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What does it mean when the brake light comes on while driving in Fairfax, VA?

December 11, 2020

What does it mean when the brake light comes on while driving in Fairfax, VA?

Any time you’re driving and a light illuminates on your dashboard, whether it’s the check engine light, the oil pressure warning light, or the brake light, it can be a little unnerving. After all, this is your vehicle’s way of communicating that something is wrong.

When you associate the words “wrong” with engine or brakes you’re likely feeling worried. So, what does it mean when the brake light comes on while driving in Fairfax, VA? Have your brakes failed completely? Probably not! However, it is a warning that you should have your brakes inspected. In this article, we will discuss what’s causing your brake light to come on.

What Does It Mean When The Brake Light Comes On When Driving In Fairfax, VA?

Your brake light could come on while you are driving for several reasons. It could be something as simple as your parking brake isn’t released, so check that before doing anything else. If the light comes on when braking, or if it’s continuously red, your vehicle might have lost hydraulic pressure on one side. 

If the light is yellow, the anti-lock braking system may be the problem. If it comes on intermittently, it could be a glitch in the system. Let’s go into some additional details.

Top 4 Reasons Why Your Brake Light Comes On When Driving In Fairfax, VA

1) Parking Brake Is Engaged – Most vehicles have a sensor that confirms whether the parking brake is engaged or not. If the parking brake is still activated even in the slightest, the sensor will prompt the brake light to notify you it’s still engaged. While this may seem harmless, driving with the parking brake on can actually cause a lot of damage to your brakes, including: 

  • Compromise the brake fluid
  • Overheat the brakes
  • Wear down the lining of the brake pads
an image showing car handbrake

2) Brake Fluid Is Low – Within your vehicle’s brake master cylinder lies a sensor that evaluates how much fluid is in the system. When the level falls below a certain point, the sensor activates the brake light to let you know the brake system needs attention.

an image showing low brake fluid

3) Anti-lock braking system (ABS) Malfunction – Your ABS is responsible for helping you with hard braking without locking up the wheels and causing your vehicle to skid.

Whether your vehicle has an ABS light or not, issues within the ABS system can trigger the brake light. If you’ve confirmed your brake fluid isn’t low and the parking brake isn’t engaged, you should visit a brake shop, like ABS Unlimited, to read your vehicle’s computer codes and diagnose the proper repair. 

a graphic showing ABS icon

4) Defective Sensors – Sensors associated with the brake master cylinder (measuring brake fluid) or the parking brake sensor may fail, causing the brake light to come on. A qualified brake shop would be able to identify the sensor that has caused the light to come on and replace it.

an image showing defective sensor

Your brakes are a key part of your vehicle’s safety. Any time your vehicle is alerting you of a brake problem, it’s important to have your vehicle inspected as soon as possible. 

At ABS Unlimited, we offer a free brake inspection to make sure your brakes are in good working condition. As part of this inspection, our highly rated, ASE Certified technicians will measure the thickness of the rotors, drums, brake pads and shoes, as well as check for leaks. If your brake light comes on while driving in Fairfax, VA, put your worries to rest by visiting ABS Unlimited. Click Here To Schedule An Appointment