Brake Service Light Comes on, What to do?

Brakes are the most essential systems on your car and any warning from the brake service light can alert you of an upcoming danger because of the malfunctioning of one of the most crucial parts on your vehicle. Even though these warnings are the most common complaints, they are more often than not ignored by drivers to a point where the repair will cost you way more than before. More than the expense, it is important to attend to your brake problems immediately since they determine whether your car stops or not in an emergency situation.

Brake Warning Light turning on in Red color

When the dashboard light becomes on or blinks in an alarming red color, it indicates a potential problem with the corresponding system. This risk could be compromising the general safety of your vehicle and needs to be immediately attended to. It is not normal for your brake service light to be on constantly and it is important to differentiate between the type of warning lights and their indications. 

In some situations, a false alarm can be caused due to a broken or corroded Anti -lock Brake System (ABS), but you should not confuse this with the other brake service warning light as that is specifically for the brake system of your vehicle. The ABS light is different and whenever it illuminates, you should check the entire ABS system for any damages like corrosion or broken rings and get them repaired or replaced, as required. 

Brake service Light warning indications :

There are a various number of reasons as to why you’re getting a brake warning light and lets discuss some of those common reasons in detail 

  1. Low brake fluid level : The most common cause for the brake warning light to illuminate is that your brake fluid level is even lesser than the minimum. Your brake fluid might be low or empty in your master cylinder. As your brakes start wearing over the years, they start using more brake fluid comparatively, which is why you should have your brake fluid every year to ensure brake safety. A low fluid level means that it is time to change your brakes. The brake fluid is divided into two sections, each controlling one side of the vehicle. If a problem arises in one side of the fluid, the other one still operates your brake system. But in case both sides have a problem, the ability to brake normally is lost by the car. Another possibility could be that the line delivering brake fluids to the brake pads is damaged, but in any of these situations, the brakes are not functional at their normal best, which is a warning that you should immediately take your car to a garage for service or get it towed at best. 
  2. Engaged parking brake : Another reason for your brake warning light on the dashboard to be illuminated is that your parking or emergency brake is still engaged. Once  you pull the emergency brake, you’ll notice that the light goes on in front of you. As soon as you release this parking brake, the light should go off. If the light doesn’t go off, it could simply mean that your parking brake is still engaged. The parking brake hasn’t been fully disengaged and you should attempt once or twice more. Driving before fully disengaging your parking brake has a lot of degrading effects on your car like faster wearing off of brakes to severe damage to your wheels and braking system. 
  3. Brake pad thickness : Sometimes the brake warning light is on because of worn out brake pads. This happens when your brake pads are used for a long time to the point where the rotor disc comes in contact with a part of the calliper because of lack of brake pad material. It is not advisable to drive your car in such a condition because your car may not stop when required. The light will remain illuminated until the brakes are fixed and light is repaired. Worn out brake pads can lead to a disaster if not replaced, therefore in some high end cars, there are special sensors for brake pads that detect that the pads have started wearing out and have reached a certain level where they need to be replaced. 

These are some of the most common issues because of which your brake system light might illuminate and give you a warning. This feature is present in all cars for a reason and you should never ignore any warning that involves your brakes. You must take your car to a certified and reputed garage and get your brake system fixed before thinking of driving back on the road. No matter how big or small the issue is, if your brake system light is on and it is not because of the engagement of the parking brake, get your car checked immediately. 

Additional Reads

Why does the Mechanic always “find” something else that is wrong with your car when you go in for a simple oil change?

Why is a Pre-Purchase Inspection important before buying a used car?

We are open from 8am - 6pm Monday to Saturday