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Can Brakes Cause My Check Engine Light to Come On?

BY: Andrew Giorgi
A mechanic working on the brakes of a vehicle.

The summer often winds down with last-minute vacations or school year preparation. Yet, no matter how you like to enjoy the end of summer, getting to and from wherever you want to go can’t happen if you don’t have a dependable and trouble-free car. And when your car’s check engine light is on, it can throw a wrench into your plans. But, while a check engine light is a warning sign that something isn’t quite right, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s because of your engine. In fact, your check engine light can illuminate because of issues with various parts of your vehicle, including a faulty transmission, a loose gas cap, or even a faulty trouble code, to name a few.

What numerous car owners don’t realize, however, is that brake problems can also cause this dreaded dashboard light to come on. And knowing more about the reasons why this can happen and what else can cause your check engine light to turn on can help you keep your car running worry-free.

Can Brakes Make the Check Engine Light Turn On?

While it may be surprising, a check engine light (CEL) can come from a faulty brake system. And because brakes undergo constant use and rely on numerous components, a lot can go wrong. 

In general, brake problems usually pop up due to one of these reasons:

  • Wear & Tear: When brake troubles arise, it’s usually due to worn-out brake pads and rotors. These are essential parts that don’t last forever.
  • Failing Components: Beyond the parts that wear out as your car’s miles increase are major system components like the master cylinder and brake booster. These sub-systems help maintain essential pressure and make using the brake pedal easier.
  • Low Brake Fluid Levels: Car brakes are a hydraulic system that requires adequate pressure to operate, and brake fluid is a vital element of this. A low fluid level is one of the first things to check out with the check engine light on.

If you own an older vehicle, having your check engine light come on is something you hope you never see, especially if you don’t have the help of an active factory warranty. That’s because, like many of the other vital components of your vehicle, if your car’s check engine light is on because of a severe issue, you could be left paying thousands of dollars in repair bills—unless you have an Endurance auto protection plan. Like a car’s factory coverage, each plan from Endurance Warranty is designed to help give you peace of mind when it comes to costly repairs, whether it’s basic powertrain coverage starting at $79/month or near-near complete coverage that includes brake repairs, Endurance has a plan for you

What Else Can Cause the Check Engine Light to Go On?

Along with faulty brakes, there are some other common causes why your car’s check engine light may be on. While you may think of a car as a single machine, it’s really a combination of dozens of systems (and thousands of parts). Any of these components can fail and trigger that warning light.

  • Powertrain Issues: The powertrain includes the engine, transmission, driveshaft, axles, wheels, and differential. So, problems here are surefire grounds for the CEL to illuminate.
  • Electrical Problems: Electrical issues can range from bad batteries to failing ignitions or troublesome alternators. Even a temperamental circuit or connection can light up the CEL.
  • Malfunctioning Emissions Control Equipment: A common reason to see a check engine light is problems with a car’s emissions control system. Components like the catalytic converter or oxygen sensor don’t last forever.
  • Fuel System Issues: A car’s engine is designed to operate with a precise air and fuel mixture. Any disruption to this balance, including a dirty engine air filter or blocked fuel filter, can set off the check engine light. Even a loose gas cap can cause fuel vapors to escape into the environment and signal the driver to the problem. It’s also good to remember that fuel system issues can be serious issues, so if you believe your car’s check engine light is on because of your fuel system, get your car to a mechanic to diagnose and fix it as soon as possible.
  • Bad Modules and Sensors: Modern vehicles depend on numerous computers and sensors to control and monitor a car’s operations. And any of these can go wrong, resulting in the check engine light coming on.

Stay on the Road with Endurance

Recognizing how the check engine light comes from brakes and other systems is essential to being prepared for unexpected car troubles. Another element of being ready is with a vehicle protection plan from Endurance.

With options starting for as little as $79 per month, there’s a plan available for just about every car on the road, including high-mileage vehicles and select luxury automobiles. All Endurance customers enjoy the peace of mind of 24/7 roadside assistance and towing, trip-interruption protection, and rental car support. Every Endurance plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, flexible payment terms, and the freedom to choose from any certified repair shop or mechanic for repairs—even your car’s dealership.

Endurance policyholders are also eligible for one year of free Elite Benefits. Just pay a small activation fee to access up to $2,000 worth of valuable services, including tire repairs and replacements, key fob replacement, collision discounts, and more valuable extras.

Learn everything that an Endurance plan can do for you. Request a free, no-obligation online quote or call (800) 253-8203 to speak with an Endurance protection plan advisor. Explore the Endurance blog for expert advice on car comparisons, vehicle maintenance, DIY car care tips, and more. 

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