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Top 12 Confusing Dashboard Buttons

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author photo by Autotrader April 2011

As much as we all know we should read the owner’s manual, and even if we do, there are still some buttons and symbols that leave us wondering, “What the heck is that for?” Some of these have been in cars for a few years and some are new to 2011 models, but the sooner we get to know them, the better. Here’s a rundown of some of the buttons and controls that are trickier to decipher.

BC: European models brought over to the U.S. don’t always change the buttons for the new market. Push BC (“board computer”) to access trip information. Where you will see it: certain General Motors models, Porsche.

Cactus on a Road: This shifts the car into Sand mode, so the transmission stays in lower gears and you can navigate through dunes more easily. Where you will see it: Ford Explorer, Land Rover LR4, LR2 and Range Rover.

Dyn: The Dynamic button on seat controls triggers bolsters that expand to cradle the driver and passenger in a turn. Where you will see it: numerous Mercedes Benz models.

ECO Mode: When pressed, it signals to the car to shift into a more eco-friendly mode; the transmission may shift into a higher gear at lower rpms or the electrical systems will switch to a reduced-use level. Where you will see it: Many makes, including Nissan Juke, Nissan Leaf, Dodge Grand Caravan, Chevy Equinox, Hyundai Veloster and Sonata, Toyota Prius and Highlander Hybrid, Lexus HS250, RX 450h, LS 600hL and CT 200h.

IBA Off: Overrides anti-tailgating alert and Intelligent Brake Assist function (to avoid the chime and alert associated with the function). Where you will see it: Infiniti FX35, FX50, M37, M56.

Microphone with Sound Waves: Activates voice control for the Bluetooth handsfree calling feature. Where you will see it: all Volkswagens.

Night Panel: This is the update of the dimming nob. It de-luminates buttons to minimize eyestrain and distraction when driving at night. Where you will see it: Saab models.

Racing Flag: A press of this checkered flag turns on the Dynamic mode to enhance the vehicle systems for more succinct, sporty driving. Where you will see it: numerous Jaguar models.

Roadway into the Horizon: Scrolls through trip information including trip odometer, fuel economy and average speed. Where you’ll see it: numerous General Motors vehicles.

Sideways 2 With Lines: Minis with optional rally lights have this button to switch them on. Where you will see it: Mini Coopers.

Spoiler with Up/Down Buttons: This button extends or retracts the rear spoiler. Where you will see it: Porsches.

Trees with Wind: Press this for the Forest Air System, which simulates the feeling of fresh air with the windows down rather than a blast of AC. Where you will see it: Infiniti M.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Top 12 Confusing Dashboard Buttons - Autotrader