Brake Warning System In Detail

A. Brake warning system
In general, the dashboard light that indicates a problem with the brake system has an alarming red colour (depending on the vehicle model) to indicate that there is an immediate risk, potentially compromising the general safety of the vehicle. It should never be ignored.

There are several reasons why the brake system warning light may light up. The problem is that according to the survey mentioned below, almost half of the people on the road don’t recognise the risk and consequently don’t react accordingly.

Many drivers can’t identify mission-critical dash lights
According to a recent survey of 2,000 drivers asking them to identify definitions for 10 common dashboard lights, nearly half of the respondents weren’t able to tell what it would mean if their car’s tire pressure or brake system light flashed. Surprisingly, 17% of the respondents didn’t even know what the low fuel light means.

The results of the survey*:

  • Tire pressure warning 49%
  • Cruise control activated 42%
  • Brake system warning 46%
  • Fog beams activated 40%

*Percentage of the 2,000 respondents that could not identify the warning light in question.
B. The most frequent causes of a flashing brake system warning light

Brake fluid level under the minimum

This will increase the risk of vapour lock.

What to do?
In case of a vapour lock, consult Technical Tips “Brake Efficiency”

Brake pad thickness under the minimum

This may gradually lead to brake pad underlayer contact with the brake disc and eventually – in the worst-case scenario – to back plate contact with brake disc.

What to do?

Check brake pad thickness and replace if necessary in case of:

  1. Loud noise when applying brake pressure
  2. Serious damage to brake disc surface, caused by the steel back plate contacting the cast iron brake disc
  3. Vehicle pulling to one side due to unbalanced brake effect on both sides of an axle

False reading due to a problem in a brake system part (e.G. Abs)

A corroded or broken ABS ring may generate a false signal from the drive shaft or wheel bearing. In case of corrosion under the sensor mounting points, the sensor may be forced closer to the ABS ring and give false reading to the ABS module.

What to do?
Check the complete ABS system for corrosion or broken rings and replace where needed.

False alarm caused by an oversensitive brake warning system

The dashboard warning light keeps flashing, even after changing the pads and related wear sensors.

What to do?

  1. Push the brake pedal several times to ensure contact between brake pads and brake discs.
  2. Switch the dashboard off for a few seconds.
  3. Switch the dashboard back on and check if the light still remains.
  4. If the brake warning light still remains then seek assistance and expert advice.

This type of false alarm can be common on certain types of makes and models, view these models online at And if you come across any more frequent issues with a particular make and model then let us know.

IMPORTANT: some models have a “double level” wear indicator, 70% and 100%.


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Published on: June 30, 2022

Filled Under: News

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