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What Should I Do if a Brake Light Comes On?

There are few things that stop you in your tracks quite like an unknown warning light appearing on your dashboard. Most dashboard lights tell you when something is wrong. These warning lights usually include oil, battery, engine, and brakes. Ignoring these warning lights could put you and your vehicle at great risk. You wouldn’t drive a car without brakes, but a lot of people do almost the same thing by ignoring the brake warning light.

The winter weather on the way - falling snow

Types of Warning Lights for Brakes

The typically warning light for brakes is an exclamation point in a circle surrounded by parenthesis. But you might also have a light that says “brake” or “P.” And if you have anti-lock brakes you might also have a warning light that says, “ABS.” You will need to check your owner’s manual for the symbol and more specific instructions. But when one of these lights comes on, this is what you should do:

  1. Check the Parking Brake

If you just started your car and notice the brake light is on, try making sure you have released the emergency brake. A lot of times the light will stay on if the brake has not completely disengaged. If you know it isn’t on because of the parking brake then there is likely a problem with the brake system.

  1. Pull Over Safely

If you are driving along and the light comes on after you press on and release the brake pedal do not panic. Your vehicle has two brake hydraulic systems separate from each other. Though it may take longer, and require more force, you should be able to safely pull to the side of the road or into a parking lot and stop your car. Once out of the flow of traffic you will want to reach out to an auto mechanic and make arrangements to get your car in for diagnostics and repair.

  1. Check the Brake Fluid

If the light is yellow or intermittent, only coming on when you turn a corner, you probably have low brake fluid. The light comes on because your car’s computer senses a change in the system’s hydraulic pressure. You will need to refill or replace the brake fluid as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could end up with complete brake failure.

  1. Problem with the Anti-Lock Brake System

If you notice an ABS warning light, the cause can vary. Maybe the light is on because of an electrical malfunction. Or perhaps the wheel speed sensor is broken or dirty. You will want a mechanic to perform a diagnostic test to find the root cause of your ABS warning light.

  1. Check Your Brake Lights

Some systems even go as far as cueing the warning light if one of your rear brake lights has gone out. But to check this problem you will need a friend to stand where the brake lights and visible and watch while you turn on the car and press on the brake pedal.

Any problem with the brake system could be a major safety issue. If any one of the above warning lights comes on you will need to get your car to a mechanic in Rockville, MD for brake repair. Contact (301) 881-8530 to set up an appointment. Or stop by 12356 Wilkins Ave, Rockville, MD 20852 for a professional brake check.

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