The brake indicators on your dashboard can have different meanings. Knowing what these meanings are can ensure that you prolong the life of your braking system because you are able to take action before the situation becomes worse. Understanding brake light meanings is a safety issue as well, since the braking system is one of the most responsible components of your vehicle for safety. Here's what you should know.
- Could Be the Emergency Brake: If the brake light indicator shows up on your dashboard, don't be too alarmed since it can simply indicate that your emergency brake is engaged. Be sure to release this and drive for a bit to determine whether or not the indicator disappears. Be aware of this at all times since driving with the emergency brake engaged, even for a short period of time, is extremely damaging because of the large amount of pressure it puts on the brake pads.
- You Need Brake Fluid: If the brake light indicator does not disappear once the emergency brake is released, the most common reason it's still on is because of the need for brake fluid. You can check this yourself by opening the cap to the brake reservoir and checking the level. It should be about a half inch away from the top and it also should not be dark in color. If either of these are a problem, you should have the fluid capped off by a professional. The reason being that the brake fluid can cause serious damage to your vehicle if it happens to splash or spill over.
- The Brake Pads are Worn: The next most common reason the light indicator is on is because the brake pads are worn, in which case you need to have them replaced right away. You will probably notice this is an issue anyway because of the squealing noise your car makes when you brake. If the brake pads aren't changed quickly, it can eventually cause damage to the cylinders, which are more expensive to replace.
- The Brakes Have a Malfunction: Finally, if there is any other kind of problem, the indicator will flash. If you know it isn't the fluid of brake pads, you especially need to take the vehicle in for repairs right away to prevent the slight chance that you could have a problem with braking your vehicle completely at some point.
When you know these things about the brake indicator on your vehicle, you can be sure that you better understand your vehicle and how to address any problems with one of its more sensitive components. Talk to a local business for information about brake service.