If you have ever turned on your vehicle and watched the dashboard indicators, the vehicle warning lights may quickly illuminate and then go out. This is a normal part of the ignition process of the vehicle. However, if a warning light remains lit, it indicates a problem with a specific vehicle system.
Warning lights should never be ignored. First and foremost, a warning could be a pre-cursor to a serious safety issue or if neglected, can result in further and extensive damage to your vehicle.
In this month’s blog, we examine the Brake Warning light and potential problems that may result in the illumination of this indicator.
Causes of the Brake Warning Light
In most cases, a lit Brake Warning light indicates a problem with your parking brake, or the brake fluid. If the light is lit, do not attempt to drive until you have resolved the issue and/or the warning light is extinguished.
Parking Brake: Every driver has probably driven a few feet with the parking brake on, especially if they had not noticed the warning light on the dashboard. This warning is usually red or yellow and is the first thing you should check when the light is illuminated. Driving with the parking brake can cause damage to the vehicle and it should be released before continuing.
If you have disengaged the parking brake, and the light is still lit, it is possible that there could be a problem with the switch. When the brake is engaged, it controls a switch that will send a signal to your dashboard if it thinks the brake is still engaged. Sometimes, the switch may fail, and it is still telling your vehicle that the brake is engaged. However, it may be advisable to check the brake fluid because there’s no guarantee that the problem lies with the switch.
Brake Fluid: The Brake Warning light will also illuminate when the brake fluid is low. This is something you should confirm before continuing any driving. Open the hood and check the brake fluid in the vehicle. Consult with your vehicle owner’s manual for checking the fluid level. If you notice a significant loss of fluid, there may be a leak, or it may be the result of worn brake pads. Without vital brake fluid, your braking ability is greatly diminished and impairs your ability to safely brake. Do not drive the vehicle until this situation is remedied by a service professional. Your vehicle should be towed to an auto shop, where they can inspect the braking system and determine the root cause of the issue.
The ABS Warning Light: If your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system, or ABS, any issue with that system may also illuminate a warning light. Vehicles that were manufactured after 2004, were required by law to include the ABS as a standard feature. The ABS ensures that the wheels do not lock up when you are braking hard or fast. This light may be illuminated for a variety of reasons that should be checked out by a service professional.
When it comes to your safety and security, never compromise, or ignore any brake related issues. Your braking system is designed to alert you before a serious problem, and all warnings should be taken seriously. If you have a concern about your brakes, contact the service professionals at Best Western Transmissions to schedule an appointment. We will inspect your braking system and provide you with any recommendations for repairs or maintenance.