Symbol for brake fluid

The symbol for brake fluid: Is there a brake warning light on in your car? It could mean a variety of different things and knowing which one it might come first depends on which brake warning light it is.

When you first start your car, all of your instrument lights should flash briefly. This is a verification that the illuminated systems are being monitored and are now ready to verify that they are working properly. Once the system has verified a good operating condition, this will be indicated by turning off the corresponding light in the instrument cluster. Any lights that stay on indicate a potential problem with the relevant systems. One of the systems that your car designed to monitor and alert you to possible failures is the Brake System.

Identify which brake warning light it is

Your car’s instrument panel contains many different icons. But knowing which icon corresponds to which system can be a bit tricky. To add to the confusion, there isn’t just one potential icon for problems with your brake system. Here are some of the possible icons you may see that pertain to your brake system:

Brake hydraulic system warning light


This light indicates a problem with the hydraulic brake system. If it shifts intermittently, or seems to only occur while turning, it could be that your brake fluid is low. If it stays on, that would suggest a more persistent problem.

ABS Warning/Error Light

This light is to alert you to possible problems with your ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) or with your normal service brake system. Also, you may see this light if the brake fluid levels are low for the master cylinder reservoir or ABS reservoir.

brake pad warning light

Some luxury car owners may see this light appear on their instrument cluster if the brake pads are detected to be worn or in need of service. The outer dashed lines symbolize the actual pads. Worn pads may also squeak or pulsate to let you know it’s time to replace them.

Parking Brake/Handbrake Warning Light

This symbol indicates that your parking/emergency/handbrake is currently engaged. It’s a reminder to turn it off before attempting to drive. In some cars, an electronic parking brake system is used. If you require service, you will see this symbol with a wrench below it.

press brake light

This light is not so much a “Warning” light, but rather an instruction light. Typically, it will display when you need to hit the brake before you can start the car (for push-button starts), or shift from Park to Drive/Reverse (for automatic transmissions). If it comes on while driving, the light is most likely not working properly.

Why am I getting a brake warning light?

There are as many (if not more) reasons, such as different brake warning lights. Below we will break down some of the most common causes of these lights.

Park/Emergency/Handbrake On

One of the most common reasons (if not the one) for your dash to have a brake warning light on is because the parking brake has not been fully disengaged before attempting to drive the car. Starting to drive the car before this brake is fully released can have a multitude of effects, depending on how activated it is, from premature wear of the brake shoes to damage to the wheel bearing and even catastrophic failure of the brake system. .

Another factor at play here is the type of drive system in your vehicle.

front wheel drive vehicles You are at less risk of damage as the car will most likely not even run while the parking brake is on. And even if the car is moving with the parking brake on, the tires will drag, which is a very clear indicator that something is wrong.

rear wheel drive vehiclesThey do, however, present a higher risk of problems. Because the engine can (and will) overpower the brakes, it is possible to drive the car without any indication that something is wrong until it is too late. Some cars will add an audible alert, in case you don’t see the symbol on your dash. Additionally, some drivers reported a strange odor after inadvertently driving while the parking brake was still on.

The bottom line is, if you see this light, it’s a very easy fix: just release the parking brake. In the event that fully releasing the brake does not cause the light to turn off, or if you think you may have been driving too long with the parking brake on, be sure to take your car to a certified service repair center to have it recovered. . checked. After all, they don’t call it the “emergency brake” for nothing.

Brake fluid levels are low

Another common cause of a brake warning light comes from the sensor inside the brake master cylinder detecting insufficient levels of brake fluid. This is important as brake fluid is vital to the operation of your brake system and if the levels get too low it can cause your brakes to fail completely.

The brake fluid in your car is divided into two sections, each controlling two wheels. This is to provide redundancy and prevent catastrophic failure should one of the two sections become compromised. In the event that something happens to one of the sections, the other section will still be able to operate its brake system. However, if both sections become inoperable, the ability to brake normally will be lost. Therefore, it is important that you take your car to a certified service repair center as soon as possible, if you see this light.

