Car dashboard lit in red with a steering wheel at night

The car with squiggly lines symbol is something we’ve all encountered on our dashboard at one point or another. But what does it actually mean? In this detailed article, we’ll demystify this symbol and explore its various interpretations. Buckle up as we navigate through the world of automotive symbols and get a clearer understanding of what this icon represents.

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Understanding the Car with Squiggly Lines Symbol

The first step in deciphering this symbol is to understand what it looks like. Typically, it appears as a car with squiggly lines beneath it. This symbol is often illuminated on your dashboard, leaving drivers puzzled about its significance. Let’s dive deeper to uncover its meaning.

Common Interpretations

Many drivers associate the car with squiggly lines with issues related to their car’s stability and traction. However, this symbol can represent several different things depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

Is It a Tire Pressure Warning?

One common misconception is that this symbol indicates low tire pressure. While tire issues can lead to stability problems, the car with squiggly lines usually points to a more specific problem.

The ABS Brake System

In some vehicles, this symbol signifies an issue with the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). When the ABS system encounters a problem, it can affect your car’s ability to maintain traction during braking.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

ESC is a feature in modern vehicles that helps maintain stability during sudden maneuvers. If there’s a problem with the ESC system, you may see the car with squiggly lines on your dashboard.


Traction Control System (TCS)

The Traction Control System is responsible for preventing wheel spin during acceleration. A malfunction in this system can trigger the squiggly lines symbol.

How to React

When this symbol lights up on your dashboard, it’s essential to react appropriately. First, don’t panic. Pull over if it’s safe to do so and consult your vehicle’s manual. If you’re unsure about the issue, it’s best to contact a professional mechanic for a thorough inspection.

What Does the Car with Squiggly Lines Mean?

Now, let’s delve even deeper into the heart of the matter. What exactly does the car with squiggly lines mean, and why is it essential for every driver to understand this symbol?

Demystifying the Symbol

The car with squiggly lines symbolizes your vehicle’s stability and traction control systems. These systems are vital for keeping your car under control, especially during adverse driving conditions. Understanding the nuances of this symbol can help you make informed decisions when it appears on your dashboard.

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The Significance of Stability and Traction Control

Modern vehicles come equipped with advanced safety features, and stability and traction control are among the most critical. These systems work together to ensure your car maintains stability on the road. Here’s a closer look at their functions:

Stability Control

Electronic Stability Control (ESC), commonly associated with the car and squiggly lines symbol, helps prevent skidding and loss of control during sudden steering maneuvers. When ESC detects a loss of traction, it applies selective braking to specific wheels and reduces engine power to bring the vehicle back under control.

Traction Control

The Traction Control System (TCS) focuses on preventing wheel spin during acceleration. When you accelerate rapidly, such as when merging onto a highway, TCS adjusts power to the wheels to maintain traction. This feature is particularly crucial in slippery conditions, such as rain or snow.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I continue driving when the car with squiggly lines symbol appears?

A: It’s advisable to pull over and assess the situation. Continuing to drive could be unsafe.

Q: How much does it cost to repair the ABS or ESC system?

A: Repair costs vary depending on the issue and your vehicle’s make and model. Consult a mechanic for a specific estimate.

Q: Is it safe to drive in inclement weather with the TCS light on?

A: Driving with a malfunctioning TCS can be risky, especially in slippery conditions. It’s best to address the issue before driving in adverse weather.

Q: Can I reset the squiggly lines symbol on my own?

A: Some issues may resolve on their own, but it’s recommended to have a professional diagnose and repair the problem.

Q: Does the squiggly lines symbol always indicate a serious problem?

A: Not necessarily. It could be a minor issue, but it’s crucial to have it checked to ensure your safety.

Q: Are there DIY solutions for resolving the symbol?

A: It depends on the specific issue. Some problems may have simple solutions, but others require professional attention.


In conclusion, the car with squiggly lines symbol on your dashboard is not something to be ignored. It can signify various issues related to your vehicle’s stability and traction control systems. When in doubt, it’s best to consult a qualified mechanic to diagnose and address the problem promptly. Remember, your safety on the road is paramount, so never underestimate the importance of addressing dashboard symbols promptly.

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