brake system warning light

Reasons why brake system warning light is on and how to fix it

Your car brakes, which are possibly its most crucial component, need to be serviced regularly to prevent accidents and serious injuries, if not worse. When the brake system warning light comes on, it’s crucial that you pay attention to it and take necessary actions. You should never disregard your car’s brake warning light when it comes on.

Most of your car’s dashboard lights will briefly come on when you start your vehicle. This indicates that the illuminated systems are being inspected in order to confirm any anomalies. The instrument cluster’s corresponding light will be toggled back off once the system has confirmed that it is in good operating condition. Any lights that remain on could be a sign that the corresponding system has a problem.

Well, in this article, I’ll be discussing the meaning and reasons why the brake system warning light is on and how to fix it.

brake system warning light

Okay, let’s get to it.


What does the brake system warning light mean?

When the “brake system warning light” appears on your dashboard, it signals that there’s a potential issue with your vehicle’s braking system. It will also illuminate if the parking brake is engaged. This signal may appear as the word “BRAKE” or as an exclamation mark enclosed in a circle.

When your brake light illuminates, your automobile is warning you that either there is insufficient brake fluid in your car, the parking brake is engaged, there is a problem with the ABS unit, or there is an issue with the sensors.

As soon as possible, the vehicle should be inspected by a certified mechanic because driving a vehicle with a defective brake system can impair its ability to stop and raise the likelihood of an accident.

The safety of you, the occupants, and other road users depends on you paying immediate attention to the brake system warning light because some brake problems can also result in long-term damage if ignored.

Common Brake Warning Light Problems

  • The following are the common brake warning light problems:

The brake service light is always on

Check to see if your parking brake is engaged first if you get into your car and notice that the brake service warning light is on the dash. In smaller passenger automobiles, this handle is located on the driver’s side, next to the center console.

The parking brake is often located on the driver’s side floorboard, far to the left, on larger SUVs and trucks. Before moving your car, release the parking brake to avoid degrading the braking system and pads more quickly and incurring unneeded costs. There may be a few problems if the parking brake is found to be disengaged yet the light is still on:

  • Your parking brake lever/pedal needs to be adjusted.
  • The brake pads are worn down and need to be replaced.
  • Your hydraulics are amiss and likely losing pressure/fluid.


If your parking brake requires adjustment, it’s an easy remedy that won’t cause any major problems. It also shouldn’t compromise the safety of your driving. If your brake pads need to be replaced, you should do it right away. If you wait, your brake pads could totally wear out and start harming your rotors, which could triple the expense of your repairs.

Finally, if your braking system is losing pressure, it won’t be long before you lose all control of your vehicle and put both you and other drivers on the road at risk.

Brake Service Warning Light Turns On When I Hit The Pedal

When you press the brake pedal, your brake service light may illuminate, signaling either severe brake fluid shortage in the master cylinder or hydraulic loss on one side of your car.

When you push and release the brake pedal, your master cylinder, where all of your brake fluid is stored, helps distribute brake fluid to your braking components. If the fluid level is too low, you could lose all stopping power, which could be harmful to you and anybody nearby while your car is moving.

The Antilock Braking System light is on

Your Antilock Braking System (ABS) light is the additional brake warning indicator that you might notice. When you turn on your car, if the ABS light comes on, you need to get your brake system checked out as soon as possible.

The ABS system in your car prevents your brakes from locking up while you’re trying to stop, which helps to lessen skidding. Even while you can still drive your car with the ABS warning light on, it’s preferable to get it fixed as soon as possible. A trip to the dealer is usually necessary because they have the tools needed to fix ABS problems, such as changing the ABS speed sensor.

How do you identify which brake warning light it is?

There are many unique icons on the instrument panel of your car. But it can be a little tricky to figure out which icon belongs to which system. There is more than one possible icon indicating problems with your brake system, which furthers the confusion. The following are some examples of brake-related icons you could see:

Brake Hydraulic System Warning Light

Brake Hydraulic System Warning Light

This light signals a problem with the hydraulic brake system. It may be that your brake fluid is low if it toggles intermittently or seems to happen only when turning. If it continues to run, it could indicate a more serious problem.