If you find yourself in a position where both sections have failed while riding, don’t panic. It’s a perfectly natural response when you go to hit the brake pedal and find it’s not responding, but it’s important to stay calm, as panic can (and will) distort your thinking, resulting in irrational thoughts and often erratic. thoughts and behavior. Instead, simply take a breath, keep your head level, and park your vehicle on the nearest shoulder/parking lot/side street while slowly bringing your car to a stop with the emergency brake. Safety is paramount.

ABS malfunction

Most cars these days use the anti-lock braking system (or ABS). As with anything else, there can sometimes be complications with this system. Should your car experience such a problem, you will see one of the ABS error/warning lights shown above (or something similar, labeled “ABS”).

This light could indicate one or several different potential errors with your ABS and uses an error code system for identification. This will require connecting your car’s computer system to a specially designed diagnostic scan tool, which will retrieve the codes from your ABS monitoring system and determine any corresponding problems.

Fortunately, an ABS malfunction will not cause your brakes to fail and you will still be able to drive the vehicle. You just won’t have the anti-lock function that ABS provides. However, it is highly recommended in these cases that you take your car to a certified service repair center as soon as possible, as ABS provides an added level of safety by preventing the brakes from locking up, which could cause you to skid. the case that you have to stop dead.

Burnt out brake/tail light(s)

This is a fairly common occurrence for drivers with cars that have this light. While this will not directly affect your car’s performance or cause additional damage, it is a helpful notification. Since we can rarely see our own brake and tail lights, it’s not uncommon for a light bulb to burn out without us noticing. And, if multiple bulbs burn out before we know it, our ability to tell other drivers that we’re slowing down or stopping can be greatly affected, increasing the likelihood of an accident.

Also, in some states (Texas is one of them), you may be pulled over and given a citation for failing a brake light. It can even cause you to fail your state inspection.

If you see this warning light, it’s a good idea to go ahead and replace the bulbs. It’s a simple solution that could prevent some rather undesirable results.

worn brake pads

In some of the higher end vehicles, there is a sensor that specifically monitors the brake pads. When it detects that the pads have reached a certain level of wear, it will turn on this warning light on the dash, indicating that it is time to replace the brake pads.

If you see this light on your car, don’t ignore it. Worn brake pads can lead to disaster if not replaced, as they will no longer be able to stop your car effectively. Also, if you let the pads wear too long, they could damage the rotors, which would add significantly to the cost of repairs.

Some other signs that it may be time for new pads include:

  • A high-pitched whine/squeak when applying pressure to the brake pedal
  • loss of grip when braking
  • It takes longer to stop your car than usual
  • Abnormal “softness” in the brake pedal
  • A shuddering sensation in the steering wheel when braking
  • Flashing brake system warning light

If you experience any of these symptoms and/or turn on the brake pad warning light on your dash, it is important that you take your car in to have your brakes checked/replaced by a reputable certified service repair technician as soon as possible, to avoid any further complications.




  1. Locate the brake master cylinder reservoir. It is usually mounted on or near the firewall at the rear of the engine compartment, almost directly in front of where the brake pedal mounts on the other side of the bulkhead. Consult the vehicle’s owner’s manual if you have trouble identifying it.
  2. Check the fluid level.
    • Newer Vehicles: Most newer vehicles have a translucent tank with a clearly marked “full” line. If your vehicle has such a reservoir, you can check the fluid level without removing the screw cap.
    • Older Vehicles: Most older vehicles (early 1980s and older) have a metal reservoir with a top held on by a spring-loaded clamp. Wipe the outside of the top to help prevent debris from getting into the brake fluid. You will need to pry the clamp to the side and then lift the top to inspect the level. The “full” line should be clearly marked.
  3. If the level is low, add brake fluid to the “full” line.
    IMPORTANT: A drop in the brake fluid usually indicates that the brake pads have worn to the point of needing maintenance. Make sure you have a professional check your brakes.
    CAUTION: DO NOT USE BRAKE FLUID OTHER THAN THE SPECIFIC TYPE RECOMMENDED FOR YOUR VEHICLE. Don’t overfill. If your vehicle has a two chamber tank, fill both chambers to the “full” line. If the tank is extremely low or empty, your vehicle may not be safe to drive. Consult an ASE Certified Brake Technician immediately.
  4. Replace the cap/lid. You’re done!

