Low brake fluid light

Low brake fluid light: The brake warning light coming on in your car is something that should never be ignored. The brakes are arguably the most important feature on your car and neglecting them is likely to lead to an accident and serious injury, if not worse.

If your brake system warning light comes on, it’s important to pay attention to it and take appropriate action.

What causes the brake warning light to come on?

When you start your car, it does a bulb check. All bulbs are illuminated on the dashboard of your car. As each bulb passes its test, it turns off. If the brake warning light, or any other light, stays on, it indicates that there is a potential problem that requires attention.

The most likely cause of the brake warning light is that the brake fluid level is a little low. You must stop when it is safe to do so, consult your owner’s manual to locate the brake fluid reservoir and fill it with the correct brake fluid. This should cause the brake warning light to turn off.

If the brake system warning light stays on, there may be a brake fluid leak. While parked in a safe place, firmly depress the brake pedal. If you find the pedal slowly sinking to the floor, it could indicate a leak. Take a look under your car for puddles of yellowish fluid. If you see something then you have a leak.

If after checking for leaks, the brake warning light stays on, it may indicate a problem with the brake pads. If your brake pads have worn down significantly this can turn on the light. Some cars have a separate warning light for worn brake pads, which looks like this.

What should you do when the brake warning light comes on?

Since it is indicating a potentially serious defect in your car’s braking system, the first thing you should do is look to park your car in a safe place.

At this time, you do not know exactly how serious the problem is, so it is extremely important that you drive very carefully and attentively, as safety is a paramount concern.

So if your brake system warning light comes on:

  1. Park your car in a safe place.
  2. Check your brake fluid level. If it is low, top it up with the correct brake fluid (see owner’s manual)
  3. While parked, firmly depress the brake pedal. If it slowly sinks to the floor, you may have a brake fluid leak.
  4. Check under the car for puddles of yellowish fluid. If you see a leak, stop driving. Call your local garage for recovery.
  5. Check that your parking brake is fully released.
  6. Check if the brake lights are working properly and have not burnt out.
  7. If you still cannot diagnose the problem, stop driving. Contact your local garage or breakdown service for recovery and have your car checked by a professional technician.

It is important to remember that the brake warning light tells you that there is a problem with the brakes on your car. If the light comes on on your dash, don’t ignore it. Do the simple checks you can do on the side of the road, or more importantly, have your car checked out at your local garage. If winter is coming, you can reserve your car for awinter health check at any Stoneacre service center for a professional evaluation of your car’s brakes.

Signs and Causes of Low Brake Fluid

One of the most overlooked fluids in a vehicle is brake fluid, although it really shouldn’t be. Brake fluid is a critical component in the hydraulic brake system and stopping would be a challenge without brake fluid. In fact, your brakes may not work at all if your brake system is low on or out of brake fluid. Hydraulic brake systems require fluid to help build pressure to stop a vehicle.

Brake pressure builds up and begins to force fluid into the brakes, forcing the pads to compress against the rotors that are attached to the wheel hubs that spin when the wheel spins. The high pressure created is what causes the car to slow down. If there is no brake fluid, the brake system will not be able to build up the necessary pressure to stop the car.

When the fluid starts to break down or a leak occurs, the function of the brake system becomes much less effective. Here’s what happens if your car’s brake fluid is low:

What Causes Low Brake Fluid?

Brakes are the number one safety feature on your car. If your brakes don’t work or your brake light comes on suddenly, there is cause for concern. The following are the most common reasons why your brake system may be low on brake fluid:

  • A leak in the system – Whether in the master cylinder, brake lines, hoses or calipers, a brake system leak can greatly reduce the hydraulic pressure required to slow and stop a vehicle. Leaks can be caused by something as simple as normal wear and tear from driver error from hitting something on the road while driving. Brake fluid leaks can most often be identified by debris left under the vehicle while parked or by checking the fluid reservoir located under the hood.
  • worn brake pads – When the pads wear, the caliper piston is forced to move further towards the brake pads, away from the housing. This requires more brake fluid to travel lower, which can be depleted over time.
  • damaged brake line – Many areas of the brake system can wear out due to age and use; however, some steel components in the brake system are prone to rust, especially in snowy climates where roads are often salted to reduce snow and ice.

Signs that your brake fluid needs to be changed or flushed

When brake fluid begins to break down from use or has been spilled, your braking experience may change. Stop in a safe area,check your brake fluid leveland quality, first. If the fluid doesn’t look right or something doesn’t feel right, have your vehicle towed to an auto center for immediate inspection. Do not attempt to drive the vehicle if the brakes do not work well. Do not put your safety or the safety of others at risk.

  • The brake warning light comes on – Most vehicles are equipped with brake sensors in the brake system that communicate with the car’s internal computer to alert the driver of any potential problems. A low level of brake fluid can cause the brake light to come on. Because the brake system is completely sealed, the brake fluid must remain almost full; however, some fluid loss is normal. If a significant amount of fluid is missing, have your vehicle inspected immediately.
  • Low, discolored or dirty fluid – Fluid that is any shade of brown or black or has floating particles indicates that the fluid is old and dirty. Low fluid can indicate a leak in the system, especially if it was recently filled. Brake fluid leaks are serious, providing little to no stopping power while driving.
  • Hard to stop or soft brake pedal – Low brake fluid can cause that spongy feeling in the brakes as you step on the brake pedal. This occurs due to a buildup of moisture in the brake system that begins to boil due to the incredible amount of heat created under braking. This also causes an increase in air in the brake lines. Unlike brake fluid, air cannot be compressed and instead causes the brake pedal to drop further, reducing the car’s braking ability.
  • Change of brakes -If you were to replace the engine in your car, you wouldn’t use the used oil from the old engine, would you? The same applies to brake fluid. Any time the hydraulic system is opened and exposed to air, the possibility of contamination is high. By rinsing out old brake fluid and replacing it with fresh, clean brake fluid, you ensure that your brakes perform to their best potential and protect yourself and others on the road from brake failure.