ABS Light

ABS Light

You should be made aware of any potential problems with your ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) or standard service braking system by this light. This light could also come on if the master cylinder reservoir or the ABS reservoir’s brake fluid levels are low.

Parking Brake/Hand-Brake Warning Light

Parking Brake/Hand-Brake Warning Light

This icon indicates that your hand brake or parking brake is currently in use. It serves as a reminder to turn it off before attempting to drive. An electronic parking brake system is utilized in some vehicles. This symbol, along with a wrench symbol, will appear if maintenance is necessary.

Brake Pad Warning Light

Brake Pad Warning Light

If it is determined that the brake pads are worn out or require maintenance, some luxury car owners may see the light appear in their instrument cluster. The dashed outer lines represent the actual pads. Additionally, worn-out pads may pulse or squeak to alert you that it’s time to replace them.

Press Brake Light

Press Brake Light

This light serves more as an instructional function than as a “Warning” light. Push-button starters, will usually display when you need to apply the brake before starting the vehicle or shift out of Park and into Drive or Reverse (for automatic transmissions). If it illuminates while you’re driving, the light is probably broken.

Can you drive with the brake system warning light on?

It is not recommended to drive while the brake system warning light is on. This light indicates a problem with the vehicle’s braking system, which could affect how well it brakes and raise the risk of an accident. To find out what causes the warning light to come on and make any repairs that are required, it’s crucial to get the brake system checked as soon as you can by a qualified mechanic. Additionally, it’s crucial to drive carefully, leaving more space between you and the car in front of you and accelerating gently instead of stopping suddenly. Always keep in mind that both your safety and the safety of everyone else on the road matters.

Reasons why the brake system warning light is on

The following are the reasons why your brake system warning light is on:

  • Low brake fluid level
  • Worn brake pads
  • Failing master cylinder
  • Malfunctioning ABS system
  • Brake system leak
  • Bad brake booster
  • ABS control module failure
  • Brake system leak
  • Faulty brake light switch
  • Malfunctioning brake calipers or wheel cylinders
  • Wiring issues in the brake system.

The braking system warning light may illuminate for a variety of reasons, so it’s crucial to keep in mind that this is not a complete list. In order to make sure the brake system is operating properly, it is crucial to have the vehicle checked by a professional if the light appears.

How do I fix the brake system warning light?

Here’s how to fix the brake system warning light:

  • Park your vehicle in a secure area.
  • Check the level of your brake fluid. Fill it up if necessary with the proper brake fluid (see your owner’s manual for specifications).
  • Firmly depress the brake pedal while the car is still in park. You might have a brake fluid leak if it slowly sinks to the ground.
  • Look for any areas of yellowish fluid underneath the car. If you spot a leak, stop driving immediately. Visit the nearest repair shop for service.
  • Make sure the parking brake is fully disengaged.
  • Confirm that the brake lights on your vehicle are operational and not burned out.

Note: “If you are still unable to figure out what’s wrong, stay off the road. Have a qualified mechanic inspect your vehicle.”

Brake Service Warning Light Repair cost

While the brake service warning light may indicate a number of various issues, your brake fluid is typically the focus of the typical repair. If you have problems with your brake service warning light, such as brake fluid leaks or a replacement master cylinder, you should talk to a brake professional about testing for leaks and master cylinder problems. Depending on your car and the cost of the parts, a master cylinder repair typically costs between $300 and $500.

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In conclusion, the brake system warning light is an important indicator that alerts drivers to potential problems with the braking system of their vehicle. It’s important to pay attention to this dashboard light when it comes on. Its activation can be caused by a variety of issues, from worn brake pads and insufficient brake fluid to more complicated issues like a broken ABS sensor or a failing master cylinder.

To ensure your safety on the road, start by figuring out why the brake system warning light is on. It’s critical to address the underlying problems as soon as possible through inspection, maintenance, and any necessary fixes or replacements. Ignoring this warning light may affect how well your car brakes, but more crucially, it may put your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road in danger. Therefore, it is a responsible and essential part of car ownership to respond right away when this warning light illuminates.

That is all for this article, where the meaning and reasons why the brake system warning light is on and how to fix it are been discussed I hope it was helpful, if so, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading, see yo around!