There are a number of dashboard warning lights that can pop on at any minute. Everyone knows what the oil light and battery light are for, but a lot of them require pulling out the owners’ manual. In the coming months, we are going to take a look at different lights and what they stand for to help make it a little clearer.
This light is the parking brake warning light. Depending on the make of the vehicle, it can be either red or orange. It illuminates to show that the parking brake or emergency brake is engaged and must be released before driving.
If it remains lit after the parking brake is released or if it turns on and off intermittently while you're driving, it means you need to add brake fluid. If you check the fluid, add as needed and the light still doesn't turn off, you'll need to have the brake system inspected.
In fact, unless there's a leak in your brake system, you're probably due for a brake inspection regardless. Why? As your brake pads wear, it takes more fluid to press the pads or shoes against the rotors or drums and bring the vehicle to a stop. This dashboard light could gently be telling you it's nearly time for brake repairs and service.
If the light has an illuminated wrench underneath it, then the parking brake needs servicing. The vehicle can be driven safely, but it needs an auto mechanic's attention.