What Are the Symbols on the Instrument Panel of a 1999 Porsche Boxster?

Written by courtney gale
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The Boxster was first unveiled as a 1997 model but since then has improved on the engine while holding fast to the classic roadster look.Deemed "the most prestigious set of wheels under £29,250" by Edmunds.com for 1999, the Porsche Boxster has an impressive set of features. Though 986faq.com claims that the only difference between the 1998 and 1999 versions are not in the instrument panel but in the warranty -- the '98 is a two-year, unlimited mile while the '99 is a four-year, 50,000 mile -- the features on the instrument panel that are now outdated and run-of-the-mill might have made a car enthusiast giggle and emit a "Very cool!" in 1999. Porsche Stability Management (PSM), a retractable spoiler, the Tiptronic Indicator, an on-board computer and seat positioning are just a few.

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Warning/Indicator Lights

The washer fluid level light, depicted as a single stream fountain, illuminates in the instrument panel when half a litre is detected to remain in the reservoir. The "Check Engine" light, depicted with "Check" in all caps and a shape like an engine in the background, illuminates when you first start the car as the vehicle performs a bulb check. If the light remains on, it could indicate one of three problems: either the fuel tank is fastened wrong, the engine is running while the car is being refuelled or the system needs attention because of a control problem with the engine.

Porsche Stability Management (PSM) Information

PSM Information, recognised by a pyramid shape with a single line in the middle, indicates that the car is able to control itself in extreme situations. Even if PSM is not turned on, the light will illuminate to let the driver know that PSM is an option if needed.

PSM Warning

This light, marked in all caps "PSM OFF," lights up to let the driver know that the PSM controls are not in working order and should be checked immediately.

ABS Warning

The ABS or Anti-lock Braking System is formatted to automatically adjust brake pressure when traction on a given road is questionable, such as a slippery road due to rain or an icy road due to snow. When this system has experienced a defect, the light with "ABS" in all caps will light up. Manual braking will take over in this case.

Brake Fluid Level/Brake Distribution Warning

If the brake fluid level warning comes on, a light with "BRAKE" in all caps, it could indicate a low level of brake fluid or a braking circuit failure if large pedal travel is under way.

Stop immediately and check your that your fluid level is between the "min" and "max" marks. The reservoir is located in the front luggage compartment. If you need to refill, always make sure you use Original Porsche brake fluid.

Parking Brake Warning

Although the parking brake warning light is simply a visual reminder to release it before driving, it is a very important feature, as a parking brake being only partially used will overheat the brakes at the rear of the car, causing wasteful wear and tear to the component. It can also diminish the effectiveness.

Brake Pad Wear Warning

The brake pad warning light, identified by "BRAKE WEAR" in capital letters, lets the driver know when the brake pads are greatly worn and need changing. Wear on the pads cannot be based strictly on miles driven. Many factors contribute to this, such as weather conditions the car is kept in and the style of how the car is driven.

More Warning/Indicator Lights

The engine oil pressure warning light is an oil can that illuminates when the ignition is engaged and goes off as the engine starts running. Still, there may be times when the light flickers as the engine is running or when the car is in motion. Find an appropriate place to stop, switch the engine off and check the oil level. When necessary, add oil to the engine.

The battery warning light, depicted by a rectangular box with a plus sign on one end and a minus sign on the other, illuminates temporarily when the car is started. If it happens to come on while driving, it could be because of a broken drive belt or a problem with the battery charging system.

The safety belt warning light, connected to the driver's side safety belt, is a safety belt warning system. An audio gong warning will sound when the engine is turned on. Once the driver's belt has been secured, the visual warning light located on the instrument panel -- a depiction of a front-facing person with a seat belt on -- will fade.

The airbag warning light, a left-facing person with an airbag-like shape in front of him, is used to monitor for malfunctions. The light will illuminate if anything having to do with the airbag system is not working properly.

The retractable spoiler warning light is identified by an arrow pointing to the general area of a rear spoiler. The illuminating of this light indicates that the spoiler has not extended at speeds of more than 75mph or if the ending position has not been reached.

The luggage compartment lid warning light lets the driver know that all is not shut and secured. This light is identified by a car shape with lids opened on either side of the vehicle.