How to respond when the brake warning light is on

The safe operation of your car depends to a large extent on the brakes working correctly every time you need them. When you experience a brake warning light, you should immediately question the reliability of the system that will stop you when you need it to.


A brake warning indicator can illuminate for a number of reasons, including:


A burnt out brake light

Anti-lock brake (ABS) sensor malfunction

Brake pads with little material

low battery voltage

Low brake fluid in the reservoir

Stuck parking brake

Virtually all modern vehicles are manufactured with ABS brakes. ABS brakes work to prevent the brakes from locking when applied, primarily in situations where road conditions are slippery, such as in snow or rain. Vehicles with ABS brakes have two warning lights: one for ABS system malfunction and one for mechanical problems.


If one of the brake system warning lights comes on, it may be a relatively minor problem or a major safety issue. Regardless of which brake light is on, always check your car before continuing to use it.


Part 1 of 6: Check your brake fluid

The mechanical brake system in your car is hydraulic, which means that the fluid in the brake system controls how the brakes are applied.


This is how your brake fluid works:


When the brake pedal is depressed, brake fluid is pressurized in the brake lines and hoses.

The pressure in the brake hoses forces a piston in the brake calipers to extend.

The piston applies pressure to the inner brake pad at each wheel.

The brake pad squeezes the brake rotor and the friction causes your car to slow down and stop.

Releasing the brake pedal relieves line pressure and the caliper piston takes pressure off the brake pads so you can continue driving.

Your vehicle’s brake warning light monitors the parking brake mechanism, brake fluid in the reservoir, and any loss of pressure in the metering valve switch. If the parking brake is on or if brake fluid is low in your reservoir, the light will come on. Your main concern is determining if there is a brake fluid leak.


Step 1 – Check the brake fluid level. Your brake fluid level is important for monitoring your brakes. You will need to check the brake fluid reservoir to determine if you will need to add or flush the brake fluid.

The brake fluid reservoir will be located near the firewall on the driver’s side of the car. The reservoir is usually a white or yellow translucent plastic.


The brake fluid reservoir will be located near the firewall on the driver’s side of the car. The reservoir is usually a white or yellow translucent plastic.


Find the marks on the side that indicate the full mark and the low mark.


Compare the actual fluid level with the marks on the side. If it is difficult to see the fluid level through the plastic, remove the cap and shine a flashlight into the top of the reservoir.


Step 2 – If the fluid level is low, top up the fluid with clean brake fluid. You will need to rinse the brake fluid and add clean brake fluid if the fluid level is low.


If you’re comfortable doing this on your own, you can try adding brake fluid to your car yourself.


Tip: As the brake pads wear, the brake calipers have to extend further to press the pads against the rotors and more fluid is needed in the brake lines and hoses. A slightly low brake fluid does not always indicate a leak; It can also indicate that the time to change the brake pads is approaching.

Step 3 – Check if the brake pedal is firm. When you are parked in a safe place, press the brake pedal as hard as you can.

If the pedal slowly sinks to the floor, it indicates that there is air in the brake system or that fluid is leaking.


If the pedal is stable, you probably don’t have a leak and you can proceed to the next steps.

Step 4 – Check for fluid leaks under your vehicle. Look for a clear or honey-colored fluid inside each of the wheels or dripping under your car.


A small leak will be extremely difficult to notice on your own, but a major leak should be obvious.


Warning: If you see a leak under your car, do not continue driving. Driving without brake fluid is extremely dangerous as the brakes will not respond. If you have a leak, a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, can come to your location to fix the brake fluid for you.



Although often neglected, the brake fluid in your vehicle is very important to the operation of your brake system. The brake system is hydraulic, which means that it relies on brake fluid to generate the pressure needed to slow or stop your car. Every time you place your foot on the brake pedal, brake fluid pressure builds up to squeeze the brake pads, causing the wheels to stop spinning. Any leaks or air in the brake fluid can significantly decrease hydraulic power and make it difficult for your vehicle to come to a complete stop.

If you’re low on brake fluid, you may notice one or more of the following signs:

  • Illuminated brake warning light on your dash
  • Brake fluid appears low, discolored, or dirty
  • Brake pedal feels spongy or soft
  • The vehicle has a longer stop time than usual


As soon as you spot a problem with your brakes, it would be best to take it to an auto professional right away. Driving with any of these symptoms of bad brakes can put your safety on the road at great risk. Don’t worry – our service team can perform a thorough inspection of your brake system to better understand the problem. There are multiple causes of brake fluid problems, including the following:

  • A leak in the system
  • worn brake pads
  • Damaged or air in brake lines


You can help prevent brake fluid problems through regular inspections and proper vehicle maintenance. It is also imperative to follow your vehicle’s factory recommendations for brake fluid changes and flushes, found in your owner’s manual.

We hope the article about low brake fluid light and the related information is helpful to you. If you have any questions, please let us one on our website Auto Oil And Fluid!



Rate this post