Is the brake light on dashboard lighted up? Then you must pay attention because your vehicle is trying to tell you that there is something wrong with your braking system.
Sometimes this icon will illuminate along with the ABS light and sometimes it will turn on by itself. Since your braking system is the most important safety mechanism in your car or truck, you need to be sure that it is in working condition at all times.
There are several common things that will cause this brake warning light to come on. The good news is that at least two of them can be easily fixed without taking your vehicle down to an auto repair shop. Let's take a closer look...
If the brake light on your dash is on, there are a few important things you will need to check right away:
Simple as it sounds, this is the most probable cause of your problem in most cases.
Most vehicles have a sensor that tells the car or truck when the parking brake is on. If you don't take your parking brake it all the way off, your vehicle will think that it is still engaged and warn you when you try to drive away.
Vehicle have this inbuilt warning because if you drive with your parking brake on, it will wear down the lining of the brake shoes and make them go bad prematurely. Many newer cars have a separate warning for the parking brake and the rest of the braking system.
The second most common reason for causing a brake light on your dash is if your brake fluid is low.
There is a sensor that is inside the brake master cylinder that can tell when the fluid gets low. This sensor will illuminate the brake warning light to let the driver know that the brake system needs attention asap.
If it gets too low then that means that there is most likely a leak in your braking system and all the brake fluid will eventually leak out. If all of the brake fluid leaks out, then your brakes will no longer work.
Is both your ABS and brake light on? Then there may be a problem with the ABS (anti-lock braking system) in your vehicle.
Sometimes the brake light will come on by itself without the ABS light. Assuming that you have checked that the brake fluid reservoir is full and that the parking brake is not on, then the best thing to do is to have the codes read.
You can usually have this done at most any auto parts store, but sometimes their scan tools cannot read ABS codes so you may need to take it to a repair shop. There will most likely be a code set in the computer and this code will help you determine what the problem might be.
There is also a small chance that a problem with a brake sensor (such as the brake fluid level sensor or the parking brake sensor) or the brake light itself is causing the brake light on the dash. If you have tried everything else, then you should have these items checked.
If you still have any unresolved vehicle problems or questions, you can ask an auto mechanic online. For expert answers specific to your vehicle's make and model, I recommend JustAnswer Car. They have a large pool of certified mechanics to answer your questions for a small fee and you can also browse their answers to other users for free.