The convertible top indicator is indicated by the illumination of a sketch of a car missing a top. To open the top, you must press the lock plate, located just in front of the inside rearview mirror, to gain access to the lock lever. Swing the lever toward the rear of the car. When closing the convertible top, press the switch for the ceiling, located just above the cigarette lighter, until the indicator light turns off. To lock the top, swing the lever forward until the latch hook is secure.

Instrument Panel - USA Models

The analogue and digital speedometers are at half moon, centre left. They measure how fast the car is moving. The digital speedometer, however, has the ability to switch from miles per hour to kilometres per hour by holding button "B" toward the left for about 5 seconds. Button B is found to the upper right of the centre circle, or tachometer.

The automatic speed control indicator is a fancy name for cruise control. It is seen as an indicator light on the speedometer and looks not unlike a sword pointing to the bottom right. If illuminated, the cruise control is on.

The tachometer measures revolutions per minute, or engine speed. Red marks are used to indicate an over-revving danger.

Found centre-left and centre-right on the tachometer, the turn signal indicators flash in accordance with the actual lights.

Found in the centre of the tachometer, the high-beam indicator illuminates when the headlights are turned on. It resembles a bullet with speed lines to the left.

The odometer, a standard feature found with the tachometer in the centre circle, measures how far the car has travelled.

A general feature is the separate trip odometer. To reset it back to 0mph/kmh, press button "A," found to the upper right of the tachometer/odometer, for about 1 second. Or, in the on-board computer, reset the distance on the "SET" menu.

The engine oil level gauge, depicted by a oil can hovering over a wavelike image, measures how much oil is still in the pan. To view how much oil is in the engine, turn the ignition on so the systems start but the engine is not engaged. The odometer will change temporarily to a mode for waiting time before the engine oil level can be measured. A good time to do this is when the engine is cold, meaning that it has been dormant for a period of time, or when the engine is at operating temperature.

More Instrument Panel Information - USA Models

A small dot just to the left of the "8" on the tachometer is the instrument illumination indicator, which measures ambient brightness and allows the illumination to be automatically adjusted. To dim the brightness, turn button "A," located in the upper right-hand corner of the tachometer, and hold it until the brightness is at the desired level.

The clock is located at the bottom of the gas gauge, to the right of the tachometer. The hours can be set by pressing button "A" for about 1 second. To increase hours, turn button "A" to the right, and to decrease hours, turn the button to the left. To adjust minutes, press the button a second time and follow the same directions as in hours. If you wait one minute, the adjustment mode will automatically turn off.

The Tiptronic is Porsche's version of the transmission. It has five speeds in both automatic and manual modes, but it also provides very strict guidelines for things such as when the car can be started (only in positions "P" or "N") and when a key can be removed (only after the gearshift button has been pushed and the lever has been moved to position "P"). The Tiptronic also allows you to shift gears on the steering wheel while in manual mode only, "temporary change-down" in which the transmission shifts down automatically when the car reaches 33mph or 54km/h and "kickdown," which is found only in position "D" and happens when the accelerator pedal is pushed so it passes the full-throttle point.

The cooling system monitors the engine temperature and alerts the driver if the engine is getting too hot. It displays in Fahrenheit and is found at the very top of the gas gauge. If it points left, the engine is cold and high speeds should be avoided. The car is at the normal operating temperature when the cooling arrow is in the middle. If it points to the right, a warning light will come on. Check all air passages, coolant level and the radiator and then allow the engine to cool.

The fuel tank gauge encompasses the edge of the partial circle to the right of the tachometer. The car will let you know by lighting the small square just below the "0" mark that the tank needs refuelling. Refuelling can be done by gently pressing on the front part of the filler flap, located on the front right bumper.

Familiarising a new owner with every detail of their on-board computer, located just below the tachometer, is a major task. A few examples will get a driver started in understanding the general way in which it works. The operating lever is the bread and butter of the BC. It can be found on the lower left of the steering column:

    To select different options, press up to "1" or down to "2."

To go back one or more options, press "'4" one or more times.

To confirm a selection, push "3."

Seat Positioning

"M" stands for "Memory." The button must be pressed when a driver needs to store an individual's seat and rearview mirror positions. The Boxster is able to store specifications on seat and mirror positions for two drivers.

-1 is the first set of specifications.

  • 2 aligns with the second set of seat and mirror specifications that the Boxster can store.

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