Why is My Brake Light On?

October 5th, 2015
Brake Repair in Bloomington, IL That red brake system warning light is not something you want to see. While it’s normal for it to come on briefly when you start your car as part of the bulb check that lights up other dashboard warning lights, a brake warning light that stays lit, blinks or lights up intermittently is a sign of a real problem. But what problem does it indicate?
 
In most cases, an illuminated brake warning light means that there’s a problem with the brake hydraulic system. In cases where the light is intermittent or flickers when the vehicle is turning, chances are it means that the level of brake fluid in the system is low. It can also be an indicator of brake pads that are starting to become extremely worn. In those cases, though, you will probably notice other signs such as a squealing or grinding noise and poor brake performance. 
In many cases, you may not even notice much of a change in braking performance or the feel of the brake pedal. That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s not a problem. Low brake fluid means that there’s a leak somewhere, and you are going to need a thorough inspection of the brake system to pin down where the
leak is occurring. 
 

ABS Light

On vehicles that are equipped with antilock braking systems (ABS), sensors monitor the speed of each spinning wheel and send information back to a processor. The processor then regulates a chain of valves and pumps that meter the braking force to each wheel, heading off the possibility of a dangerous skid during a hard stop.
 
Since there are so many parts to an ABS system, there is more potential for things to go wrong. Usually, ABS on newer vehicles is fairly trouble-free and reliable, but problems can still occur. Many vehicles share parts and components between the ABS system and normal hydraulic brakes. If the yellow ABS light comes on and then the red brake light a moment later, chances are your vehicle is equipped with this type of system. 
Other Signs of Brake Trouble
 
Chances are if you’re having brake problems that aren’t related to ABS or the brakes’ hydraulic system, they are due to excessive wear of the brake pads.
 
Symptoms include: 
 
  • Pull to one side while braking
  • Vibration or pulsing that can be felt through brake pedal
  • Unexpected lockup of one or more wheels while brakig
  • Excessive brake pedal travel or “spongy” feeling pedal
 
If you’re in Bloomington, IL and are in need of brake repair, contact Don Owen Tire and set up an appointment for brake service. We’ve been serving drivers in Bloomington, IL for thirty years now, with top-notch brake repair and a full range of auto repair services. There are other problems on a vehicle that you may be able to put off for awhile, but brakes aren’t one of those! 
  Posted in: Auto Repair 101