Virginia Auto Service

What Causes the Brake Warning Light to Come On?

There are many drivers that are in the habit of ignoring their dashboard warning lights when they appear. For the safety and longevity of your vehicle, this is never a good idea.

The brakes are your vehicle’s most important safety feature. When the brake warning light appears, you need to have your vehicle inspected as soon as possible. The light often implies that the brakes are becoming worn and will need to be replaced soon. However, in some cases, it is possible that your vehicle’s brake system is leaking brake fluid, which is an urgent problem that needs attention right away.

In modern vehicle’s there are usually three different brake warning lights. One light is for the parking brake and it is usually red or yellow in color. Another brake light is for the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and it is usually yellow in color. And, finally, there is one for the actual brakes. This one is red in color and if it comes on it could indicate that there is a serious problem.  If your vehicle only has one brake light, take time to check the parking brake before you panic and attempt to diagnose other possible problems.

These are some of the reasons why your brake lights may turn on, and what you should do about it:

Low brake fluid/Worn brake pads

Often, the brake warning light is telling you that your vehicle is low on brake fluid, which is a result of worn brake pads. Carl Roberson, owner of the highly rated Carl’s Cool Cars, a service center in Las Vegas, explains the situation well, “As the pad wears, the brake caliper piston extends further to keep the pad in contact with the rotor. The brake fluid fills this extra area inside the caliper as the piston advances, and eventually the level in the master cylinder drops.” For this reason, when the brake fluid is low, most mechanics will not only recommend filling the brake fluid but suggest the brake pads be replaced as well.

Brakes leaking

The brake warning light will sometimes come on because of leaking brakes. Without brake fluid, your brakes will not be capable of stopping the car. For this reason, it is very important to have your vehicle inspected when the light illuminates on your dashboard. You don’t want to be a danger to yourself, your passengers, or other motorists and pedestrians.

Faulty speed sensor

There is a device inside of your wheel that determines the speed at which your tires are rotating and sends its readings to the ABS control module. This device is known as the speed sensor, and it is a part of the ABS. If it isn’t working properly the ABS light will come on and your vehicle’s anti-lock braking system will not function properly. When the light comes on it could indicate that either the speed sensor needs replaced, or simply that it needs to be cleaned- which our professional mechanics can easily do.

The automotive professionals at Virginia Auto Service, are pleased to help you with your auto repair and service needs. If your brake warning light comes on schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible. We are your go-to in Phoenix, AZ for reliable, high-quality auto repair services. Call (602) 266-0200 or schedule an appointment online.

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