Car Dashboard Functions

by Sienna Condy
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Car dashboard image by Andrejs Pidjass from

Whether you're a novice or experienced driver, you must pay attention to your car's dashboard functions to keep track of important information about your car. The items on your car's dashboard remind you when it's time to get gas, tell you how fast you're going, and warn you if there might be a problem with your car.


Most of the room on your car dashboard is taken up with different gauges that provide a variety of functions. Car dashboard gauges include: the speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, temperature gauge and odometer. Typically located on the dashboard directly in front of the steering wheel, these gauges are the items on your dashboard of which you should be most aware. The speedometer tells you the vehicle's speed. The tachometer shows you the rpm of your engine. The fuel gauge informs you how much gas you have. The temperature gauge lets you know if your engine is overheating, and the odometer tells you how far you've driven. Additional gauges for features, like oil, may also appear among your dashboard gauges.

Warning Lights

Keep an eye on your dashboard for the dashboard warning lights. If a warning light comes on, you typically need to take your car to a mechanic to identify the problem causing the light to illuminate. Warning lights can turn on for simple problems, like you need an oil change, or more serious issues, such as engine problems. Your dashboard typically includes at least one warning light for the engine, battery, coolant, fuel, brakes, anti-lock brake system, seat belt, door and air bag. Additional lights may also illuminate for functions like the parking brake.

Advanced Functions

The advent of technology is resulting in more features being added to a car's dashboard. Some cars now include advanced features, such as cameras to help drivers back up, jacks for mp3 devices, global positioning systems (GPS), digital music players and Internet access.

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