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When you’re on the road, the last thing you want to see is the traction control light and brake light on your dashboard illuminated. These warning lights can indicate various issues, from minor sensor glitches to more serious brake system problems. In this guide, we will walk you through the possible causes and solutions, providing expert advice and practical insights to help you get back on the road safely.

Traction Control Light and Brake Light On

It’s crucial to address these warning lights promptly, as they can affect your vehicle’s performance and safety. Here, we delve into the common causes and solutions for when you encounter the dreaded “traction control light and brake light on” scenario.

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Sensor Malfunction

Traction Control Light: Sensor Issues

If your traction control light is on, it might be due to a sensor malfunction. Modern vehicles are equipped with sensors that monitor wheel speed and other crucial data for the traction control system. When these sensors fail or become dirty, they can trigger the warning light.

Solution: Have the sensors inspected and cleaned by a qualified technician. If they are damaged, they might need replacement.

Brake Light: Brake Fluid Level

Low brake fluid levels can trigger the brake light on your dashboard. Insufficient brake fluid can compromise your braking system’s performance and safety.

Solution: Check the brake fluid reservoir and top it up with the manufacturer-recommended fluid if it’s low. If the problem persists, have your brake system inspected for leaks or worn components.

ABS System Issues

Traction Control Light: ABS System Problems

The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is closely related to the traction control system. Issues with the ABS can result in the traction control light coming on. Common ABS problems include damaged sensors, faulty control modules, or ABS pump issues.

Solution: A professional diagnosis is crucial here. An experienced mechanic can identify the specific problem and recommend the necessary repairs or replacements.

Brake Light: Brake Pad Wear

The brake light may illuminate if your brake pads are worn down to a dangerous level. This poses a significant safety risk, as it can affect your vehicle’s braking performance.

Solution: Replace the brake pads immediately. Ignoring this issue can lead to more expensive repairs and compromised safety.

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Electrical Problems

Traction Control Light: Electrical Failures

Electrical failures in the traction control system can trigger the warning light. These failures can be caused by damaged wiring, a faulty control module, or a blown fuse.

Solution: Have a qualified technician perform a comprehensive electrical system check to identify and rectify the issue.

Brake Light: ABS Sensor Wiring

Wiring problems related to ABS sensors can lead to the brake light coming on. Damaged or corroded wires can disrupt the communication between sensors and the control module.

Solution: Inspect the ABS sensor wiring and repair or replace any damaged wires.

Regular Maintenance: Key to Avoiding Trouble

Proper vehicle maintenance is often the best defense against encountering the dreaded traction control light and brake light scenario. Here, we delve into some preventive measures to keep these issues at bay.

1. Regular Brake Inspections

Routine brake inspections by a qualified mechanic can help identify brake pad wear and other potential problems early on. Catching issues before they escalate can save you both money and ensure safety.

2. Brake Fluid Checks

Checking your brake fluid level is a simple yet effective way to avoid brake light surprises. Refer to your vehicle’s manual for instructions on checking and topping up the brake fluid reservoir. Always use the recommended brake fluid type.

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3. Keep Your ABS System in Check

Regularly inspecting the condition of your ABS system can prevent sudden failures. Look out for any visible wiring damage, and if you notice something amiss, have it addressed promptly.

4. Tire Maintenance

Your vehicle’s traction control system relies on sensor data from the tires. Proper tire maintenance, including inflation and tread depth checks, can ensure accurate data for the system to operate effectively.

5. Clean Sensors

Over time, sensors that monitor wheel speed can accumulate dirt and debris, leading to inaccuracies. Periodically cleaning these sensors can help prevent false warning lights.

6. Timely Repairs

If you notice any warning lights or unusual behavior while driving, don’t delay in seeking professional help. Ignoring these issues can lead to more extensive and expensive repairs down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I reset the traction control and brake light after fixing the issue?

Solution: Disconnect the vehicle’s battery for a few minutes, then reconnect it. This often resets the warning lights.

Can I continue driving with the traction control and brake lights on?

Answer: It’s not advisable. These lights indicate potential safety issues that require immediate attention.

Is it possible to DIY diagnose and fix these issues?

Answer: While some minor issues can be addressed by DIY enthusiasts, it’s safer to consult a professional mechanic for a proper diagnosis and repairs.

Can a malfunctioning ABS system affect my vehicle’s overall safety?

Answer: Yes, a malfunctioning ABS system can compromise your vehicle’s ability to maintain control during sudden stops, especially in slippery conditions.

Are there any preventive measures to avoid these warning lights?

Answer: Regular maintenance, including brake inspections and fluid checks, can help prevent these issues.

What should I do if the warning lights come on while I’m driving?

Answer: Safely pull over, turn off the engine, and consult your vehicle’s manual for guidance on the specific lights and their meanings.


Facing the traction control light and brake light on your dashboard can be alarming, but it’s essential not to panic. By understanding the potential causes and solutions outlined in this guide, you can take appropriate action to address the issue and ensure your vehicle’s safety and performance.

Remember, when in doubt, seek the assistance of a qualified mechanic to diagnose and resolve the problem. Your safety on the road should always be a top priority.

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