The Meaning of Cars in Dreams
What Does a Car in a Dream Mean?
Cars are one of the most common dream symbols in developed countries. In most places, cars and other motor vehicles are a part of daily lives. We rely on transportation to get us where we need or want to go. Our dependency on cars shapes our personal symbolism of them.
The following article explores the meaning of cars and other motor vehicles within specific contexts.
The Meaning of Cars in Dreams
In dreams, cars often represent you and reveal how you are getting through life. Depending upon the context of the dream, a car can symbolize our physical body, mind, ego (Freud's definition), consciousness, personality, and/or our life in general or the direction our life is taking. A car can also represent our social persona (Carl Jung) or who we are to others, also known as our social image or our social status. The context of a car dream shows us how much power and control we have (or believe we have) over our lives as well as how successful we are at moving from one stage of life to another.
When analyzing a car dream, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:
- Where are you in the car? If you are sitting, which seat are you in? Sitting in the driver's seat shows you have or attempt to have control in life. If someone else is in the driver's seat, it is possible this person or what they symbolize to you is controlling your life. Sitting in the passenger seat may mean you have a passive approach to life. Sitting in the backseat may mean you are taking a "backseat" in your life or specific situations. It is important to keep in mind that other people often do not symbolize themselves but rather an aspect within you that you identify with them (example, your angry aunt may symbolize your anger or your negative approach to something).
- How's the ride? How the car is riding often shows us what kind of obstacles and hardships we are experiencing. A bumpy ride, seeing rocks in the road or other obstacles and dangers, including a traffic sign indicating danger, shows us what environment we are currently navigating through and how easy or hard we feel the journey has been.
- How's the car? If the car is missing a tire or other important part, you might ask what is missing in your life that you need right now? Do you have a flat tire? If so, you may feel as though your life is going nowhere and you are stuck or stranded in your current situation. Was the car overheating? Dreaming of a car overheating could mean you are overheating and expending too much energy. You may need to slow down and may be at risk of burning out. You are taking on too much and may need a break to re-evaluate.
- Are there other cars around you? The other cars could symbolize others but more likely represent other aspects of who you are that are either unknown to you or repressed/ignored. If you know these people in real life, they could represent traits, behaviors, or feelings you associate with them that you also possess or want to possess. Being in traffic could symbolize being crowded or overwhelmed.
- What color is the car? Colors can symbolize different things to different people but many colors have a general meaning to all. For more information, view the Dream Dictionary of Colors.
- How do you feel in the dream? Driving fast and experiencing a sensation of elation means something quite different than driving fast and experiencing feelings of fear and panic.
Armored Car in Dreams
If you see an armored car in a dream, you may want to ask yourself where in your life you are insecure or where you feel the need to overprotect yourself. Since this is associated with a car, the insecurity may pertain to what you have done in your life so far or the direction you are currently taking. Where the car is going or what the car contains may give you a clue about the core insecurity influencing your current path.
If the insecurity does not apply, it is possible the dream means that you feel you need to be more careful with your money.
Bumper Car in Dreams
Bumper cars can have two very different meanings so it is important to consider the context of the dream and the dreamer's feelings associated with bumper cars.
- Bumper cars could represent fortitude, flexibility, and the ability to quickly recover from hardships and setbacks.
- Bumper cars could also mean that you feel your life is going nowhere or that you have been traveling aimlessly, without purpose. There also could be a sense of feeling trapped within a game involving competition and butting heads with others.
Cable Cars, Trains, Subways, and Buses in Dreams
Since cable cars, trains, subways and buses all ride on a set path, seeing them in dreams could mean you do not believe you have control over your path in life. This could be both positive and negative.
- On one hand, the dream could represent a belief in a bigger picture, a grand design, fate, and a higher purpose for yourself and your life. This symbol shows that you feel that your decisions are less important than surrendering to something larger than yourself. Riding on the cable car (or train, subway, bus, etc.) could mean you're "on track" and that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
- On the other hand, this dream could also show that you are being passive in your life's decisions. You may be just following the masses, not listening to your inner voice, and over-influenced by others. Perhaps you have made compromises in order to avoid conflict or maintain the status quo.
