Caterpillar Warning Symbols and Meanings (Quick Guide)

Caterpillar warning symbols and meanings are important for operating machinery safely. Caterpillar has a total of 17 indicators, 4 gauge cluster modules, and 1 tachometer/speedometer module.

The “Safety Alert Symbol” identifies hazards, followed by a “Signal Word” such as “DANGER”, “WARNING”, or “CAUTION”

Common Caterpillar dash warning light symbols include: Oil pressure, Fuel level, Engine temperature, Tire pressure, and ABS system issues.

Caterpillar Dashboard Symbols and Meanings: Explain

The gauge modules and dashboard caterpillar warning light symbols will give you an idea of the state your Caterpillar is in. 

caterpillar hydraulic warning symbols

Engine Cooling Temperature Gauge

This gauge measures the temperature of the engine coolant. If the needle reaches the red zone in the gauge, it means the engine is overheating.

Brake Cooling Temperature Gauge

This gauge measures the temperature of the hydraulic oil temperature. If the needle reaches the gauge’s red zone, then the brake cooling is overheating. 

System Air Pressure Gauge

This gauge monitors the air pressure in the air tank. If the needle reaches the red zone, that means the system air pressure is low. 

Fuel Level Gauge

This gauge measures the fuel level of your machine. If the needle goes to the red zone, that event lights up the warning level 1. You simply need to refuel in that case. 

Speedometer/Tachometer Gauge

You can measure three parameters through the speedometer/tachometer gauge – gear, engine rpm, and ground speed. 

The ground speed simply shows the speed at which your machine is moving. Meanwhile, the gear shows the gear state your machine is in. 

Right Turn Indicator

The right turn indicator looks like an arrow pointing toward the right. This indicator turns on when the turn signal switch is in the right position. 

Action Lamp

This caterpillar pictograph symbol looks like an exclamation mark drawn within a circle. The action lamp is the indicator that comes on in warning levels 2 and 3. 

Secondary Steering Indicator

The secondary steering indicator looks like a steering wheel. This indicator comes on when the secondary steer pump is active. 

Retarder Indicator

The retarder indicator looks like a cogwheel. This indicator comes on when the manual or automatic retarder is engaged. 

Additionally, the indicator flashes rapidly if there’s an issue with the automatic retarder. You will have to check the retarder for maintenance in that case. 

TCS Indicator

The TCS Indicator has TCS written on it. This indicator comes on when the TCS is engaged. 

Furthermore, the TCS indicator flashes rapidly if there’s an issue with the TCS system. You will have to check the TCS for maintenance in that case. It also flashes rapidly when performing a TCS test. 

Left Turn Indicator

The left turn indicator looks like an arrow pointing toward the left. This indicator turns on when the turn signal switch is in the left position. 

Body Up Indicator

The Body Up indicator looks like an upward arrow and a lifted body. This indicator indicates when the body is up. The body up indicator gets its input signal from the body up switch. 

Reverse Indicator

The Reverse indicator looks like an R drawn within a cogwheel. If you shift your gear toward the reverse position, the reverse indicator comes on. 

High Beam Indicator

The high beam indicator looks the same as the one in cars. This indicator comes on when the headlight is set to a high beam.

Caterpillar monitoring system

Caterpillar Warning Lights Meanings: Quick Overview

Caterpillars have three warning light sequences by severity: levels 1, 2, and 3. All of them require different actions when they come on. Here’s a table on what these warning lights mean.

Warning Level SymptomSeverityProblems
1Alert Indicator turns onLow, operational, repair necessaryRestricted air filter, restricted charging oil filter, charging system fault, low fuel level, maintenance required
2Alert Indicator turns on, action lamp flashesMedium, operational changes required, immediate repairs requiredBrake cooling overheating, engine overheating
3The Alert Indicator turns on, the action lamp flashes and action alarms activateHigh, danger to the operator and severe damage to the system; immediate attention is requiredLow engine oil pressure, low coolant flow, low steering oil pressure, charging system fault, brake over stroke

Caterpillar Indicators in the Message Center Module

Engine Oil Pressure Indicator

The engine oil pressure indicator looks like a water drop in a jar, and two arrows are pointed inward. This indicator lights up when the oil pressure drops below 6.4 psi or above 25 psi in the idle state. 

You need to turn off the machine immediately to prevent further damage.

Parking Brake Indicator

The Parking Brake indicator looks like a P drawn within a circle. This indicator typically lights up when the parking brake is turned on or if the brake is over-stroke. 

In the event of this, you should check up on the slack adjusters.  

Torque Converter/Brake Oil Temperature

The torque converter indicator resembles a water drop within a cogwheel beside a thermometer. 

The brake oil temperature typically lights up when the hydraulic oil temp rises to 124 degrees Celsius. The needle gauge also goes red during this event. 

In this case, you should stop the machine as soon as possible. Then, check it at your nearest CAT dealer.

Charging System

The charging system indicator looks like a car battery with both positive and negative ends. 

This indicator lights up when the message center pin 1 receives less than 23.8 volts or more than 28.5 volts. If the voltage goes below 22 or above 31 volts, the indicator will light up. Immediately turn it off and check it out. 

Engine Maintenance Required

The engine maintenance required indicator looks like a book with some lines. 

The engine maintenance required indicator lights up in three different events. They are- low steering oil pressure, low coolant flow, and air filter restriction.

When this light comes on, make sure to check your engine for steering oil and coolant flow. Don’t forget to check the air filter, either. 

Air Filter Restriction

The air filter restriction indicator looks like a jar on a pair of wheels with an arrow penetrating it. It comes on when the air filter is restricted. Precisely, when the restriction exceeds 6.25 kPa, this light comes on. 

You must clean the air filter in this case. If it persists, go to the nearest CAT dealer to check it. 

Low Steering Pressure

The low Steering pressure indicator looks like a steering wheel. 

When the steering oil pressure is below 100 psi, the low steering pressure indicator comes on. Additionally, the warning indicators will ring level 3 through action lamps and alarms. 

Immediately, turn your CAT off and change the steering oil. This is because, without it, the steering will not respond properly and can cause accidents. 

Transmitter Oil Filter Restricted

The transmitter oil filter restricted filter looks like a drop of water within a cogwheel on a pair of wheels. If the transmitter oil and differential pressure is below 36 psi or 250 kPa, this indicator comes on.

In this event, you must change the transmitter oil or check the filter for dust buildup. Clean it if necessary. If the problem persists, go to the nearest CAT dealer to check it. 

Low Engine Coolant Flow

The low engine coolant flow indicator looks like waves of water within a jar with a rightward arrow below. This indicator comes on if the water pump does not properly supply the engine with coolant. 

In this case, your machine requires immediate action as failure is imminent. Turn it off and take it to the nearest CAT service center to check it. 

Check Engine

The check engine indicator looks like an exclamation mark within a jar. This indicator lights up if there’s a fault in the engine. In other words, the engine fault codes are present in the message center. 

You have to check up on the engine for further maintenance in this scenario.

Finishing Thoughts

We compiled this guide on all the Caterpillar warning symbols and meanings for the new operators who have just started.

We hope this guide equipped you with the knowledge of all the symbols and their meanings so you can operate your Caterpillar safely and maintain it efficiently. As always, safety first!

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