What Does the Brake Pad Wear Indicator Warning Light Mean?

The brake wear indicator light is a fairly new addition to today’s automobiles. Mainly found on higher end cars, this indicator light will let you know when it’s time to get your brakes checked out. The light will come on before the brakes are completely worn out to give you enough time to replace them before any damage occurs. Refer to your owner’s manual to see how many miles you should still have on the brake pads after the light comes on.

What the brake pad wear indicator warning light means

Quite simply, when this light is on, the sensor in the brakes has determined that the brake pads are too thin. There are 2 main ways that auto manufacturers achieve this diagnosis. The first is by using a small sensor embedded into the brake pad material itself. As the pad wears out, the sensor will eventually come into contact with the rotor which completes a circuit and turns this indicator light on. The second method is a position sensor that measures how much the pads have to move before the brakes are applied.

What to do when the brake pad wear indicator warning light is on

If the light comes on, you should bring the vehicle to a certified technician to have the brakes replaced. More than likely, the light will shut off with the new pads installed. However, any issues with the sensors themselves will cause the light to turn on.

Is it safe to drive with the brake pad wear indicator warning light on?

It is safe to drive with this light on for a short amount of time. As mentioned earlier, the light will come on when you still have some brake pad material left, but if you wait too long and continue driving, you will run out of material and damage the rotors. Without any pad material, the brakes won’t stop the car as quickly so waiting too long is dangerous and increases the risks of getting into a collision.

As always, our certified technicians are available to help identify any issues you may be experiencing with your brakes or wear indicators.


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Joe

43 years of experience
821 reviews
Joe
43 years of experience
Volvo S60 L5-2.4L - Brake Warning Light is on - Tampa, Florida
Joe was so awesome. He was very nice, thorough, and quick! He explained exactly what was going on with my car and broke it down so that I could understand. He even worked on my car in the rain. I will definitely book him in the future and recommend him to my friends and family.
Infiniti QX4 - Brake Warning Light is on - Tampa, Florida
Joe was great! Arrived on time and quickly pinpointed our problem. We're looking forward to using him in the future.

James

31 years of experience
684 reviews
James
31 years of experience
Porsche Cayenne V8-4.8L - Brake Warning Light is on - La Mirada, California
JAMES NEED TO COMMUNICATE MORE WITH THE CLIENT ON WHAT'S HE'S WORKING ON AND THE PROGRESS OF WHAT HE'S WORKING ON. HE SEEMS TO BE WELL EQUIPPED AS A MECHANIC. VERY GOOD MAN AND QUIET.
Pontiac Grand Prix - Brake Warning Light is on - Garden Grove, California
James arrived on time with all the required tools and testing equipment. He tested and checked every possible cause before diagnosing the cause of my problem. I have been to dealerships and never has anyone performed such detailed diagnostic check. James is a consummate professional.

Carlos

28 years of experience
501 reviews
Carlos
28 years of experience
Cadillac DeVille V8-4.6L - Brake Warning Light is on - Garden Grove, California
Top mechanic Carlos is one of the best mechanics I have ever met. He arrived on time with a tool room in his vehicle. He is prepared for every possible event. Thanks Carlos.

Michael

38 years of experience
135 reviews
Michael
38 years of experience
BMW X5 L6-3.0L - Brake Warning Light is on - Whittier, California
Michael is SUPER friendly, courteous and very knowledgeable with his work! He was prompt, showed up on time and was all ready to go! While inspecting my vehicle, he made sure to go over everything and all the details until it was all clear to mel! Overall, this was an EXCELLENT experience, and I couldn't think of a better mechanic to assist you with your vehicle needs. Thanks, Michael! You're awesome!!!

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