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When it comes to vehicle maintenance, few things can be more alarming than seeing the “Brake” light and “Traction Control” light illuminated on your dashboard. These warning lights indicate potential issues with your vehicle’s braking system and traction control. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the causes, troubleshooting steps, and frequently asked questions regarding these lights, ensuring you have the knowledge to address these concerns effectively.

Understanding Brake Warning Lights

Types of Brake Warning Lights

Brake warning lights come in different forms, each indicating specific problems:

  • Brake System Warning Light: This light typically resembles the letters “ABS” inside a circle and signifies an issue with your vehicle’s anti-lock braking system (ABS).
  • Brake Fluid Warning Light: Shaped like an exclamation mark inside a circle, this light warns you about low brake fluid levels.
  • Parking Brake Warning Light: Depicting a “P” inside parentheses, it suggests that your parking brake is engaged.

Common Causes of Brake Light On

Brake lights can illuminate for various reasons, such as:

  • Low Brake Fluid: When your brake fluid level is critically low, it can trigger the brake system warning light.
  • Worn Brake Pads: Thin brake pads can lead to insufficient braking and, consequently, the warning light.
  • Brake Fluid Leak: A brake fluid leak can deplete the system, causing the warning light to activate.

The Significance of Traction Control Light

The traction control (TC) light plays a crucial role in maintaining control and stability of your vehicle, especially in adverse road conditions.

black and yellow vehicle

Why Is My Traction Control Light On?

Several factors can cause the TC light to come on:

  • Slippery Road Conditions: It activates when your vehicle’s wheels lose traction on slippery surfaces.
  • Faulty ABS Sensor: A malfunctioning ABS sensor can trigger the TC light.

Troubleshooting Brake and Traction Lights

DIY Brake Light Check

You can perform a simple check to determine if the brake light issue is minor or serious.

  1. Inspect Brake Fluid: Check your brake fluid reservoir to ensure it’s at the recommended level.
  2. Visual Inspection: Examine your brake pads for wear. If they are too thin, they may need replacement.
  3. Look for Leaks: Inspect under your vehicle for signs of brake fluid leakage.

Steps to Check Traction Control Light

  1. Check Road Conditions: Ensure you’re not driving on a slippery surface.
  2. Inspect ABS Sensors: If the TC light persists, have the ABS sensors examined for any issues.

Brake and Traction Control Light FAQs

How do I reset the brake light?

To reset the brake light, address the underlying issue causing it. Once the problem is fixed, the light should reset on its own.

Can I drive with the brake light on?

It’s not recommended to drive with the brake light on, as it indicates potential brake system issues. Continued driving may compromise your safety.

Is it safe to drive with TC light on?

Driving with the TC light on is generally safe, but it’s essential to address the issue causing the light to ensure optimal traction control.

How much does it cost to fix brake lights?

The cost of fixing brake lights varies depending on the underlying issue. Simple repairs like brake pad replacement may cost less than addressing a brake fluid leak.

Are there any DIY fixes for TC light?

Some TC light issues, like sensor malfunctions, may be resolved with DIY methods, but it’s best to consult a professional for a thorough diagnosis.


Understanding and addressing brake and traction control light issues is crucial for your safety on the road. By following the steps outlined in this guide and seeking professional assistance when needed, you can ensure your vehicle’s braking and traction systems are in optimal condition.

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