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What is the Brake Fluid symbol?

Safeguard your road experience by understanding what the brake fluid symbol means and taking prompt action for optimal braking performance and safety.

  • 01 Dec 2023
  • 3 min read

If you have ever been behind the wheel of a car, chances are you have seen those dashboard symbols lighting up like a tiny constellation. While some are self-explanatory, others might leave you scratching your head. One symbol that often perplexes drivers is the brake fluid symbol.


So, what is the brake fluid symbol? The brake fluid symbol on a car’s dashboard is typically represented by an exclamation mark inside a circle, similar to an “O” with an exclamation mark in the centre. Depending on the manufacturer, this symbol is often orange or red, indicating an issue with the brake fluid level or the brake system.


What does the brake fluid symbol mean?


When this symbol illuminates on your car’s dashboard, it usually implies one of the following —


  • Low Brake Fluid Level: This is the most common reason for the Brake Fluid symbol to light up. The symbol’s appearance indicates that your car’s brake fluid level has dropped below the recommended threshold. Low brake fluid can result from brake pad wear, a leak or simply over time as the brake pads wear down.


  • Break System Warning: In some vehicles, this symbol might also be a part of a more general break system warning light. In such cases, it signifies a broader issue with your vehicle’s braking system, such as malfunctioning brake master cylinder, brake lines or brake callipers.


  • ABS (Anti-lock braking system) Warning: Some vehicles may use a similar symbol to indicate a problem with the ABS, which is closely related to the brake system.


Understanding what is the brake fluid symbol is crucial for your safety on the road. If this warning light suddenly lights up on your car’s dashboard, you mustn’t take it lightly. Low brake fluid can lead to reduced braking performance or, in extreme cases, brake failure.

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When you spot the Brake Fluid symbol illuminated, pull over safely and check your brake fluid reservoir. If it’s low, topping it up to the recommended level may resolve the issue. However, it’s essential to have your braking system thoroughly inspected by a mechanic to identify and address any underlying problems. 


Being attentive to dashboard symbols while driving can significantly impact your safety and that of others on the road. So the next time you see the brake symbol light up, remember that it’s your car’s way of saying, “Pay attention; your brake might need some TLC.”

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