The Ten Most Confusing Car Buttons And Symbols — And What They MeanS

Every driver has seen a strange dashboard symbol or found an unfamiliar button in their car and wondered, "What the hell is that?" Luckily, Jalopnik readers know what they mean, and they're here to help.

Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Pond5


10.) 'PTY-CAT' Button On Subarus

The Ten Most Confusing Car Buttons And Symbols — And What They MeanS

It cycles through "program type" and "category" to shuffle through your playlists, not that its name is even remotely helpful, as ejp hates automatic transmissions points out.

The PTY/CAT button, native to many fine Subarus. Experts have been debating what this button actually does since it found its way into Japanese cars over a decade ago. Some say that when this button is pressed, somewhere in the world, a random putty cat is killed. Others say that it puts your car in "PARTY CAT" mode, but nobody really knows what that means, either.

Suggested By: ejp hates automatic transmissions, Photo Credit: Subaru


9.) A Turn Indicator Switch On A Modern BMW

The Ten Most Confusing Car Buttons And Symbols — And What They Mean

"BC" cycles through your dashboard display. Not that a BMW driver ever uses his turn signals, of course.

Suggested By: I Miss The Old Internet , Photo Credit: BMW


8.) The Tire Pressure Light

The Ten Most Confusing Car Buttons And Symbols — And What They MeanS

This light is obvious to gearheads, but more than a few normal folks don't realize it means the air in one of your tires is low. Drivers' ignorance of what this light means leads to a lot of headaches for mechanics like Hello I'm Justin:

When I was a service advisor, for most of my customers it was this. This light would single handedly fill my morning with quick tire fills. We had to keep an air tank on the service drive just for this light. Hate it.

Suggested By: Hello I'm Justin, Photo Credit: Shutterstock


7.) Floor-Mounted High Beam Switch

The Ten Most Confusing Car Buttons And Symbols — And What They MeanS

You see this on a lot of older cars. With.a.G explains why it makes sense, kind of.

When driving at night, it's important not to burden a driver with the need to remove a hand from the wheel, especially when visibility conditions are changing. So, we'll put high beam switch next to the BRAKE PEDAL.

Suggested By: Inefficient , Photo Credit: Jorbasa


6.) Volkswagen/Audi FUNK Button

The Ten Most Confusing Car Buttons And Symbols — And What They MeanS

You sometimes see this on older VWs and Audis. No, it doesn't blast George Clinton at the highest possible volume. Funk means "radio" in German, and the button is a radio kill switch for police cars and taxi cabs.

Suggested By: The Troof , Photo Credit: ECS Tuning


5.) Toyota's "Party Mode" Button

The Ten Most Confusing Car Buttons And Symbols — And What They MeanS

If any automaker knows a thing or two about wild parties, it's Toyota! That's why the 4Runner used to have a button that raised the bass and sent the sound to the rear of the car.

Suggested By: Big Block I-4, Photo Credit: Scott Beale


4.) The DeLorean "Lambda" Light

The Ten Most Confusing Car Buttons And Symbols — And What They MeanS
On the off chance you're ever driving a DeLorean, it helps to know what the oddball "Lambda" light on the dashboard means. XBnMonaro breaks it down for us:
Notice that the the function of the light is not to monitor the operation of the engine or its emissions control system, but merely to remind the operator that the factory recommends that he service the engine.
It goes off every 30,000 miles to remind you to replace the oxygen sensor, or Lambda-Sond as it was called in Europe. Neat!

Suggested By: XBnMonaro, Photo Credit: FngKestrel


3.) The Rear Fog Lamp Button

The Ten Most Confusing Car Buttons And Symbols — And What They MeanS

The fog light button looks confusing enough, but drivers in Europe have to worry about the one in the rear as well.

Suggested By: LyleLanley, Photo Credit: eBay


2.) Saab 99 Turbo's "Extra" Button

The Ten Most Confusing Car Buttons And Symbols — And What They MeanS

Extra what? According to the Saab Musuem, it's for extra stuff you might want to add on later:

…..regarding the Extra button in the 99 (and also other Saabs) It was a button located in the panel [to be used] if the owner of the car wanted to add some electrical equipment to the car, like foglights etc. In Swedish we call [it] Extraljus. So we can say that it is a bit of Swinglish in our cars.

The button was also available off the shelf at our dealers if people wanted to have more in their Saab. We probably sold MANY of them in the good old times when the staus of the cars was connected to how many switches you had on the dashboard…..

Suggested By: TheManWithSauce, Photo Credit: Top Gear


1.) The Check Engine Light

The Ten Most Confusing Car Buttons And Symbols — And What They MeanS

Everyone knows what this light means, everyone dreads it, and everyone hates it. RazorGP explains this light's biggest problem: from a diagnostic standpoint, it's absolutely useless.

This cryptic fucker. It can mean anything from low washer fluid to your engine is 3 revolutions from mimicking a supernova and throwing its insides outside.

Suggested By: Lots of folks , Photo Credit: Shutterstock