Without your brakes, you’re in for a serious and dangerous problem when you drive.
So, what happens if you have a brake light on, and what can you do? This scary light can mean anything from your being in need of a simple inspection to a major repair.
No matter what, your brake light on should never be ignored. Read on to find out what it could mean, and what you should do about it.
You Have Low Brake Fluid
Over time, the brake fluid can get to dangerously low levels if it’s not corrected. This is a common cause for the brake light on, and luckily, it’s also a super-easy fix and should be part of your maintenance plan.
A sensor inside your master brake cylinder will indicate that the brake fluid level is low. This sensor sends a signal to the dashboard, causing the infamous light to illuminate.
You may have low fluid levels due to a leak, which is something you should get fixed as soon as possible. Other times, it may just be a matter of evaporation and you just need a quick fluid top-off.
Brake Light On: Turn the Emergency Brake Off!
This might sound silly, but often, people’s brake light turns on because they forgot to turn the emergency brake off. The sensor in your car will indicate when this brake is activated.
If you don’t put the emergency brake all the way down, it will light up the dashboard and give you a warning. Your vehicle might think the emergency brake is still engaged, and it wants to give you a heads up before you try to drive.
When the parking brake is left on, it can wear down the lining of your brake shoes, causing them to wear out quickly. Always check to make sure the emergency brake is safely in the “off” or down position before you hit the gas pedal.
The ABS System is in Trouble
Some vehicles are equipped with ABS, or an anti-lock braking system. If your ABS light is on, it may be related to this part of your brake system specifically.
The brake light might come on without the ABS light, or they may both turn on at the same time. If you’ve checked the brake fluid and you’re sure the parking brake is not on, ask a mechanic to help you decipher the codes in your onboard diagnostics system.
Special scanning tools should be able to read the ABS codes, but they may not depending on your vehicle and the facility’s current software. If they can’t read the code this way, a physical inspection of the ABS system should help determine the root of the problem.
Don’t Ignore the Brake Light
If you see the brake light on, don’t take chances. Get your vehicle inspected as soon as possible. Whether it’s leaking fluid or a you have a worn-out part, you cannot leave your vehicle’s brakes to chance.
Visit our website to see our current specials, car repair services, and to schedule an appointment for your vehicle.