brake warning lights


The brake warning light is not one of those lights you have to hide for the “out of sight, out of mind” approach many take when it comes to illuminated dash warning lights. Driving with bad or faulty brakes can be extremely dangerous to both you and those around you. If your brake system warning light comes on and stays on, consider the following possible problems described in this guide that your vehicle may be experiencing.

1. Your parking brake is applied

Hebrake system light, usually a red or yellow circle symbol with the letter “P” or an exclamation point “!” in the center, it illuminates in the event that your vehicle’s parking brake is engaged. Dono attempt to operate your vehicle while the parking brake is on. Doing so will severely damage the brake pads and rotors.

If you find that your parking brake is applied, disengage it and check to see if the brake warning light has gone out. If it didn’t, there may be a physical problem with the parking brake that cannot be fully disengaged. If your parking brake was not set at all, there may be another problem causing thecar brake light on the dash to stay on.

2. Your brake fluid is low

The brakes on your vehicle require brake fluid to function properly. Many vehicles use a yellow brake warning light with an exclamation point “!” to act as alow brake fluid light warning that the vehicle is running low on brake fluid. Check out DriveSmart’s guide to brake fluid to better understand what brake fluid is and how you can refill your vehicle with it.

Some vehicles use redflashing brake lights on the dash to warn that the vehicle’s brake fluid is almost or completely low. It is also highly possible that this red light is warning of a hydraulic system malfunction within your brakes. If you find that the light comes on and stays on, take your vehicle to a certified mechanic who will be able to properly diagnose your brake system and ultimately repair it.

3. Your anti-lock braking system is not working properly

The warning light you are getting on your dash may be aanti lock brake lightwarning indicator Most vehicles are equipped with a system known asanti lock brake system which help prevent wheel lockup and tire loss of traction in slippery environments.

Anti-lock braking systems typically use their own warning indicator separate from the brake warning light that reads “ABS.” However, some vehicles do not have an “ABS” indicator and you should always refer to your vehicle manual and confirm what each symbol on the dashboard means.

4. Your brake light bulbs need to be replaced

The physical brake light bulbs may be burned out on your vehicle; therefore, it causes the brake warning light to come on and stay on. While in your vehicle, press the brake pedal and have a friend stand behind the vehicle to take note if you have:

  • Hebrake light comes on
  • Hebrake light comes on and off
  • Hebrake lights stay onfor a long period of time
  • Hebrake lights won’t go offabsolutely

If you find that your brake lights do not come on at all, it is likely that the bulbs have burnt out and need to be replaced. Lucky for you, knowingWhat change a brake light It does not require knowledge of a mechanical level. You can easily search on Google “brake light change” and find many guides onhow to fix a brake light.


To new drivers, the area under the hood can seem like an impossible maze to navigate. From engine oil to power steering fluid, there are many things that need to be checked under the hood. Each of these requires a different balance and type of liquid which, unless you are an expert, can be difficult to handle.


Working from left to right while standing facing the car head-on is power steering fluid, windshield washer, engine coolant and oil, brake fluid, and clutch fluid. With so much going on, you’d be forgiven for not knowing exactly what’s underneath.


So, read on to find out exactly what those car fluid symbols mean and how to stay on top of under-the-hood maintenance.

The first is the first

Park your car on a level surface; if you are trying to take readings on a steep edge, naturally the fluid levels will be low. It is also important to let the car sit for a while before opening the hood and starting to touch the engine. If you’ve driven recently, the components under the hood will be hot, which is not only dangerous, but also a recipe for inaccurate readings.

If this is your first time checking your levels, you can always use your owner’s manual to familiarize yourself with the location of the reservoirs using a diagram (if there is one).

