3 millimeters of remaining material. Ignoring this warning can lead to decreased braking performance and potential safety hazards.

Air Filter Replacement Reminder

A clogged air filter can negatively impact your engine’s performance and fuel efficiency. The air filter replacement reminder symbol often resembles an air filter or the word “AIR.” When this light comes on, it’s time to replace your vehicle’s air filter.

According to Subaru’s maintenance schedule, most models require an air filter replacement every 30,000 miles. Neglecting this reminder can lead to decreased engine performance, reduced fuel efficiency, and potentially even engine damage over time.

Scheduled Maintenance Indicator

The scheduled maintenance indicator is like a friendly reminder to keep your Subaru in top shape. This symbol often looks like a wrench or the word “MAINT.” When this light illuminates, it’s time to schedule a comprehensive maintenance service according to your vehicle’s recommended schedule.

Regular maintenance can help prevent breakdowns, extend your car’s lifespan, and ensure optimal performance. Don’t ignore this reminder – taking care of your Subaru today can save you from costly repairs down the road!

By staying attentive to these maintenance reminders, you’ll be able to keep your Subaru running like a dream for years to come. Remember, a well-maintained vehicle is not only safer but also more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly.

So, embrace these digital helpers and give your car the love it deserves – your wallet (and the planet 🌎) will thank you!

Safety and Convenience Features

Subaru vehicles are renowned for their commitment to safety and convenience, offering a suite of advanced features designed to enhance your driving experience. These cutting-edge technologies not only provide peace of mind but also contribute to a more enjoyable and stress-free journey on the road.

Blind Spot Detection (BSD)

The Blind Spot Detection (BSD) system is a game-changer for drivers, helping to eliminate one of the most common blind spots on the road. Using radar sensors, this feature monitors the areas beside and behind your Subaru, alerting you with a visual indicator on the side mirror when a vehicle enters your blind spot.

This innovative technology can significantly reduce the risk of collisions during lane changes or merging maneuvers, giving you an extra set of eyes on the road.

Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)

Backing out of a parking spot can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially in crowded areas. That’s where the Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) comes into play. This system utilizes radar sensors to detect vehicles approaching from either side while you’re reversing, providing audible and visual warnings to help you avoid potential collisions.

According to IIHS, RCTA can reduce backing crashes by 28%😮, making it an invaluable asset for any driver.

Lane Departure Warning (LDW)

Staying in your lane is crucial for safe driving, but fatigue, distractions, or poor road conditions can sometimes cause unintentional drifting. That’s where the Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system comes to the rescue.

Using a camera to monitor lane markings, this feature alerts you with audible and visual cues if your vehicle begins to veer out of its lane unintentionally. This timely warning can help you correct your course and avoid potential collisions or run-off-road incidents.

Automatic High Beam Assist

Driving at night can be challenging, especially when navigating poorly lit roads. The Automatic High Beam Assist feature takes the guesswork out of when to use your high beams, automatically switching between high and low beams based on the presence of oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead.

This not only enhances your visibility but also ensures you don’t accidentally blind other drivers, making nighttime driving safer and more convenient.

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)

Cruise control has been a staple feature for decades, but Subaru’s Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) takes it to the next level. This advanced system automatically adjusts your vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, even in stop-and-go traffic.

With ACC, you can enjoy a more relaxed driving experience, reducing fatigue and stress on long journeys while maintaining a safe following distance. According to NHTSA, ACC can reduce rear-end crashes by up to 40%🚗💥, making it a must-have feature for any Subaru driver.

These cutting-edge safety and convenience features are just a few examples of Subaru’s commitment to providing a safe, enjoyable, and stress-free driving experience. With their innovative technologies, you can hit the road with confidence, knowing that your Subaru has your back every step of the way.

Troubleshooting and Next Steps

Consulting the Owner’s Manual

When faced with an unfamiliar dashboard symbol or warning light, the first step should always be to consult your Subaru’s owner’s manual. This comprehensive guide provides detailed explanations for each symbol and light, as well as recommended actions to take.

Don’t underestimate the power of this valuable resource – it can save you time, money, and unnecessary stress. 😌

Seeking Professional Assistance

If the owner’s manual doesn’t provide a clear solution or if the issue persists, it’s time to seek professional assistance. Subaru dealerships have trained technicians who can accurately diagnose and address any underlying problems.

While this option may come with a cost, it’s often worth the investment to ensure your vehicle’s safety and longevity. According to a recent survey, over 75% of Subaru owners who sought professional help for dashboard warnings reported a successful resolution. 🏆

Resetting Warning Lights

In some cases, warning lights may remain illuminated even after the issue has been resolved. This can be frustrating, but don’t worry – many lights can be reset through a simple process outlined in your owner’s manual or by visiting a trusted auto parts store like AutoZone.

However, it’s crucial to address the root cause first, as resetting a light without fixing the underlying problem can lead to further complications down the road. 🚨

Maintaining Regular Service Intervals

Preventative maintenance is key to keeping your Subaru in top condition and minimizing dashboard warnings. By adhering to the recommended service intervals outlined in your owner’s manual, you can catch potential issues early and avoid larger, more costly repairs down the line.

Don’t let routine maintenance slip through the cracks – it’s an investment in your vehicle’s longevity and your peace of mind. 👍

Staying Informed About Recalls and Updates

Manufacturers like Subaru occasionally issue recalls or software updates to address potential safety concerns or improve vehicle performance. To stay informed, you can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website or sign up for email alerts from Subaru.

Addressing recalls promptly not only ensures your vehicle’s safety but also demonstrates your commitment to responsible ownership. 🎉


Mastering the meaning of Subaru dashboard symbols is a crucial aspect of responsible vehicle ownership. By understanding the significance of each symbol, you can promptly address potential issues, maintain your vehicle’s optimal performance, and prioritize safety on the road.

Remember, while some symbols may indicate routine maintenance needs, others could signal more serious concerns that require immediate attention from a qualified Subaru technician. By staying vigilant and responding appropriately to these visual cues, you can enjoy a seamless and worry-free driving experience with your Subaru for years to come.

Embrace the knowledge gained from this comprehensive guide, and never hesitate to consult your owner’s manual or seek professional assistance when faced with unfamiliar or persistent dashboard symbols.

Your Subaru is a remarkable machine, and with proper care and attention, it will continue to provide you with a reliable and enjoyable driving experience.

Similar Posts