Since they run on a schedule and have a specific set path, missing your ride can indicate you feel you have missed an opportunity or fear you will. Perhaps you fell behind and are in need of catching up in order to achieve your goals.
Car Accident or Being Hit by a Car in a Dream
Dreaming of a car accident may symbolize your emotional state and can indicate being overrun with anxiety, fear, or "driving" yourself too hard. This dream may be telling you to slow down before you hit disaster. It is important to rethink or re-plan your course of action and set yourself on a better path to avoid burn-out.
A dream that you are in a car crash with another car may symbolize that your beliefs, way of life, or goals are conflicting with another's or you are having an inner tug-of-war. It may also represent an experience you have had that was shocking to you and left an impression that changed how you think or feel about the world, where you are headed, or how you approach life.
A dream that you have been rear-ended could mean that something from your past is still impacting you now in some way. You need to learn from the past and acknowledge something that is holding you back in order to move forward.
Car Dealership in Dreams
A dream that you are in a car dealership may refer to some decision that you need to make about where you want to go in life. You are trying to figure out your purpose, set goals, and decide on a direction in life.
Explore your personal experiences in car dealerships. Have you struggled to find what you need or want? Do you feel pressured or manipulated into buying a car you do not want or cannot afford? How do your answers to these questions translate to other areas in your life right now?
A Dream of Car Fire
Dreaming of a car fire may represent two different sentiments and depends upon context and the feelings the fire evokes in the dreamer.
- The car fire could represent intense anger associated with one's life path and choices that have led to the current position. This is often also associated with anger and defiance towards authority and resentment towards others with power and control.
- Fire can also be cleansing and renewing. Perhaps you have realized you were on a dangerous path and need to make a drastic change. Perhaps you have been reckless, have hit rock bottom, or need to give something up and start over again. This is a symbol often dreamed by substance abusers and may relate to the phoenix within mythology.
Carjacked in a Dream
To dream that you have been carjacked may show you that things are not going as planned. Have you lost direction in life? Are you being pulled in the wrong direction? Do you feel circumstances in life have forced you on a different course? Are you allowing something or someone outside of yourself to control your life?
Car Parts in Dreams
- Car battery: This symbol tends to relate to your stamina and energy. A dead battery suggests you are overworked and fatigued. You need to slow down and "recharge your batteries" or you run the risk of burning out.
- Car radiator: This symbol may be showing you that you need to cool off. You are getting too worked up over something.
- Carburetor: If you have knowledge of cars and what a carburetor actually does, this symbol could represent emotional, spiritual, and physical balance. Considering most cars do not have a carburetor, this may also symbolize a part of your life that is out-dated, no longer needed, and in need of a change.
- Gas tank: Dreaming of a gas tank shows that you need to take an inventory of your energy. It is important to take care of yourself in order to have the continued strength to persevere through your individual journey. Dreaming of an empty gas tank means you are running out of gas in real life and need to relax, recharge, and regain your strength. Dreaming of a full gas tank shows you that you are prepared for the long journey ahead.
- Handles: If a dream is focused on car handles, it may be showing a few things. Based on context, you may be contemplating a major shift in direction or making a major change in life. A handle also may represent a feeling that one cannot escape one's need to continue on this current path. It may indicate a need for a break from goals and a need to replenish energy and spirit before continuing.
- Horn: Dreaming of a car horn or beeping a car horn shows that you need attention from others or that you need to pay more attention to something highlighted in the dream. Horns are typically used to avoid dangers on the road by alerting others to your presence. This may relate to a situation in your current life. Perhaps you need to put others on notice and express yourself more and feel heard.
- Steering wheel: Dreams that focus on the steering wheel show how much control you feel you have in your life and the direction it is taking. Driving a car with a steering wheel that is not working means you feel a loss of control.
