What does the “brake system warning light” mean? How to fix

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.

What does the "brake system warning light" mean? How to fix

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, you’ll get to know the answers to the following questions:

  • What is a brake system?
  • What does the brake system warning light mean?
  • How do you identify which brake warning light it is?
  • Can you drive with the brake system warning light on?
  • What causes the brake system warning light to come on?
  • How do I fix brake system warning light?

Read more: Everything you need to know about a car ABS light  

Ok, let’s get to it.


What is a brake system?

A brake system is a mechanical device designed to slow and stop the motion of vehicle. The moving energy of the vehicle must be converted into heat by several brake system components in order for this to happen. Friction is used to do this. When two objects rub against one another, they are creating friction, which is a resistance to motion.

Read more: Understanding automotive braking system

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.

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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. For push-button starters, it 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.

Read more: Traction control light: meaning, causes, and how to reset

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.

Read more: Is it safe to drive a car with the SRS airbag light on?

What causes the brake system warning light to come on?

Here is a list of common causes of the brake system warning light coming 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.

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How do i fix brake system warning light?

Here’s how to fix 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.

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

Read more: What does service brake assist mean?


Can I drive with brake system warning light?

Any issue with the brake must be considered a serious safety concern, and the vehicle shouldn’t be driven until the issue has been fixed by a professional.

What does it mean when the brake system light comes on?

When someone mentions a brake system warning light, they typically mean the BRAKE light, which is the simplest (and oldest) light on your dashboard. When this light turns on, one of two things will happen. Either the parking brake is engaged or the hydraulic fluid (brake fluid) in the master cylinder is low.

What should you do if the brake system warning light comes on?

As soon as you can, safely stop the car, then contact your breakdown service. If you have both brake and ABS warning lights on, it may indicate a serious problem with your brakes. You will put both your own safety and the safety of other road users at risk if you keep driving.

What can cause the red brake warning light to come on?

When the parking brake is engaged, the red brake warning light illuminates. Either the brake fluid is low or there is a fluid leak. Since the other systems depend on fully functional brake hydraulics to function, they are often disabled when the red brake light is on.

What are 3 reasons the brake light can come on in the dash?

When the emergency brake is engaged, the braking system is low on brake fluid, the ABS unit is having some problems, or the sensors are having trouble, your car will let you know by turning on the brake light.

What does brake system problem mean?

The parking brake is engaged or the brake fluid level is low, depending on the brake system warning light.

How do I know if my brake fluid is low?

One or more of the following indications may be present if your brake fluid is low:

  • On your dashboard, the brake warning light is on.
  • Low-quality, filthy, or discolored brake fluid is visible.
  • The brake pedal feels soft or spongy.
  • Vehicle takes longer to stop than usual.

Can I add brake fluid myself?

Is it possible to simply add brake fluid to my car? Simply put, yes. This is something you can easily perform on your own without too much trouble, even though you can have an experienced technician work on your automobile for you.

Can I drive my car with low brake fluid?

It is doable, but you must quickly refill the brake fluid. Since brakes use hydraulic fluid to operate, they are dependent on it for proper operation. Without brake fluid, your brakes will either fail completely or have an adverse impact.

How long does brake fluid last?

Brake fluid loses effectiveness as it collects moisture. Because of this, changing brake fluid every two years is recommended. However, one of the maintenance elements that drivers frequently overlook is brake fluid. Brake fluid is rarely replaced before it becomes defective.

What happens if brake fluid is not replaced?

Your car’s ability to stop suffers substantially from not changing the brake fluid, which results in poor braking performance. Most of the time, you can tell by pressing the brake pedal: if it feels excessively spongy, your brake fluid is probably about to fail.

That is all for this article where we discussed the answers to the following questions:

  • What is brake system?
  • What does the brake system warning light mean?
  • How do you identify which brake warning light it is?
  • Can you drive with the brake system warning light on?
  • What causes the brake system warning light to come on?
  • How do i fix brake system warning light?

I hope you learn a lot from the reading. If you do, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!