What do the brake warning lights mean in my car?

Brake Fluid and Pressure Problems
Anti-lock braking system warning light
Anti-lock braking system warning light

If releasing the emergency brake doesn't make the light go off, you should slowly and calmly pull over and stop. If the brake system has completely failed, you will have to use the emergency brake for braking. If the light stays on, it means that the pressure on one side of the brake system is lower than on the other. ­

There are a couple reasons this could happen:

  • There could be a leak in one part of the system, making it impossible to hold pressure
  • The hydraulic fluid could be low

In either case, your braking performance will be impaired and you should have the car repaired before driving it again.­

Cars with antilock brakes have an amber or yellow warning light, which usually says ABS. If this light stays illuminated after the bulb check, it indicates a problem with the antilock braking system. The ABS controller will disable the system and your brakes should function as if you don't have ABS. In this case, you can safely drive the car to a mechanic for service.

For more articles on brake systems and repair, check out the links below.

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