- Tires: Tires are like feet: they take us where we need to go. If our tires are working well, it shows us we believe we have all that we need to continue on our journey. Missing tires shows us we feel unprepared for what is ahead and simply do not have what it takes to get there. A flat tire may show us that we are wearing out or have lost some of our ability to continue on due to emotional trauma or the psychological effect all the bumps in the road have had on us.
- Trunk: Dreaming of a trunk of a car represents your emotional baggage. What is in the trunk? The trunk may refer to what is always in the back of our mind and could also refer to what in our past is influencing us now. The trunk may symbolize what unconscious influences we have that are impacting our journey.
- Window: To be focused on the car window could mean you are reflecting about your life and current choices. Being unable to roll up the windows of your car shows that you not only may feel you cannot fully protect yourself from the elements but are also hesitating or showing some reservation about the direction that you are taking in life or the path that you have chosen.
- Windshield wipers: This symbol shows you how clear your vision is of your future and how conscious you are of your current emotional/mental health. Wipers that are not working properly may show that you are not seeing yourself or a situation clearly. Something is hidden from your view either because it is unconscious or you have ignored or repressed it. Driving in the rain or a storm with wipers that are working well shows that you are able to weather the storm and able to see through challenges and keep your focus on your ultimate goals.
Carriage in a Dream
Seeing an old-fashioned carriage in your dream could mean that your beliefs and ideas are a bit outdated themselves. Perhaps your traditional ways have moved into being a bit stuck in the past. It may mean that parts of your life that you cling to are becoming obsolete and no longer of use to you. This symbol suggests a clinging to nostalgia and a possible reluctance to change and evolve.
The carriage may also relate to fairy tales, depending upon the context. Does your life resemble a fairy tale? Have you been stuck on unrealistic ideals that you have held on to, sabotaging realistic goals for yourself? Seeing a carriage in a dream demands further exploration in what works for you now in order to achieve your dreams.
Carwash in a Dream
Dreaming that you are at a carwash suggests that you need to clean up your self-image and that you are ready to make a fresh start.
Golf Cart in a Dream
A golf cart in your dream may show that you are too cavalier or careless in the pursuit of your personal goals and that you have no sense of urgency in things. This may also mean your goals and efforts have been superficial and that your pursuits have been childish or materialistic.
Go-Kart in a Dream
A go-kart in a dream could represent your ability to navigate through life's course with all of its difficult twists and turns. The dream may also be a pun on your "drive" and aspirations.
Haunted Car in Dreams
A haunted car in your dream represents unfinished goals. Perhaps obstacles and influences on the way have changed your life's path so much that your former goals and pursuits are now haunting you as you progress on a different path. This could relate to jobs, relationships, or other areas of life.
Industrial cars and trucks in dreams symbolize physical labor and the amount of working you are doing or need to do on your current path. This could reflect your current daily activities and occupation or it could symbolize other type of work of a more mental/psychological nature.
Parked Car in Dreams
Seeing a parked car in a dream may mean you are stuck and life has stalled: you are going nowhere fast. This could have negative and positive meanings. If you need a break, a detour from your current path (perhaps a break from work?), then this is a positive symbol. If you have goals and dreams that you are attempting to accomplish, then this symbol may mean your focus needs to be channeled differently. Have you been waiting for things to come to you or land in your lap? A parked car is rather passive and may relate to you being too passive in your life. Perhaps you have been "spinning your wheels" and need a fresh start with a new approach.
If you can't remember where you parked your car, you may be feeling lost in life and not only uncertain where to go but even where to start. You are undecided about what you want to do with your life.
Police Car in Dreams
A police car in your dream could mean that help is on the way or that you are open to and seeking help. You may be experiencing inner turmoil and may need intervention.
A police car may also represent rules and restrictions you are imposing on yourself and your life.
Race Car in Dreams
Race cars in dreams typically symbolize a fast-paced and "racy" approach to life. Depending upon the context of the dream, this could also be a warning that your current pace is dangerous and there is potential to spin out of control.
Race cars can indicate a competitive, headstrong, and driven nature. If there are two race cars racing each other, it could also show two competing ideas or goals that are currently on your mind.
