What Does My Brake Warning Light Mean?

Jul 21, 2020

What Does My Brake Warning Light Mean?

When a light appears on our dashboard, our hearts sink and we are filled with immediate panic over what the problem could be and how much it is going to cost to fix. One of those lights that can appear is the brake warning light, which is an alarming red colour to alert you to an immediate problem with your car’s braking system.

You should never ignore a dashboard light, especially one that can compromise the safety of you and other road users. There are many reasons why the brake warning light may flash up, and we are here to tell you why.

What to do if your brake warning light comes on?

If you get into your car and notice the brake warning light has appeared and not gone away when you start driving, you need to turn your car off and inspect what the potential problem could be.

If it comes on while you’re driving, you need to remain calm and pull over when it is safe to do so. Do not ignore the brake light as this could end up causing more damage to the braking system and it could be very dangerous. Call a mechanic or tow service to have your car looked at straight away.

What causes the brake warning light to come on?

Brake fluid Brake fluid is essential to brake performance, when you press the brake pedal this pressurised fluid will work to apply pressure on the inner brake pads, squeezing them to make you slow down. Your brake pedal should feel firm, if it goes directly to the floor there could be a leak in the system.

You can check brake fluid by getting under the bonnet and looking for either a white or yellow plastic located on the driver’s side. There will be a maximum and minimum marking at the side of the reservoir. If you find that it is low, you need to have your original brake fluid flushed before adding new fluid.

Handbrake engaged

Depending on what type of handbrake your car has, you may find that it is still slightly engaged when you’re driving and this will cause the brake warning light to appear on the dash. This issue has a simple fix - just release the brake all the way!

Brake pads

If your brake pad material is close to being completely worn out, the sensor will turn the brake warning light on to let you know that it’s time to check and replace your brakes. Sometimes, brake pads can wear quicker than expected, read more about the causes of brake pad wear here.

Brake light failure

Brake lights are another important safety feature of our cars and sometimes the brake warning light can appear due to them failing. Find out how to check your brake lights at home

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