Common Reasons Your Brake Light Is On


No one wants to see a warning light on their car's dashboard. Who has the time to take their car in for an auto repair appointment? But neglecting a service indicator could result in serious damage to the car itself and to its passengers. This is especially true when the brake service light turns on.

This little light, depending on the vehicle's make, model and year, usually will glow orange or red with the word “Brake” or an exclamation mark. The brake service light is not to be mistaken for the ABS (Anti-lock Brake System) light, which should look similar, except that it replaces the exclamation mark with “ABS.” Why is your brake service light on, and what exactly does that indicate? Normally, the reason will be related to one of the three issues below.

Check the Emergency Brake

While the brake light may signal the need for a brake service repair or replacement, it also will turn on when the emergency brake is in use. This is just to remind you to release the emergency brake before driving so that brake parts don't wear down and harm the system.

Replace Brake Pads

Brake pads reduce friction between gears in your brake system, but will eventually wear down. When this happens and it's time for a brake pad replacement, the brake service light may go on. You probably will also notice a grinding or squealing noise as you brake that could be a sign of thin brake pads. Waiting to replace the brake pads can damage the gears as they to begin to wear down, so don't postpone this brake service appointment!

Poor Quality Brake Fluid

Like the engine's oil needs to be changed regularly, so do the fluids inside your car's brake system. The brake service light may in many cases mean that the car's brake fluid is running low. A brake fluid flush will replace old brake fluid with the new and top it off, for a cleaner system that allows for better brake pressure. Without that fluid, your brake pedal may go all the way to the vehicle's floor without the car slowing down much if at all. Check your owner's manual for other possible reasons for the indicator turning on. Bring your car into a brake shop to run a brake diagnostics test that will help correctly identify the reason for your car's brake light. Mechanics can then do the repairs, replacements or fluid flush for you to reset the brake service light.

Schedule Brake Service and Diagnostics in St. George, UT

Find out what is causing problems for your vehicle's brake system by contacting auto mechanics at St. George Transmission & Automotive. We'll run digital diagnostics and check the system ourselves to get the bottom of the issue. With something as important as brakes, we take our service seriously, giving you complete and accurate evaluations and repairs. Stop by our shop today or schedule your brake appointment when you see that light turn on!