Standard or Stickshift Transmission in a Dream
Dreaming of a car that isn't automatic but instead has a standard transmission may show you feel the need to control many small details of your life. This feeling may be associated with your current burdens or insecurities that cause you to want to over-control things.
Having a dream that focuses on automatic transmission may mean you feel everything falls into place and is working as planned. If the automatic transmission in your dream is faulty, it may show that your plan is not working, you feel setbacks are out of your control, and you're having difficulty overcoming them.
Stolen Car in a Dream
Having your car stolen in a dream often reflects a feeling of being robbed of who you are, your identity, and the power you have to get to where you need to go in life. This not only reflects a sense of loss but also a sense of feeling stripped of your power which leaves you feeling stranded without the ability to get to where you need to go. This may relate to big areas in life such as occupation, significant relationships, or some other situation that has been significant and self-defining for you.
Seeing or interacting with a toy car in a dream could symbolize a desire to gain more control over your life. There is an element of play and planning for the real thing in this type of dream. Depending upon the feelings associated with the dream, this could be a symbol of preparation or it also could be a symbol of immaturity and skirting adult-life responsibilities.
Questions & Answers
I had a dream that my mom got hit by a car. What does that mean?
Dreaming your mother gets hit by a car or is otherwise hurt or killed is actually a dream theme I hear often. Dreams like this usually relate to fears related to our relationship with the other person or something the person could represent. A mother could represent your mother or she could represent certain values or traits you associate with her as well as the caretaker within you. Seeing someone else get hit by a car could relate to the difficulty all experience with growing up, maturing and adjusting to the changing roles our parents take in our lives. At some stages, detaching from our parents can feel like the psychological severing or death of the relationship. The first thin I would wonder about your dream is if it is symbolizing for you your fears that your current life's path and personal goals are causing you to lose your connection with your mother, change your relationship with her in some way or go against her wishes. I view dreams as allowing us to work out an issue. After this dream, I would want to pay attention to any subsequent dreams over the next few weeks to monitor my adjustment. As with all stages in life, this is something to work out, overcome and resolve. The dream could relate to something specific recently (within the last few weeks) that changed your life, resulting in a shift with your mother/child relationship.Helpful 63
I just had a dream of my beloved old car. I had parked while on a trip. When I returned the only thing left was the body. No wheels, engine or interior was there. I'm recently diagnosed with a rare cancer that is usually terminal. Does my dream about my old car mean that I am going to die soon?
I would not regard this dream as reflecting whether or not you would die soon. Instead, I would regard this dream as reflecting your fears and progress towards accepting and understanding this new information about your health. If I had this dream, the car would symbolize my body and my life. Parking the car on a trip would symbolize a detour I am taking. Returning to the car to see it is missing wheels the engine and interior, would reflect a fear I am losing parts of self. I would associate the wheels with the ability to go where I want or need to go on my life's journey. I would associate the engine with my sense of power and energy to move forward. I would associate my comfort, inner strength and a general "inside of me" concept with the interior. The dream would reflect how I am facing the loss of control I have over my health and physical body. I would regard the dream as functioning to allow me to grapple with very large concepts while I also accept what is not in my control and begin to identify how I can have a positive influence over my health.Helpful 13
I had a dream where I was sleeping. I woke up and saw a car driving towards my house and killed me. What does this dream about my death by car mean?
If I had this dream, the first thing I would ask myself is, "Am I going down a destructive path?" I would wonder who was driving the car. I normally associate cars and driving with the direction my life is going and where my journey is taking me. My house would represent myself and all that is important to me. I would not be concerned that I am killed in my dream because I normally associate death in dreams with an end of something with a more abstract meaning. I would explore what has entered my life- a lifestyle, a behavior, a relationship I have entered, etc. that is harmful to me. I would also want to explore the possibility that my dream is reflecting a fear of change and difficulty letting go of old aspects of who I am in order to welcome in something new. I would regard this dream as a "wake up call" since I am even sleeping and then waking up in the dream. The dream would serve the purpose of alerting me to something I need to change or modify in my life.Helpful 11