1. Power steering fluid

The power steering fluid icon is, appropriately, a circle that resembles a steering wheel. Often it will also be a bright yellow for easy identification in low visibility conditions, although this varies.

On the rare occasion that the icon has worn off, the power steering reservoir is also usually transparent so you can check the quality and level of the fluid without removing the cap.

If you plan to top up your power steering fluid, it’s essential that you get the correct reservoir, as mistaking it for brake fluid can be a costly mistake.

When checking power fluid levels, you may also notice the words “Cold” and “Hot” on the reservoir. This is because the power steering expands when heated by the engine, so there are two maximum levels it can go up to; ‘Cold’ when the car has been standing still for a while and ‘Hot’ when the car has just stopped after driving.

2. Windshield washing

The windshield washer reservoir is sometimes quite difficult to find as often only the lid is shown on the inside of the car’s front wing.

The cap itself should be blue and will usually display the standard symbol representing water drops and a screen. Not to be confused with the engine coolant reservoir, which displays a danger sign, the washer cap simply pops off rather than screwing on and off.

In an emergency, you can only use water to refill the washer; however, it is recommended that you always use a screen cleaner to fill this reservoir. Why? The specialized windshield wash is not only resistant to freezing in the winter months (meaning it can clean your windshield all year round), but it also reduces wear on your wiper blades.

As for checking levels, if the bottle isn’t completely full add a bit more just in case, it can actually be a problem. ITV test failed if you don’t have enough screen wash!

3. Engine coolant

Another reservoir with a blue cap is the engine coolant bottle. Although today, the actual coolant is poured into a container outside the radiator, the plastic expansion is often located on the side of the engine. As mentioned, the engine coolant bottle is easy to identify as it has a warning sign on the cap, and this is because coolant is extremely important.

Not only does it prevent corrosion of internal engine components, it also helps the engine maintain optimum temperature for better overall performance and, in turn, lower fuel costs.

Without proper coolant levels, your engine could easily overheat or seize. Therefore, you should check and top up your coolant before every long trip and at least every month.

4. Engine oil


Often called the “life blood” of the vehicle, engine fluid is the one thing your car simply cannot live without. The reservoir should be relatively easy to find in the center of the underhood area, although the dipstick used to check can be hidden.

Look for a brightly colored handle located around the front or side of the engine compartment and you should be in for a winner.

Using the dipstick to check oil levels will prove invaluable to you, as low levels can cause damage to internal engine mechanisms, which can be costly. Additionally, motor oil reduces friction by lubricating and cleaning and cooling the engine as well. So don’t just wait for the board to power up before checking it, but check it yourself regularly as well.

5. Brake fluid

The brake fluid reservoir is normally located on the driver’s side at the rear of the engine and is easily identifiable thanks to the clear plastic bottle. If you’re lucky, many modern vehicles have the words “brake fluid” printed on the cap or at least one commonly known symbol.

Brake fluid is critical to the safety of your vehicle, as it helps apply the necessary force to the brakes to stop quickly. It is important that you check not only the levels but also the quality of your brake fluid. If the fluid is dark in color, it should be changed soon; The light, syrupy looking liquid, on the other hand, is good.

clutch fluid

In some vehicles, the brake and clutch fluid share the same reservoir. However, it’s best to check your owner’s manual for guidance just in case.

If they don’t share the same fluid, then the clutch fluid reservoir will be near the driver’s side windshield in a clear bottle with a black cap. Today, most clutch fluid bottles are labeled with a max and min for ease of use.

pulling it all together

To make sure your vehicle runs smoothly, you’ll need to stay on top of maintaining the area under the hood. It is essential that you check the levels and quality of the aforementioned fluids regularly so that you never run out of them. With things like power steering fluid and brake fluid, your car can’t really run if they run out.

So keep an eye out for the warning lights on your dash (trust us, they’re not just for decoration or to be ignored) and keep a funnel and rag in the trunk just in case.

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



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