What Should I Do If My Brake Warning Light Comes On?
There are 2 main warning lights for the brake system, though many manufacturers combine these to simplify things. One let's you know the handbrake is still on, and will have a “P” symbol, whilst a “!” means that there is an issue with the system.
What does the warning light mean?
If you have a single warning light, then it could simply be that the handbrake is still engaged. Ensure that it's fully off, and if the warning light remains, then it's likely there is an issue with the braking system. Usually, this is an issue with the brake fluid.
There is a sensor in the brake fluid reservoir that helps to ensure there is enough fluid in the braking system. Over time, your brake pads wear down and this means more fluid is pushed into the brake lines. This means less fluid is in the system and therefore the reservoir will dip below the level required to trip the sensor. It could also be indicative of a leak in the system, which will cause the fluid level to drop.
What should I do if the warning light comes on?
When the light comes on, first check that your handbrake is fully disengaged. If that doesn't fix it, check the fluid level in the reservoir. If your fluid level is low, then have the car inspected for leaks or worn out brake pads or lines. If the fluid level is fine, then you should get your parking brake cable inspected.
Is it safe to drive my car when the brake warning light is on?
This depends on how severe the issue is. Low fluid levels will mean that the braking system won't be working as effectively as possible, and you could have trouble stopping the vehicle safely. If the handbrake isn't fully disengaged, the constant resistance can cause damage to your vehicle's drivetrain and could lead to a costly repair down the line.