Your braking system is one of the most important systems in your car. Seeing a brake warning light come on can be a scary moment. This article will tell you how to react if your car’s brake light comes on. Most cars have one or two brake warning lights on the dashboard. When you first start your car, all of the lights on the dashboard should light up. This is the bulb check; they should go out in a few seconds. If a light doesn’t go out, then your car is alerting you of a problem. If a light does not light during the bulb check, it tells you that you need to replace the bulb.
Your car illuminates the BRAKE light to indicate one of two things:
1. That your emergency brake is on. Release it to solve the problem.
2. That you have lost brake pressure in half of the brake system (see How a Combination Valve Works for details).
Steps to Take if Your Brake Warning Light in On
1. Check the parking brake (also called an emergency brake) and attempt to release it. The warning light will stay on continuously if this device is engaged.
2. Pull over at a safe place if the parking brake is not the culprit. Your brakes may be low on brake fluid or hydraulic pressure.
3. Turn off the engine and consult your owner’s manual for the location of the master brake cylinder and the type of brake fluid your vehicle needs.
4. Open the hood of your car and take off the cap to the master cylinder reservoir. Look inside to see the level of fluid inside.
5. Pour in brake fluid until the fill line. Replace and tighten the cap.
6. Restart the engine and check your dashboard. The warning light should be off and you can continue to your destination.
7. Take your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible to have your brakes thoroughly checked out. A leak or other braking problem must be diagnosed and repaired by a professional.