An illuminated brake light on your dashboard is one of those things you should never ignore. The dangers from doing so are definitely real; besides, the point of any warning light is that you heed it right away. The next time you see the brake light come on in the dashboard, you should know it is due to one or more of the following things.
Your Parking Brake is Activated
This is commonly shown in the dashboard as a yellow or red circle with an exclamation mark down the middle or the letter “P”. Check the car’s manual to make sure what it is, and read the instructions on how to proceed. What you should not do is ignore this sign and keep driving, because that could damage brake rotors and pads. After releasing the parking brake properly, you should see this light turn off.
Low Brake Fluid Level
A yellow circle run through with a “!” sign generally means that the car’s brake fluid is running low, but there is enough left for the system to properly function. You do need to be worried if you see the same thing in red; this means you need to get the vehicle to a professional immediately. The sign may stand for empty brake fluid or a serious issue with your brake’s hydraulic system. If the light stays on, driving any further could be catastrophic, or at least costly. An expert can tell you what is wrong, and what must be done to fix it.
The ABS is Acting Up
Most modern vehicles come with anti-lock brake systems, which keep the wheels of the car from locking up, as well as the tires from slipping in situations with little available traction. The warning light for ABS is separate, and can change based on the vehicle. If it comes on, you may have an electrical malfunction on your hands, or even a dirty speed sensor. If the latter malfunctions, the ABS would not work right. When this light goes on, take the car to a technician as soon as possible, and get him to run a diagnostic check.
The one common thing that helps in all these scenarios is having a trusted repair shop to visit when things go south. Some even inspect your brakes for free, which is always a good option to be able to enjoy